GËZIM VISOKA



Articles


22. 'Metis Diplomacy: The Everyday Politics of Becoming a Sovereign State',
Cooperation and Conflict, Accepted and forthcoming.

How do emerging states obtain international recognition and secure membership of international organisations in contemporary world politics? This article explores the everyday politics of becoming a sovereign state in world politics. Using the concept of ‘metis’, this article explores the role of everyday prudent and situated discourses, diplomatic performances, and entanglements in the enactment of sovereign statehood and overcoming external contestation. In exploring the everyday politics of becoming a sovereign state, this article explores Kosovo’s diplomatic approach to becoming a sovereign state by obtaining international recognition and securing membership of international organisations. Drawing on institutional ethnographic research and first-hand observations, this article argues that Kosovo’s diplomatic success in consolidating its sovereign statehood has been the situational assemblage of multiple discourses, practiced through a broad variety of performative actions, and shaped by a complex entanglement with global assemblages of norms, actors, relations, and events. Accordingly, this study contributes to the conceptualisation of the everyday in diplomatic practice by offering an account of how micro-practices feed into macro-practices in world politics.


21. 'Critique and Alternativity in International Relations',
International Studies Review, Accepted and forthcoming.

This article critically interrogates the episteme of alternativity in International Relations (IR) to rethink the purpose of critical knowledge in global politics. It questions what critical knowledge is for and whose purpose it serves. While alternativity is the very condition which has given rise to critical approaches, there is a deeply-rooted division among critical scholars on the relationship between criticality and alternativity. This article argues that alternativity provides a possibility for critical scholars to remain relevant without being affiliated with positivist logics of inquiry. In examining the potential of alternativity, the article explores three modes of alternativity in peace and conflict studies: critique-without-alternative, critique-as-alternative, and critique-with-alternative. It probes the merits and limits of the episteme of alternativity in generating new possibilities for advancing emancipatory interests and saving critical theory from losing its original transformative impetus. In the final part, the article explores future directions for rejuvenating the purpose of critique by exploring the nexus between criticality and alternativity on post-paradigmatic and practical grounds.


20. 'The European Union’s Practice of State Recognition: Between Norms and Interests',
Review of International Studies, Vol. 44, No. 4, 2018, pp. 760-786. (with Edward Newman)

This article explores the European Union’s (EU) practices of international state recognition in a transitional international order. It illustrates the difficulties that the EU has encountered in attempting to reach a collective position on sensitive cases of recognition – through a complex balance of internal and external considerations – at a time when the norms regarding recognition are increasingly under challenge. Whether the organisation takes a collective European position on recognition or allows its members to adopt individual national positions, acute inconsistencies and tensions have been exposed, with implications for the EU’s standing in the world. Through this, the article identifies a key tension between the EU’s normative commitments and its geopolitical interests. In conclusion, the article argues that whilst a uniform EU policy on recognition may not be feasible and case-by-case pragmatism will likely continue, a more coherent approach and greater understanding of the impact of the EU’s position on recognition are necessary. The paper draws upon interview material and extensive analysis of official EU documentation in order to provide new insights into this complex challenge. By exploring the intricacies of recognition politics, the paper also makes an empirical contribution to understanding the practice of international relations in this area.



19. 'The Foreign Policy of State Recognition: Kosovo’s Diplomatic Strategy to Join International Society',
Foreign Policy Analysis, Vol. 14, No. 3, 2018, pp. 367-387. (with Edward Newman)

This article explores the policies and activities undertaken by Kosovo as it seeks diplomatic recognition under conditions of contested statehood and transitional international order. Existing debates about diplomatic recognition – in particular, how independent sovereign statehood is achieved – generally rest upon systemic factors, normative institutions, and the preferences of great powers. In contrast, we argue that the experience of Kosovo presents a more complex and less pre-determined process of international recognition, in which the agency of fledgling states, diplomatic skill, timing and even chance may play a far more important role in mobilising international support for recognition than is generally acknowledged. In building this argument we explore Kosovo’s path to contested independence and examine the complex process of diplomatic recognition, as well as highlight the hybrid justifications for recognising Kosovo’s statehood and independence. Without downplaying the importance of systemic factors, this article contributes to a critical rethinking of norms and processes relating to state recognition in international affairs, which has implications for a broader range of cases.

