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The Risk of War

Everyday Sociality in the Republic of Macedonia

By Vasiliki P. Neofotistos

Publication Year: 2012

The Risk of War focuses on practices and performances of everyday life across ethnonational borders during the six-month armed conflict in 2001 between Macedonian government forces and the Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA)—a conflict initiated by the NLA with the proclaimed purpose of securing greater rights for the Albanian community in Macedonia and terminated by the internationally brokered Ohrid Framework Agreement. Anthropologist Vasiliki P. Neofotistos provides an ethnographic account of the ways middle- and working-class Albanian and Macedonian noncombatants in Macedonia's capital city, Skopje, went about their daily lives during the conflict, when fear and uncertainty regarding their existence and the viability of the state were intense and widespread.

Neofotistos finds that, rather than passively observing the international community's efforts to manage the political crisis, members of the Macedonian and Albanian communities responded with resilience and wit to disruptive and threatening changes in social structure, intensely negotiated relationships of power, and promoted indeterminacy on the level of the everyday as a sense of impending war enfolded the capital. More broadly, The Risk of War helps us better understand how postindependence Macedonia has managed to escape civil bloodshed despite high political volatility, acute ethno-nationalist rivalries, and unrelenting external pressures exerted by neighboring countries.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

Series: The Ethnography of Political Violence


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p. vii

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pp. 1-13

On 16 February 2001, members of a journalistic team working for the Macedonian TV station A1 claimed that they had been kidnapped by armed Albanian men, some in black uniforms, for a few hours. By all accounts this event took place in the Albanian-populated village of Tanuševci in northern...

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1. Critical Events

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pp. 15-36

The 2001 armed conflict did not mark the first time that post-independence Macedonia and its people were confronted with high political instability, deriving from Macedonian and Albanian political struggles over the distribution of power in Macedonian society...

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2. The Eruption of the 2001 Conflict

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pp. 37-46

A few weeks prior to the eruption of the NLA insurgency in the village of Tanuševci, on 22 January 2001, one Macedonian policeman was killed and three others were wounded in an attack on the police station in the predominantly Albanian-populated village of Tearce...

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3. Living in a Confusing World

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pp. 47-64

Against a background of escalating violence in the northwest of the country, the Democratic Party of Albanians, the junior partner in the Macedonian government coalition, organized on 13 March a peace rally in Skopje. I attended the rally together with thousands of other people, many of whom...

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4. Performing Civility

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pp. 65-83

On the Wednesday before Orthodox Easter in April 2001, my Albanian landlady Fatmira, a schoolteacher in her mid-fifties who originated from a long-established family in Skopje, called and invited me to join her and her Macedonian friend Vesna for afternoon tea in her house in Čair. The two...

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5. When the Going Gets Tough

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pp. 84-100

As fighting spread steadily in northwestern areas of the country, a strong sense of vulnerability and insecurity increasingly permeated everyday life in Skopje. To navigate through their environment, Macedonian men and women during interpersonal interactions across ethnonational lines tended...

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6. Claiming Respect

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pp. 101-117

In this chapter, I examine how in the course of the armed conflict many of my Albanian research participants engaged in performances of respectable and “modern” selfhood during encounters with Macedonian state employees in positions of authority and during outings in downtown Skopje respectively...

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pp. 118-128

Despite a string of tit-for-tat killings in August that seriously threatened to derail international mediation efforts, the armed conflict between the Macedonian armed forces and the Albanian NLA came to an official end with the signing of the Framework Agreement in the Macedonian town of Ohrid on...

Appendix: Ohrid Framework Agreement and the 2001 Constitutional Amendments

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pp. 129-151


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pp. 153-155


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pp. 157-168


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pp. 169-172


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pp. 173-191


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pp. 193-202

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pp. 203-205

The kind support and generosity of many people have made this book possible. I am grateful to members of the Albanian and Macedonian communities in Skopje who welcomed me into their lives and helped me in numerous ways, including introducing me to their friends and neighbors, graciously...

E-ISBN-13: 9780812206562
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812243994

Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: The Ethnography of Political Violence
Series Editor Byline: Tobias Kelly, Series Editor See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 786910530
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Risk of War

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Macedonia (Republic) -- Ethnic relations -- Political aspects.
  • Macedonia (Republic) -- Social conditions.
  • Macedonia (Republic) -- Politics and government -- 1992-.
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