In-depth | Other Talking Points

Other Talking Points – K2.0 Podcast

By - 08.12.2022

K2.0 podcast Other Talking Points brings you authors, scholars, artists and activists from Kosovo, the region and beyond. In conversation with editor-in-chief Besa Luci, we explore their work, ideas and lives in order to bring you new perspectives on our world.

#EP7 - Unpaid Labor

In this episode we’ll be talking about unpaid labor — about the cleaning, cooking, childcare, eldercare and more that is performed inside the home and in the family and which is not remunerated. Though unpaid, this labor is essential for the functioning of society and for other people’s ability to engage in paid labor.

What makes the issue of unpaid labor so important is that it is mostly performed by women. This means that women are either expected to stay at home and out of the labor force or, if they have formal employment, to work a “second shift” after their regular working hours to take care of the household and the others living there.

This not only takes a physical, emotional and professional toll on women, it also prevents many from accessing the labor market in the first place. 

Two guests join us this episode to discuss unpaid labor in Kosovo, the Balkans and beyond.

Marigona Drevinja is the co-founder and Program Director of the Prishtina-based Institute for Social Policy “Musine Kokalari.” K2.0 recently published an article written by Marigona with the title “Women bear the burden of unpaid care work in Kosovo,” in which she drew from her work on Musine Kokalari’s report “Who Cares? Unpaid Care Work in Kosovo.”

Nađa Bobičić is a feminist scholar and activist based in Belgrade. She helped us navigate the gender dimension of work and labor discrimination at SWEAT, our labor-focused Carnival in 2022. She is also the chief editor of a report published by the Belgrade Women’s Studies Center titled “Get your time back: Research on the distribution of housework among millennial women and generation z.”

This episode was produced with additional research by Luca Tesei Li Bassi.

 

This episode is produced as part of Human Rightivism, a project funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and implemented by the Community Development Fund. The views expressed in it do not necessarily reflect the views of SIDA.

#EP6 - Climate Change

In this episode, we’ll be talking about climate change. How vulnerable is our region to the warming of the planet? Are we taking enough measures to address and adapt to climate change?

Climate change has been making headlines for years and we have all felt the effects one way or another. As the planet continues to warm, we now have warmer Januaries, snowless winters and drier summers.

In summer 2022, heatwaves and droughts left some of Europe’s main rivers dry or at their lowest levels in the past 500 years. In other parts of the continent and the world at large, floods have devastated populations. Temperatures have been hitting record highs every year and the first few days of 2023 marked some of the hottest days in January on record for some countries in Europe.

Our region is prone to a range of extreme weather events, including heatwaves, droughts, floods, and storms, which are expected to become more frequent and intense as the planet continues to warm. These events can have a significant impact on the region’s economy, infrastructure and natural systems. 

Though climate change is the most pressing global challenge for our generation — in our region, by and large, climate change doesn’t seem to be a priority for national governments, for the public, or for local media. 

Two guests join us this episode to explore how the climate is changing and how regional countries are responding to it.

Vladimir Djurdjević is a professor at the Faculty of Physics, University of Belgrade, and an expert in climate modelling and climate data analysis.

Granit Gashi is the director of the Into the Park Festival, through which he tries to connect his generation to environmental protection through music. Granit is a contact point for Kosovo and Program Assistant at the Heinrich Böll Foundation.


This episode was produced with the financial support of the National Endowment for Democracy.

#EP5 - Gentrification

In this episode, we look at gentrification in urban spaces in the Balkans.

Gentrification is when poor or underserved areas undergo transformations that expand economic activity through the modification, renovation or demolition of existing buildings and infrastructure in a manner that increases property values. Such changes in the urban landscape  often end up displacing existing residents, particularly those living in conditions of socioeconomic fragility. It contributes to what is called the “peripheralization of poverty,” that is, the expulsion of poor communities to the outskirts of our cities. 

Gentrification is taking place worldwide and the Balkans are no exception. In a region eager to move on from a troublesome, communist past, neoliberal approaches to urban planning and economic development have found an ideal breeding ground in Balkan cities, particularly in capital cities. In Prishtina, Tirana or Belgrade, policies that have been shown to destroy urban traditions and cultural heritage in other parts of the world are being adopted here at full speed.

Two architects join us this episode to talk about gentrification and alternative pathways to urban regeneration.  

Dorina Pllumbi is an architect and a PhD researcher at TU Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Last summer she wrote a longform article for K2.0 called “Is Tirana’s rapid transformation progress or erasure?”, one of our most read pieces of 2022, which explored the issue of gentrification in Tirana.

Iva Čukić holds a PhD in urban planning from the Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade. She is a co-founder and member of the collective “Ministry of Space,” which monitors and responds to urban transformations in Belgrade and other cities across Serbia.

This episode was produced with additional research by Luca Tesei Li Bassi.


This episode was produced with the financial support of the National Endowment for Democracy.

#EP4 - A Different Approach to Kosovo and Serbia

In this episode, we look at the ways we talk about the relationship between Kosovo and Serbia.

Since 2011, the dominant framework for talking about the relationship between the two countries has been in the context of the EU-mediated dialogue. 