18. 'The Promise and Future of Neo-Functional Peace: A Reply to Bergmann and Niemann', Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 56, No. 2, 2018, pp. 439-455. (with John Doyle)

Julian Bergmann and Arne Niemann claim that ‘neo-functional peace’ was insufficiently conceptualised and empirically unsubstantiated. They draw on the original neo-functionalist literature to propose a logic of spill-over to explain the European Union’s external policies. We argue that our original article is not damaged by this critique and its explanation of the EU’s approach in the Serbia-Kosovo case stands. We accept the need for further work, based on analysis of different examples and sectors, which can clarify the conceptual boundaries of neo-functional peace and test it against other cases.


17. 'Normal Peace: A New Strategic Narrative of Intervention',
Politics and Governance, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2017, pp. 146-156. (with Nicolas Lemay-Hébert)

International actors have used multiple discursive frameworks for justifying interventions, from human security to the responsibility to protect, and, most recently, resilience-building. We argue that, the language of normalization, hidden behind these narratives of interventions, has also contributed to structure the intervention landscape, in less obvious and overt ways than other competing narratives of intervention. This article disentangles the different practices of normalization in order to highlight their ramifications. It introduces the concept of normal peace – a new conceptual reference to understand interventions undertaken by the international community to impose, restore or accept normalcy in turbulent societies. The article argues that the optimization of interventions entails selective responses to govern risk and adapt to the transitional international order. The art of what is politically possible underlines the choice of optimal intervention, be that to impose an external order of normalcy, restore the previous order of normalcy, or accept the existing order of normalcy.

16. 'After Liberal Peace? From Failed Statebuilding to an Emancipatory Peace in Kosovo', International Studies Perspectives, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2017, pp. 110-129. (with Oliver P. Richmond)

Attempts to build a liberal peace and a concurrent neoliberal state in Kosovo have not managed to produce a sustainable and emancipatory peace. Instead, they have produced a local and negative hybrid peace that has been co-opted by the dynamics of local state formation and state contestation. These dynamics have overshadowed a meaningful transition from ethnic hostility to sustainable peace, which in Kosovo’s context encompasses pluralism, security, law, rights, and liberal institutions, as well as the recognition of contextual identity and historical political struggles for justice. This article examines the emergence of a negative hybrid peace and explores the prospects for a more emancipatory form of peace based on local pro-peace infrastructure which avoids the pitfalls of liberal peace in practice. .

15. 'Albanian Peacekeepers: Exploring the Inward-looking Utility of International Peacekeeping', International Peacekeeping, Vol. 23, No. 4, 2016, pp. 513-539. (with Elvin Gjevori)

This article provides the first comprehensive account of Albania’s contribution to international peacekeeping and explores its inward-looking rationales for providing peacekeepers. Specifically, we examine why Albania has energetically supported NATO- and EU-led military and crisis management operations and less so UN peacekeeping missions. We find that Albania’s contribution to peacekeeping operations has been primarily shaped by its inward-looking interests for accelerating membership in NATO, fostering integration in the EU, as well as reducing domestic and regional insecurities. Pinpointing accurately the motivations among troop-contributing states helps recover the true hierarchical order of rationales and explain why, in some cases, the performance and impact of peacekeeping operations for some contributing states is secondary. Overall, disentangling the inward-looking utility of peacekeeping by a small state such as Albania provides useful insights for understanding how regional integration dynamics affect peacekeeping.

14. 'Neo-Functional Peace: The European Union Way of Resolving Conflicts', Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 54, No. 4, 2016, pp. 862-877. (with John Doyle)

The European Union has expanded its role in preventing conflicts and building peace, but its institutional practices remain insufficiently conceptualised. This article argues that drawing from a strong self-perception towards a neo-functionalist interpretation of its own history, the EU uses ‘neo-functional peace’ as an approach for resolving protracted disputes, through deconstructing highly political issues into technical meanings for achieving mutually acceptable agreements. This article, explores the EU’s efforts in normalising the relations between Kosovo and Serbia, and examines the reliance on aspects of neo-functionalism for building peace after protracted disputes. We argue that neo-functional peace has played a crucial role in normalising political relations and reconciling some of the outstanding disputes between Kosovo and Serbia. Building on this case study, we suggest a theoretical concept of neo-functional peace as a useful means to conceptualise EU’s peace support practices.

