Contested states and the politics of sport: the case of Kosovo – division, development, and recognition
journal contributionposted on 23.02.2017, 14:40 by Richard GiulianottiRichard Giulianotti, Holly CollisonHolly Collison, Simon Darnell, P. David Howe
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis GroupThis paper provides the first detailed analysis of the politics of sport in the small, post-conflict, contested state of Kosovo, located in the Western Balkan region of Europe. A former province of Yugoslavia, Kosovo endured a bloody civil war in the late 1990s between Serbian-led Yugoslav forces and Kosovo Liberation Army. In the post-conflict context, Kosovo has undergone a long period of reconstruction with major Western support; has been partially recognised by the international community since declaring independence from Serbia in 2008; and, has experienced significant regional ethno-national divisions and tensions, primarily between the Albanian majority and Serbian minority. We examine how sport in Kosovo influences and is influenced by these wider political processes. Our discussion is organised into three main parts. First, we set out our analytical approach, and then outline the main historical, social, and political features of Kosovo. Second, we examine the key political aspects of sport in Kosovo, with respect to development, the struggle for recognition, and social conflicts and divisions. Third, we address the cultural politics of sport in Kosovo with reference to issues of national and transnational identification, symbolic conflicts involving different national groups, and the role of the sport for development and peace (SDP) sector in building better cross-community ties. Our analysis is underpinned by international relations theories, notably a mix of critical and constructivist approaches; and draws on fieldwork and many interviews with key stakeholders in the sport, development, government, and education sectors in Kosovo.
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences