Dragon’s Teeth: Tales from North Kosovo

Dragon’s Teeth: Tales from North Kosovo
24,90 €

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eBook 16,99 €

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Twenty years on from the end of war, the status of the north of Kosovo remains disputed. Ten years on from Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia, the north’s predominantly Serb population continues to resist integration. Education, health, and other vital services continue to be provided by Serbia. These latent tensions regularly surface through various forms of resistance, including protests and barricades (most notably those of 2011); resistance which has many historical precedents. Ian Bancroft provides an original ethnographic account of the reality in north Kosovo, mixing first-hand interviews and anecdotes with historical background and academic insight. He explores a diverse array of themes, including the Trepča mines, religious and cultural life, and the Main Bridge over the river Ibar, which has become a symbol of the divided town of Mitrovica. Bancroft examines memories of the war and 2004 riots, and the daily realities of local governance and politics in a post-war environment. The book also goes to the heart of the border/boundary regions, the multi-ethnic Bošnjačka Mahala, and mixed areas on the periphery to tell the stories of those caught-up on the front-lines of conflict. As such, it offers valuable insights for aspiring peacebuilders into the challenges of working in a context of considerable complexity.

About the author

Ian Bancroft is a writer and diplomat who has been based in the former Yugoslavia for over a decade. He has worked for the European Union in Kosovo and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and has written extensively about Balkan affairs for a variety of publications, including The Guardian and Radio Free Europe. He has lectured on conflict and peacebuilding, and is the author of a chapter, entitled Reconciliation through Recognition, in The Yugoslav Example: Violence, War and Difficult Ways Towards Peace. Bancroft has also written travel articles for, among others, Wine Spectator, The Independent and Open Democracy.
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"The international community has expended much effort over the breakup of the former Yugoslavia but remains stuck over Kosovo.  The unresolved issue of what to do about north Kosovo blocks progress.  Much has been written about its Serb majority community but very little has been properly understood. This first-hand account challenges the stereotypes and prejudices that stifle thinking about how to constructively engage the north. As such, it is vital reading for peacebuilders eager to understand the intricacies and contradictions of a disputed territory."—Gerard M. Gallucci, U.S. Foreign Service, Ret., and former UN Regional Representative Mitrovica

"Ian Bancroft has scripted a rare and anthropological picture of moods and the complexity of views in the north of Kosovo, of the specific subculture which exists there. Simultaneously, he interweaves local history and wider politics with rich descriptions of the nature and landscapes of those unknown northern lands."—Joanna Hanson, Director of Kosovo NGO New Perspektiva

"Ian Bancroft, in this remarkable and unusual book, has penetrated the myths and prejudices which abound in Northern Kosovo to produce a gripping account of the present, and the influences of the very colourful past in this troubled corner of the Balkans. Through his mastery of detail, and not uncritical sympathy for the people and their past and present anger, Bancroft leaves the reader with a much greater understanding of the problems of the Serbs in Kosovo. He offers no panaceas, but a conviction that lasting peace requires patience and perseverance, even when all seems lost. I very much enjoyed the book. A tour de force.” — Julian Harston, Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations (Rtd)

“A gripping and insightful account of the history, present-day politics, and society of contested North Kosovo. Even experts of Balkan affairs will learn a great deal from Bancroft’s book, which draws on his work and long-standing links to this volatile region and is written in a lucid and engaging style. His extensive knowledge is only matched by his empathy for all people of Kosovo.”—Dimitar Bechev, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, author of Rival Power: Russia in Southeast Europe

"Northern Kosovo remains a potential flashpoint for conflict in South East Europe. However, while many policy makers and analysts discuss its future, few have ever been there. And fewer still can really claim to understand it. In this book, Ian Bancroft offers a first-hand glimpse into the politics and day-to-day life of this key region. In doing so, he brings it to life in a way that few, if any, others could. It is a must read for anyone interested in the Western Balkans."—James Ker-Lindsay, Visiting Professor, London School of Economics

"Reading Dragon's Teeth: Tales from North Kosovo gave me all the thrill of finding a new photograph of someone you love—a new perspective on familiar features you're fond of. This portrait of Kosovo through the eyes of those who live in its contested and complicated North introduced me to new ideas, new personalities, and new ways of seeing. It lingered lovingly on the Trepça/Trepča mines I'd been down as part of my research for my book on Kosovo's silver, but it taught me things (who'd have guessed at the mines' relationship with Djoković's tennis playing!) about them that I'd never known. I learned about the 1970s Big Band scene in Yugoslavia (only five Big Bands in the whole country, one of them being in Kosovo's Mitrovica, comprised of Serbs, Albanians, Bosniaks, Goranis, and Turks). It brought to life familiar scenes like the market in Bošnjačka Mahala and offered moments of sharp observation I savoured ('Our armoured vehicle rocks from side-to-side, Anders, the Dane with the impeccable skin, cradling the steering wheel like a baby, whilst Alex, the German with the impeccable hair, navigates the potholes'). It also gives a fair picture of the other kind of navigation necessary here, for all who live in North Kosovo's particular limbo with the careful negotiations between Belgrade and Prishtina that are conducted not only by the countries' leaders but by individuals trying to get on with their lives—as one of the book's characters says of the parallel structures' administration, ‘Serbs must be born twice, get married twice and die twice’. It's a book that will be helpful for anyone wanting to understand and learn from Kosovo's many stories and histories."—Elizabeth Gowing, author of Travels in Blood and Honey: becoming a beekeeper in Kosovo, and four other books about the Balkans

“The book is highly relevant from a political point of view, as the debates about the status of Kosovo and possible land swaps with Serbia are still ongoing and have grown more intense during the last years. The remarkable aspect of Bancroft’s work, though, is that it does not get bogged down in bureaucratic analyses of this seemingly eternal dispute, but provides great insight into the struggles of the people who actually live here. The writer and diplomat gives a human face to this volatile region.”—De Facto, April 2020

“Bancroft’s vast, interdisciplinary knowledge on Northern Kosovo combined with his deep erudition and knowledge of both languages, and cultures have allowed him to outline the area’s complex relations, difficult past, and desire for “normal” life. In so doing, the author does not take any sides. Instead, he tries to show the complicated reality that the inhabitants of Northern Kosovo have to live. His book shows many analogies to Bosnia and Herzegovina (e.g. the divided cities of Kosovska Mitrovica and Mostar) where Bancroft previously worked as a diplomat. Indeed both countries face numerous difficulties, yet foreign experts who analyse them often reveal a lack of understanding as well as no knowledge of local and everyday realities. Bancroft is different though. As a visitor from the West, he tries to show the readers the local specificity, systems of values and cultural heritages. For this reason, his story is a very significant source.”―Magdelena Rekść, 'New Eastern Europe', No. 4/2020


Lieferzeit 2-3 Tage / 2-3 days
Autor/-in Ian Bancroft
Herausgeber/-in Jelena Dzankic, Soeren Keil
Anzahl der Seiten 196
Sprache Englisch
Erscheinungsdatum 03.02.2020
Gewicht (kg) 0.2550
ISBN-13 9783838213644