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Anna Jarstad

Urban peacebuilding


My research within the Varieties of Peace program focuses on relations in post-war cities. It contributes to the burgeoning research field on urban peacebuilding which suggests that cities play a crucial role in transition processes. A city can be seen as a micro cosmos of transformation processes at large. People from different sides of the conflict live in close proximity to each other which poses specific challenges and possibilities. Other aspects of theoretical importance are the significant influx of new residents, which changes the demography and raises issues of citizenship, as well as new forms of grass-root movements and activism. In addition, international intervention in the form of foreign aid is predominantly directed to cities.


One of the cases that I pay particular attention to in my research is the city of Mitrovica, which is a pivotal site in the conflict between Serbia and Kosovo. Serbia maintains that Kosovo is a part of Serbia and also regards it as its cultural fatherland. An EU proposal suggests swapping land to create more ethnically homogenous states and also dividing the city of Mitrovica between Kosovo and Serbia. As Mitrovica is the home to both Kosovo-Serbs and Kosovo-Albanians, this has direct consequences for the empirical realities of the peace(s) on the ground. I analyze the prevalence of conflict and peace activities that take place in the city, often in places that are seldom reducible to purely conflictive areas, but rather, these ‘hotspots’ often prove to be spaces where reproduction of peace – however quotidian – occurs simultaneously.


My previous research focuses on the nexus of democratization and peacebuilding in war-torn societies, in particular power sharing where former enemies form joint governments. Field research has been conducted in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cyprus, Kosovo, Macedonia, South Africa and New Zealand. 

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