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Anna Korhonen
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Location & Connections

 

Visiting Fellows 2015-2016

Jelena Obradovic-Wochnik, Aston University, Birmingham, UK

"Transitional Justice and Hybridity: Contested Discourses and Divergent Narratives in Public Consultations for the Former Yugoslav Truth Commission”
(mid-August – mid-September 2015)

Biography:
Jelena Obradovic-Wochnik is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Aston University, Birmingham. Her work focuses on transitional justice, and investigates how societies confront violent pasts; socially, politically and institutionally. Her monograph, Ethnic Conflicts and War Crimes in the Balkans: the Narratives of Denial in Serbia (IB Tauris, London, 2013) explores the stories, silences and narratives of the violent past in Serbia. She is also interested in civil society and political participation more broadly.  Her work has been published in The International Journal of Transitional Justice, West European Politics, East European Politics and Societies and others.

Short description of ongoing research:
This research plan centres around a paper which will be written during the fellowship, based on empirical research already carried out. During the fellowship, the paper will be developed, and its theoretical framework refined. This is quite an experimental paper, so the aim of the fellowship would be to make the paper robust and obtain peer feedback, in order to prepare it for publication. The fellowship will also consist of a presentation of the work.
This paper explores the tensions within local or ‘domestic’ transitional justice communities, focusing on the normative and discursive divergences and convergences between practitioners and victims. Transitional justice is a discourse and a process aimed at rebuilding and reconciling societies after conflict. It is composed of initiatives such as war crimes courts, truth commissions and reparations; it is predominantly victim-centred.  Literature often points to the disconnect between global norms of transitional justice practice (or, the external-domestic contestations), but less is known about the intra-local contestations and tensions regarding this process. This research considers how intra-local tensions are externalised through (1) encounters between transitional justice practitioners and victim communities and (2) the storytelling process inherent in witness testimonies often used by practitioners for transitional justice goals.  The paper then explores the hybrid forms of witnessing and testimony produced by practitioner-victim encounters. The paper uses the former Yugoslavia as its case study, and explores these dynamics by examining the regional campaign for a truth commission (known as ‘REKOM’), which brings together practitioners, victims, civil society organisations, war veterans and former prisoners of war, at frequent, large-scale consultations. 

Email: j.obradovic-wochnik [at] aston.ac.uk

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Dragana Cvetanovic and Freek van der Vet