13. 'Arrested Truth: Transitional Justice and the Politics of Remembrance in Kosovo', Journal of Human Rights Practice. Vol. 8, No. 1, 2016, pp. 62-80.

This article examines the documentation of war crimes and human losses in Kosovo under the conditions of contested transitional justice and ethno-nationalist politics of remembrance. The article argues that the documentation of war crimes in Kosovo was utilised for retributive justice by the international community, for political revenge by former foes, and for power/identity consolidation by local protagonists. Attempting to overcome this suffocation of the past, the new politics of remembrance in Kosovo propagated by civil society groups aspires to liberate the past from ethno-nationalist tendencies by constructing a bottom-up and virtual memorialisation, which is deemed to be inclusive for all sides in conflict, is indestructible in its virtual and post-material constellation, and is distinct with regard to the volume and reliability. While civil society-based documentation has the potential to overcome the ethno-nationalist entanglements in Kosovo and to compensate for the inability of international transitional justice mechanisms to deliver justice and truth to victims, their impact on overcoming the past and improving ethnic relations in Kosovo remains questionable. Accordingly, the article illustrates the contextual interplay between material, relational, and virtual forms of remembrance in Kosovo.

12. 'Peace is what we make of it? Peace-shaping events and 'non-events'', Peacebuilding. Vol. 4, No. 1, 2016, pp. 54-70.

Attempts to build peace often fail to achieve the intended outcomes. Such endeavours often lead to unintended effects shaped by multiple factors, events, and actors. This raises the question: if the intentional actions that constitute peace processes do not succeed in bringing about their intended impact, what actually shapes peace? This article argues that peace is shaped by events and non-events within and beyond the liberal peace architecture, as well as being determined by local agents who are not directly or intentionally involved in peacebuilding endeavours. While the success of liberal peace is measured based on the generalised assemblage of selected events, the unintended, unanticipated, and unprevented events that emerge as consequences arising from liberal peace actions are reduced to non-events to minimise responsibility. However, the power of these ignored non-events that occur at local institutional, public, and everyday levels have been crucial to shaping the nature, process, duration, and politics of peacebuilding. Unpacking the politicisation of events and non-events reveals that peace is what we make of it rather than a true reflection of the complex reality in conflict-affected societies. To substantiate this conceptualisation of abstruse peace, this article draws on examples from numerous events and non-events as experienced in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Timor-Leste.

11. 'Peace/knowledge: The Promise of New Epistemologies of Peace', Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, Vol.9, No. 4, 2015, pp. 542-550.

The debates on peacebuilding and statebuilding are in a permanent transformative flux. The production of new waves of peacebuilding and statebuilding debates seems unstoppable. This piece reviews the most recent scholarship in peacebuilding and statebuilding studies to depict the promise of new epistemological attempts to develop different conceptions of peace. The review focuses on three recently published books that excavate different sites of knowledge and seek to find out why peacebuilding and statebuilding does not work in its present form and how to fix it. As this review shows, the field is expanding in different directions, ranging from new debates on local agency and peace formation, interdisciplinary discussion of the semantics of statebuilding, to new understandings of the everyday politics of international interventions.

10. 'Peacebuilding and International Responsibility', International Peacekeeping, Vol. 21, No. 5, 2014, pp. 673-692 (with John Doyle)

This article expands the conceptual and empirical understanding of relational responsibility in peacebuilding, by unpicking the often ill-defined notion of responsibility into three discrete and hierarchical categories – attributability, answerability and accountability. Present practices of international responsibility for their executive powers in peace building missions are more affiliated with attributability and answerability than accountability. In order to substantiate and elaborate empirically this differentiated account of responsibility, the article explores the UN and EU responsibility mechanisms in Kosovo, focusing on their institutional design, effectiveness and results, as well as highlighting practical limitations and problems. A more specific conceptualization of these practices, allows a clearer analysis of the aims and limitations of the mechanisms in place.

9. ‘Census Politics and Ethnicity in the Western Balkans’, East European Politics, Vol.29, No.4, 2013, pp. 479-498. (with Elvin Gjevori)

This article investigates how census politics in the Western Balkans take the form of a political device to entrench or transform ethnic demographics, which can have implications for cooperation and reciprocity between neighbouring states. We argue that the contingency of census politics spring from a trinomial interaction between actors claiming to represent the dominant nationalising state, national minority, and external homeland. Building on this triangulation, this article explores the interaction between the dominance of the nationalizing states, the influence of the national minority, and the interest/interference of the external homeland in the 2011 censuses in Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. The article illustrates how census-taking is a highly politicised process in a region with hostile political dynamics, which revealed the unstable and contested nature of citizenship, ethnic belonging, weak civic identity, and fragile regional relations.

