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Conflicting Conviviality: Ethnic Forms of Resistance to Border-making at the Bottom of the US Embassy of Skopje, Macedonia

Fabio Mattioli


This article focuses on the role of ethnicity as resistance in Skopje, Macedonia. I interrogate the presence of the American embassy in Skopje as a physical manifestation of US hegemonic power in the Balkans. I show that the American embassy and the discourse that legitimize its existence constitute a form of border-making that fragments the built environment of the city. I then analyze how the US embassy’s border-making discourses are reverberated in my interlocutors' words. The ethnic repertoire they resort to for describing the embassy both re-inscribe the US hegemonic power and yet displace it: I show how the process of border-making is appropriated, negotiated and resisted or displaced by the citizens of Skopje. I propose to discuss the complex relations of ethnicity presented by my informants under the rubric of "conflicting conviviality", that is the deep sharing of a common language and sensibility although with conflicting purposes and meanings.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229