Religion and the Politics of Identity in Kosovo
Columbia University Press, 2000 - 238 pages
Observers have traditionally viewed Kosovo as a frontier society where two Balkan nations, Albanian and Serb, as well as two religions, Islam and Christianity, clash over conflicts of national and religious identity. While this rift is usually perceived as hard and fast, Duijzings shows that the area also has a history of coexistence through cultural contact, religious exchange, and conversion. His new perspective challenges the notion that Balkan conflicts have evolved around clear-cut and fixed ethno-religious groups, and instead discusses evidence that Balkan identities are full of ambiguities caused by processes that are important survival strategies in conditions of violence and insecurity. This tension between conflict and symbiosis is at the core of his perspective, which contains compelling case studies of various ethnic groups and examines how religion shapes their efforts to construct or reconstruct their identities.
Though focusing on Kosovo, the scope of these chapters is much wider, covering developments in Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, Macedonia, and Serbia. "Religion and the Politics of Identity in Kosovo" is a fascinating and timely study of the interaction of religious identity with the politics of nationalism.