8. ‘Three Levels of Hybridisation Practices in Post-conflict Kosovo’, Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, Vol.7, No.2, 2012, pp. 23-36.

This article aims to advance conceptual and empirical knowledge about hybrid forms of peace by developing an analytical framework that conceptualises three levels of hybridity between international and local actors, namely the institutional, public and hidden practices of hybridisation. By differentiating hybridisation practices in this way, the article demonstrates a clearer understanding of figuration, articulation and the impact of local-international interactions in post-conflict societies. The analysis shows that the contingent, uncontrollable and unaccountable nature of hybridisation practices raises significant challenges to peacebuilding practices. The article concludes by questioning whether hybrid peace is able to reinforce, complement or undermine prospects for sustainable peace in post-conflict situations.

7. ‘The ‘Kafkaesque Accountability’ of International Governance in Kosovo’, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, Vol.6, No.2, 2012, pp. 189-212.

This article explores the institutionalized and legalized forms of ‘unaccountability’ evident during the United Nation’s protracted and extensive administration of Kosovo, which were implemented to protect the UN from liability in case the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo was accused of human rights violations in Kosovo. Two mechanisms were put in place to review the accountability of international governance in Kosovo: the Ombudsperson Institution and later the Human Rights Advisory Panel. This article highlights how the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo systematically restricted and obstructed the operation of these mechanisms, by constraining the space for the independent and meaningful investigation of cases, by invoking immunity safeguards, and by failing to cooperate and remedy human rights abuses caused by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo. This article argues that avoiding accountability for human rights abuses can seriously undermine the legitimacy of UN peacekeeping missions, establishing negative practices and losing the trust of the local population, which ultimately encourages undemocratic practices among weak and fragile local institutions. At the global level, any attempt to take on greater international responsibility without accountability harms the prospects for establishing global institutions structured around the principles of democratic governance.

6. ‘International Governance and Local Resistance in Kosovo: The Thin Line between Ethical, Emancipatory and Exclusionary Politics’, Irish Studies in International Affairs, Vol. 22, 2011, pp. 99-125.

This paper examines the emergence and implications of local resistance against the practice of liberal peace-building in post-conflict Kosovo, as pursued by the international community and local authorities. Exploring the prospects and limitations of local resistance, as articulated through social movements and institutionalised forms of politics, enables us to examine the applicability and potential implications of post-liberal and emancipatory peace, approaches recently propogated by critical approaches to peace-building. Drawing on an original analysis of the discourse and affirmative action of local resistance against the international governance of Kosovo, this paper will argue that different types of local resistance articulate a thin line between ethical, emancipatory and exclusionary practices. Due to the inherent contradictions of resistance movements, the challenges associated with local ownership, grassroots democratisation, and the emancipation and empowerment of local agency cannot be resolved entirely. Indeed, there is a persistent danger that subalterns articulate their needs and interests not only according to an acceptable public transcript for the group’s inner dynamics, but also in relation to the dominant authority, whether it is local or international. This paper illustrates that where there is power there will be resistance, and where there is resistance there will be exclusion and further subordination.

5. ‘The Obstacles to a Sustainable Peace and Democracy in Post-Independence Kosovo’, Journal of Conflict Transformation and Security, Vol. 1, No.2, 2011, pp. 25-37.

This article examines how the prospects for building a sustainable peace, establishing a democratic polity and consolidating sovereignty in Kosovo are constrained by a number of endogenous and exogenous factors. The article highlights how the fragmentation of sovereignty is affected by Serb parallel structures and an overlapping and divided international presence, and how social emancipation is obstructed by weak governance, ethnic power-sharing and social injustice. The article argues that building sustainable peace is more likely when there is sufficient local autonomy and ownership of processes, an effective functioning of democracy and state institutions, as well as social emancipation and a locally-owned transformation of ethnic hostilities and differences.

4. ‘The Complex Nature and Implications of International Engagement after Kosovo’s Independence’, Civil Wars, Vol.13, No.2, 2011, pp. 189-214. (with Grace Bolton).

