Memory and Transitional Justice

Conceptual Outline

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The project is a multidisciplinary exploration of the importance of recognizing and addressing the memory of violence in post-conflict transitional justice and peacebuilding efforts. Its objective is to question the scope and limits of both judicial and non-judicial processes in the aftermath of mass atrocities. The research project has three key features. The first is its interdisciplinary approach: it combines three central disciplines, namely law, anthropology and political science. Only by bringing together expertise in these three disciplines is it possible to identify phenomena relating to procedures and “judicial truth” (the field of law), the use of memory (political science), as well as transmission, rituals and collective mourning (anthropology). The second angle is its temporal scope. Rather than restricting itself to studying one generation of actors, this project considers two, or even three, generations within each family studied (among the various meso levels). The family is one of the most important places for arriving at an in-depth understanding of intergenerational phenomena – the tensions, discrepancies and even contradictions between one generation and another. The third angle is the role of geography. Each case study will systematically compare families remaining in the country of violence and families living in the diaspora. Thus, the project will study the intergenerational effect on the memory of the narratives highlighted by courts and other transitional justice bodies set up after a war based on the geographical anchoring of the families studied.

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