Research Portfolio Post #4: Article Comparison

In his article, “The Aftermath of War Experiences on Kosovo’s Generation on the Move — Collective Memory and Ethnic Relations among Young Adults in Kosovo,” professor Bekim Baliqi emphasizes the role of violent experiences on the “born during the war” generation, and thusly, how these past events have shaped political attitudes and ethnic relations towards an increase in ethnonationalism.[1] He begins by examining prominent theories underlined by both sociological and psychological scholars, with emphasis on the concept of “post-memory” – referring to the passage of second-hand memories through the generations, and how their consolidation greatly decreases the likelihood of reconciliation and transitional justice in present-day Kosovo.[2] The author argues that these consolidations of memory, formed from individual narratives, prominent in both private and public life, have a great influence on group resentment and thusly, prompted political decentralization post-war.[3] The text utilizes historical context to these consolidations and grounds them in a content analysis of relevant sociological & psychological studies, policy papers, reports on events, and governmental strategies surveys. His methodology, however, primarily leans towards ethnography and record-based analysis, citing data from former students, residents, and state-run surveys and comparing them cross country.

The second article “Public Education and social reconstruction in Bosnia-Herzegovina & Croatia”, takes an outside perspective by tackling the impact imposed by the Dayton Agreement, as opposed to memory directly. They begin by introducing their survey subjects, questions and variables utilized, with the dependent being cooperation among groups and the independent being the opinion of focus groups, administrators, demographics and textbooks used, among others.[4] Through these, they argue that the decentralization imposed by the Dayton Agreement has left education to the discretion of local governments, and thus perpetuates the ethnic divide in and out of school.[5] The text supports this evidence through an ethnographic based survey method – interviewing and underlining the ideas and answers posed in specified tables throughout the chapter. [6]

Though their scope is quite different, the two articles connect under a topical umbrella: institutional reform, both through internal and external forces in their respective areas. These articles thus form one of the “hammers” used to crack the core element of their narrative: reconciliation.[7] I intend to use both articles as a means of confirming the role of institutional reform in narrative development and as a guideline for examining other cases, as well as helping further flesh out this “core element” within identified social narratives.

[1] B. Baliqi, “The Aftermath of War Experiences on Kosovo’s Generation on the Move – Collective Memory and Ethnic Relations among Young Adults in Kosovo,” Zeitgeschichte 44, no. 1 (2017): 4.

[2] Ibid: 6.

[3] Ibid: 9.

[4] Sarah Freedman, “Public Education and social reconstruction in Bosnia-Herzegovina & Croatia” Chap. 11 My Neighbor, My Enemy: Justice and Community in the Aftermath of Mass Atrocity, ed. Harvey Weinstein, vol. 1, 1 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004): 226.

[5] Ibid: 228.

[6] Ibid: 227.

[7] Shaul R. Shenhav, Analyzing Social Narratives (London, United Kingdom: Routledge, 2015): 60,

One thought on “Research Portfolio Post #4: Article Comparison

  1. Overall a very good post Tristen. You’ve identified two articles that are clearly relevant to your research and you do a good job discussing them. You note that both rely on interviews and (in the case of the first article) surveys as well. Does this necessarily mean that both are employing an ethnographic methodology (aimed at clarifying specific social practices)? Remember that interviews and a deep, rich, engagement with qualitative data can also be done in a case study framework!

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