Research Project: Peace and the Politics of Memory by Research Cluster on Peace, Memory & Cultural Heritage

In societies emerging from violent conflict, victims, perpetrators and bystanders often live side by side, harbouring conflicting memories and experiences of violence. One of the most pressing questions concerns how the difficult past can be remembered without threatening the fragile peace of the present and future. 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.

Our conceptualization of durable peace zooms in on some key characteristics that we posit are of particular importance in relation to memory politics: Durable peace is inclusive in terms of ethnicity, religion, age and gender, it is pluralist in terms of diverse societal discourses, and it embraces human dignity in terms of human rights. We will use this definition of durable peace in order to assess whether, how and why commemoration impacts on the quality of peace.

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

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