Dealing with the Past - Exchange and Reflect


The Multidimensional Remembrance Monitor (4): Family narratives as sources of historical remembrance are fragmentary and prone to biases

09. Jan. 2020
Michael Papendick and Dr. Jonas Rees

The culture of remembrance in Germany, widely appreciated internationally, is grounded in numerous state-funded institutions and an extremely vital civil society engagement. But what do we know about its impact on the attitudes of ordinary Germans? Researchers in Bielefeld have begun to study this question systematically and have developed the Multidimensional Remembrance Monitor (MEMO) for this purpose. They present some of their findings in a series of five short articles.

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How to transform zipper-shaped conflict narratives: a methodological approach in a nutshell

06. Jan. 2020
Andrea Zemskov-Züge

In order to transform conflict-supporting narratives, one needs to understand their construction principles. Then it becomes possible to facilitate processes with key narrators to encourage them to incorporate new elements in their proven narratives.

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Agonistic memory and transitional justice

Stefan Berger

Memory cultures that are directed at achieving a social consensus by placing the emphasis on the victims’ perspective depoliticise remembering and are a blunt instrument in countering populist or neo-nationalist approaches. The concept of ‘agonistic memory’ is a response to this and an attempt to make political differences visible and negotiable once more.

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New Publication: Towards Inclusive Gender in Transitional Justice

19. Dec. 2019
Phillipp Schulz

While gender perspectives have become a burgeoning focus of analysis in transitional justice, the dominant conceptualization of ‘gender’ in the context of processes of dealing with the past is often an exclusive one, predominantly equated with ‘women and girls’. In a recent article in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, I argue that as a result of these foci, careful consideration for the roles of masculinities and for the experiences of sexual and gender minorities in post-conflict and transitional spaces remains strikingly absent. The article foregrounds numerous blind-spots and gaps in the growing literature on gender and transitional justice, and proposes conceptual and empirical opportunities for addressing them.

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La Comisión de la Verdad – The Voice of Those Who Cannot Speak

17. Dec. 2019
Linda Helfrich (GiZ) interviewed Carlos Martín Beristain

Carlos Martín Beristain is a Spanish doctor and psychologist from the Basque country, who has coordinated the Guatemala Nunca Más Report for the REMHI (Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica) project in Guatemala. In Colombia, he is one of eleven commissioners working for the Comisión de la Verdad (Truth Commission). The state commission was set up under the final peace agreement signed between the Colombian government and the FARC to end the conflict and build a stable and lasting peace. One of the commission's tasks is to clarify the patterns and causes of the internal armed conflict.

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About this Blog

We collect and collate practical insights, experiences and approaches relating to the challenges of implementing dealing with the past processes in the world as well as in Germany itself, thereby promoting truly universal learning.


Issues

Transitional Justice is a professionalised and internationally accepted policy field. But do its implicit and explicit foundations still hold good? Which of its underlying assumptions, patterns of thinking or practices should be critically reviewed?

Dealing with the past is often subject to passionate political struggles - on the national, as well as on the international level. They can lead to rather supportive or suppressive, truly effective or ineffective frameworks, institutionalised by state-policies and laws. However, below the surface, political struggles are about the access to scare resources, institutions or, more generally, the distribution of power. What political initiatives exist that try to foster inclusive and coherent processes of dealing with the past? Why do they exist and what is their room for manoeuvre?

 

a. Peacebuilding requires the integration of conflicting narratives. To that end, these narratives must be transformed/made “fit for peace”. How can this be achieved?
b. How can diverse perspectives be made visible in social discourse – or in a museum? What is the connecting element in this diversity? How can relativism and arbitrariness be excluded?

Transitional Justice is value-oriented and aims to help build sustainably peaceful and just societies. What do we know about its real impacts?

Transitional Justice sees itself as genuinely preventive. What can be done to strengthen its prevention capacities?

a. Gender in practice is primarily associated with the integration of women and their perspectives in processes and institutions. Which challenges need to be resolved through practical action?
b. Which other topics that can be addressed through TJ measures lend themselves to consideration through a gender lens?

 a. Which opportunities are opened up by the digitalisation of memory? What can be done to minimise risks and avert hazards?
b. How can knowledge and narratives about the past reach the general public?

Those born afterwards bear no direct responsibility. They may choose to ignore history or identify with perpetrators or victims. What can be done to awaken young people’s interest in history and motivate them to engage in building peaceful relations between communities?

Please feel free to suggest a new discussion topic in your blog post, such as issues relating to experience with Transformative Justice, reparation programmes, dealing with perpetrators and much more.

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