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Peace and Politics of Memory

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This project investigates if and how commemoration impacts on the quality of peace, and aims to explain why commemoration may contribute to the making of a durable peace or the perpetuation of conflict.

In-depth and comparative studies are conducted of memory politics in four cases: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cyprus, Rwanda and South Africa. In order to capture the shifting and conflictual politics of memory there will be an analytical framework developed around four conceptual entry points: narratives, agents, sites and events that together constitute ‘mnemonic formations’. In each of the four selected case studies key topics of memory politics are identified and their associated mnemonic formations are analysed. Examples of such key contentious topics of memory politics are political imprisonment in the era of apartheid in South Africa, the war crime of rape in Rwanda and the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The project addresses the lack of detailed and systematic investigations into the fluid and frictional construction of commemoration in societies transitioning from war to peace, and thus makes an original contribution to the literatures of transitional justice and peacebuilding. Further, the project provides policy-relevant insights into how commemoration can function in support of peacebuilding.

Project Period: 2017-2021
Funding: Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Science
Principal Investigator: Johanna Mannegren Selimovic
Team: Prof. Dr. Susanne Buckley-Zistel (Marburg), Johanna Mannegren Selimovic (Stockholm), Annika Björkdahl (Lund), Stefanie Kappler (Durham)