Working Paper 170

Towards ‘Reasonable Certainty’: documents, files and the legal making of trust at the Kosovo Property Agency (KPA)

Agathe C. Mora

Abteilung ‚Recht & Ethnologie’

Jahr der Veröffentlichung


Working Paper 170

Due to the high uncertainty surrounding cases of property loss emanating from the 1998–1999 war in Kosovo, deciding restitution claims requires a certain level of trust in the reliability of the documents produced by parties, and the legality of documents has to be re-assessed by the Kosovo Property Agency (KPA) itself. By following the trajectory of files – the material repositories of the judicialisation process – through the institution, this paper looks at the institutional strategies put in place to manage documents in order to mitigate doubt, and to create a legal basis of ‘reasonable certainty’. Drawing on ethnographic material from the KPA, this paper argues that it is by looking at how files are made, at their trajectory, that we can begin to understand how the institution knows, and what it chooses to remember. It focuses on ‘moments of reification’ in the judicialisation process in order to highlight both the ways in which ‘reasonable certainty’ is constructed along the way, and the limits of the technocratic enterprise itself.

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