This article examines the implications of two distinct phases of international engagement in Kosovo. We argue that a number of flaws developed during UNMIK’s administration (1999–2008), which continue to undermine Kosovo’s stability. We then disentangle the complex inter-institutional relations between ICO, EULEX, UNMIK and the OSCE. Indeed, their incompatible positions towards Kosovo’s status results in a lack of clarity, coordination and coherence that weaken Kosovo within four policy areas: Kosovo’s international recognition and participation, the rule of law, interethnic relations and the fate of North Kosovo. While these shortcomings could be viewed as ‘unintended consequences’, we argue more broadly that the Kosovo case illustrates the limits of liberal peacebuilding and the tensions and implications of strategic peacebuilding.

3. ‘Minority Consultative Bodies in Kosovo: A quest for effective emancipation or elusive participation?’, Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe, Vol.10, No.1, 2011, pp.1-30. (with Adem Beha).

This paper examines the extent to which effective political participation can be achieved through minority consultative bodies, and what obstacles and shortcomings can potentially occur in practice. It explores the Kosovo case, where a variety of minority consultative bodies were established in recent years to ensure effective minority participation and representation at the highest decision-making levels. It will be argued that despite the prospects of the established legal and institutional framework, these bodies have fallen short in providing meaningful representation of minority interests and needs in Kosovo. This is largely affected by the intermeshed interests of elites among the majority and minority communities that prioritize their narrow interests to the expense of the developmental and emancipatory needs of marginalized minorities in Kosovo. Hence, higher commitment and cooperation between governmental authorities and minority representatives, together with adequate resources, are critical for ensuring effective minority participation in the public sphere.

2. ‘Recognizing Kosovo’s independence: Remedial secession or earned sovereignty?’, SEESOX Occasional Paper, No. 11/10, SESSOX, University of Oxford, October 2010. (with Grace Bolton).

This paper examines the main justifications for recognising Kosovo’s independence: ‘remedial secession’ and ‘earned sovereignty’. Our paper begins by examining the applicability of the doctrine of remedial secession to Kosovo, the justifications for which can be seen clearly in the decade from 1989 to 1999. However, we argue that the doctrine of remedial secession was insufficiently ripe, in political and legal terms, to be used in 1999 to support Kosovo’s independence. An opposing approach is that of ‘earned sovereignty’ which aims to provide for the managed devolution of sovereign authority and functions from a state to a sub-state entity, resulting either in independence or rehabilitated autonomy within the host state. Based on the case of Kosovo, we propose an alternative explanation to this observed path towards ‘recognisable’ statehood: ‘remedial sovereignty’ whereby a people realise statehood by invoking remedial secession and undergoing a transitional period of mediated international administration, characterized by elements of sovereignty which are externally designed and internally earned. Therefore, we propose ‘remedial sovereignty’ as a useful paradigm to provide the international community with a framework to confer statehood on those peoples for whom there is no other choice, thereby resolving the ‘recognition dilemma’ experienced in the aftermath of the Kosovo’s declaration of independence.

1. ‘Human Security as ‘Ethnic Security’ in Kosovo’, Human Security Perspectives, Vol.7, No.1, 2010, pp. 83-101. (with Adem Beha).

In Kosovo, the concept of human security is invoked in a three-fold manner. First of all, the international community has applied human security for the purpose of maintaining a fragile peace and stability in Kosovo. For the international community, maintaining the fragile peace meant tolerating the establishment and operationalization of Serbian parallel institutions. This leads to the second application of human security: the parallel institutions claim that their existence is necessary to provide human security for the Serbian community in Kosovo. Consequently, this undermines the capacity of Kosovo’s public institutions to exercise legal authority in the north of Kosovo and in other territorial enclaves. Parallel to this, Kosovo’s institutions have viewed the human security approach as a means to prove the institutional capacity of independent self-government to provide inclusive security, welfare, and integration policies for all people in Kosovo, with a special emphasis on ethnic minorities. Accordingly, human security is used by different actors in Kosovo to pursue different political agendas, which have not resulted in achieving the primary goal of furthering human welfare and fulfillment beyond mere physical security. To the contrary, the (ab)use of human security has created the conditions for fragile governance, protracted ethnic destabilization, and stagnating economic and human development.