From time to time, the media might report on cultural cooperation, instances of economic integration or citizen-based initiatives. But such reports are few and far between, and often disappear amid the constant flow of sensationalist or conflict-driven narratives.

Are there other stories and narratives that go beyond ethnic enmity and EU diplomatic bureaucracy?

Though there appears to be little academic exchange or collaboration between the two countries, the recently published book “Kosovo-Serbia: A Different Approach” is trying to bring scholars from the two countries together to challenge preconceived notions, confront historical revisionism and propose some common narratives. 

The book was published by the Musine Kokolari Institute for Social Policy in Prishtina and the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory in Belgrade. It proposes progressive perspectives on pressing social, economic and ecological questions with the aim of showing similarities between Serbs and Albanians through shared contemporary struggles and concerns.

Two of the publication’s main initiators discuss the book and the new frameworks for talking about Kosovo and Serbia relations.

Visar Ymeri is an activist, analyst and politician who served as the deputy leader of the Social Democratic Party of Kosovo. He served as the leader of Vetëvendosje between 2015 and 2018. Now he runs the Musine Kokolari Institute for Social Policy, a think tank promoting social democratic values in Kosovo.

Aleksandar Pavlović is a senior researcher at the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade. His main research interests are cultural history of the Balkans, Serbian and Balkan oral and written tradition, Serbian-Albanian relations and traditional Balkan society.



This episode was produced with the financial support of the National Endowment for Democracy.

#EP3 - Social Protection

In this episode, we look at social protection. That is, whether and to what extent countries in the region have social schemes and programs that can meaningfully help the most vulnerable and have a meaningful effect on economic mobility. 

Access to adequate social protection becomes particularly critical in times of crisis and economic shocks. During the pandemic, we experienced first-hand how essential social protection is. Many people lost their jobs, industry came to a halt, and medical institutions were in a shock. This created a greater awareness of the essential nature of social safety nets. 

These shocks to the global economic system continued in 2022 when Russia’s war in Ukraine led to global inflation, which degraded the value of people’s savings and paychecks, and which put low-income people in an especially vulnerable position.

Most governments in the region intervened and rolled out relief packages that aimed to help more vulnerable groups in society face the added burdens and pressures. However, there’s much to explore about the extent to which safety nets were already existing and whether response measures contributed to relief for citizens.   

I spoke about different aspects of social protection schemes with two scholars of social policy and welfare systems who recently co-authored a paper that examines social protection spending and redistribution in the region between 2005 and 2016.

Maja Gerovska-Mitev is a professor of social policy in North Macedonia. Her research focuses on examining the changing nature of welfare systems and their impact on poverty and social exclusion. 

Artan Mustafa is a professor and social policy researcher in Kosovo, whose research focuses on the politics of the welfare state, social policy design, change and outcomes, and the social foundations of political parties.



This episode was produced with the financial support of the National Endowment for Democracy.

#EP2 - Trans Lives

In this episode, we explore the lives and political struggles of trans people in the region, a particularly important topic considering that trans identities are often marginalized, misunderstood or rejected. This is not necessarily an experience limited to this region; attempts to keep trans lives in the margins is something occurring globally. 

Nevertheless, there is a lot of knowledge and documentation of the multilayered histories of trans existence and activist engagement in the region. This is precisely what is brought to the surface in the recently published book “Transgender in the Post-Yugoslav Space: Lives, Activisms, Culture,” edited by Bojan Bilić, Iwo Nord and Aleksa Milanović.

The book gathers 12 contributors from different professional backgrounds — such as academia, activism and art — who offer important perspectives on trans lives and activism in the region.

To discuss the book and particularly the political context in which it was published, I will be talking to one of its editors, Aleksa Milanović, as well as with one of the book’s contributors, Lura Limani. 

Aleksa Milanović is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Media and Communications in Belgrade. He holds a PhD in Transdisciplinary Studies of Contemporary Arts and Media. He is also the author of “Representation of Transgender Identities in Visual Arts” and “Media Construction of Other Body.”

Lura Limani is a researcher, editor and activist. She worked as the editor-in-chief of Prishtina Insight and holds an MA in cultural studies.

 

This episode is produced as part of Human Rightivism, a project funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and implemented by the Community Development Fund. The views expressed in it do not necessarily reflect the views of SIDA.

#EP1 - Travel in the region

In this first episode, we explore the topic of travel in the region. Why and how do we travel? What does it tell us about our shared past, our current sense of belonging, and our understanding of one another?

Our guests are Ilir Gashi from Belgrade, who works at the intersection of media, activism, art and technology, and Driton Selmani from Prishtina, a visual artist working in video, installation and photography. 

Both are travel enthusiasts and have both created particularly interesting works that explore issues related to travel and borders. On the podcast, they discuss what drives people to travel and connect across borders in the face of the tense political climate and barriers in the region. 

With mainstream politics dominated by narratives of division, individual travel not only serves as a quiet protest to such narratives, but reveals the countless everyday cross-border and multilingual ties that continue to connect us.

 

This episode was produced with the financial support of the National Endowment for Democracy.

Other Talking Points is produced by Besa Luci, Aulonë Kadriu and Gentiana Paçarizi.

Music and sound mix by PUG Musik.

You can listen to Other Talking Points through our website or by subscribing to K2.0 on Spotify.