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The divided city – a space for frictional peacebuilding

Publication Date
  • Divided City
  • Liberal Peacebuilding
  • Friction
  • Mostar
  • Mitrovica
  • Social Sciences
  • Linguistics
  • Political Science


Through the concept of friction, this article critically examines how the liberal peace travels across differences, accommodates, as well as is accommodated by the spaces it engages, and how it transforms, enables or constrains local as well as international agency. As the liberal peace interplays with the post-conflict realities three sites of friction are identified and examined in the divided cities of Mostar and Mitrovica: democracy encounters ethnocracy; civic identity meets ethno-nationalist identity; local ownership contrasts with local agency. These sites of friction illustrate different dynamics and outcomes of the unequal encounters between international liberal peacebuilding actors, discourses and practices and local counterparts.

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