Imagery, Gender and Power: The Politics of Representation in Post-War Kosovo


Krasniqi, Vjollca. 2007. “Imagery, Gender and Power: The Politics of Representation in Post-War Kosovo.” Feminist Review 86 (1): 1–23.

Author: Vjollca Krasniqi


The article focuses on the politics of representation in Kosova since the United Nations took over 'peace management' in 1999. It uses UN propaganda posters (political pedagogy) and local nationalist political advertising as a way to read the multiple gendered discourses of representation. It shows how gender is used relationally between competing forces-the 'international community' and nationalists-as a tool to ensure UN's imposition of Western policies and norms and as a mechanism for local politicians to consolidate their domination of the domestic/private sphere. Moreover, it discusses the price paid to mimic the West: how Kosovar politicians have sought to 'undo' national identity in favour of a Western self-representation through a gendered abnegation of Islam. Thus, as an intrinsic part of the discourse of 'peace-building', these images represent the site of power production, domination, negotiation, and rejection, involving the collaboration of different actors, institutions, and individuals. Three specific points will be made: first, the article seeks to show that a Western political modernization discourse has, paradoxically, reinforced patriarchal relations of power and traditional gender roles in Kosova through the subjugation of women. Second, it explains the inability to resolve competing Albanian narratives — one relying on the legacy of peaceful resistance and the other on the armed struggle against Serbian domination during the 1990s. Third, through the intermeshing of international peace-keepers and local nationalist patriarchs, it will show how the militarization of culture is perpetuated through, and in relationship togender.

Keywords: Kosova, gender, peacekeeping, images, representations, patriarchies

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, International Organizations, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Europe, Baltic states, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Albania, Kosovo

Year: 2007

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