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Remembering the siege of Sarajevo
Johanna Mannergren
,
Annika Björkdahl
,
Susanne Buckley-Zistel
,
Stefanie Kappler
, and
Timothy Williams

Chapter 3 focuses on the mnemonic formation of the siege of Sarajevo. Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been characterised by unresolved tensions and a deeply divisive political climate reflected in the fragmented memoryscape of Sarajevo. This chapter understands the siege as a form of urbicide and examines how the dignity of survivors can be recognised through mnemonic activities and sites that encompass the entanglement of multiple memories of tangible and intangible losses caused by this particular form of violence. Through the SANE framework, the chapter studies the clashes between everyday and state-led practices of memory around the siege, demonstrating that the diverse forms of memorialisation display a lack of consensus regarding the ways in which the siege should be commemorated, by whom and in which spaces. A close examination of the mnemonic formation of the siege allows us to see the tactics of those memory agents as they challenge hegemonic memories. The sites in Sarajevo that we focus on have been selected on the basis of a careful mapping of the memoryscape of the city and comprises street memorials and plaques placed in the cityscape as markers at ‘authentic sites’, meaning the physical places where atrocities occurred; prominent and meaning-making memorials and monuments; and museums that deal specifically with the siege. The chapter finds that memory politics in the Bosnian capital is less consolidated than in other parts of the divided country, suggesting that fluid memory politics can provide for a more inclusive and plural peace.

in Peace and the politics of memory
Open Access (free)
The power of the dead
Johanna Mannergren
,
Annika Björkdahl
,
Susanne Buckley-Zistel
,
Stefanie Kappler
, and
Timothy Williams

Chapter 6 discusses the mnemonic formation of ‘the dead’ in Cambodia, exploring how the bones and spirits of those killed in the genocide carried out by the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s are used in memory politics today and how this impacts peace. Analytically engaging with the dead as victims of past violence gives us insight into the struggles for political power today and the influence of memory on the prospects for peace in post-genocide Cambodia. Government politics regarding the non-cremation of bodies in the aftermath of the Cambodian genocide is based on an understanding that these remains constitute evidence of the violent past and are needed to keep the memory alive and to educate future generations. However, the government’s emphasis on preserving the bones as evidence of the barbarity of the Khmer Rouge serves broader political purposes but ignores survivors’ calls for the bones to be cremated. The SANE framework helps us analyse various sites of local and national memorials, focusing particularly on the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and its display of skulls. The chapter reveals how the political interests that have successfully advocated the dead being preserved for display in order to bolster their own legitimacy may in fact have undermined the quality of peace in the country, as the dead are not afforded the dignity the surviving population would expect.

in Peace and the politics of memory
Open Access (free)
Johanna Mannergren
,
Annika Björkdahl
,
Susanne Buckley-Zistel
,
Stefanie Kappler
, and
Timothy Williams

This chapter concludes with our reflections on what a just peace may look like. A just peace is, in our analysis, a function of entangled memory, and stresses the key importance of plurality, dignity and inclusivity. Entangled memory is fluid and dynamic, and is constantly renegotiated, thus allowing for adaptations over time. The chapter closes by looking at new avenues for future research in the field of Peace and Conflict Studies.

in Peace and the politics of memory
Open Access (free)
Parallel peace(s) and competing nationalisms
Johanna Mannergren
,
Annika Björkdahl
,
Susanne Buckley-Zistel
,
Stefanie Kappler
, and
Timothy Williams

Chapter 2 explores how the mnemonic formation of competing nationalisms has turned memory-making into an obstacle to peace-making in Cyprus. Here, contested memories of past national struggles have become a foundation for the (re)constitution of the two nations in a mnemonic battle that has torn the island apart and constitutes a barrier to any lasting resolution of differences. From a Greek Cypriot perspective, nationalist memory-making relates to the colonial struggle for independence from Britain, while Turkish Cypriots’ nationalist memory-making is primarily about obtaining independence from the Greek Cypriots. In Cyprus, memory politics can be investigated at the two museums of national struggle established in the divided capital of Nicosia, where the conflicting and contested narratives of the two national struggles for independence are reflected in artefacts, photos and memorabilia. These two museums preserve two conflicting mnemonic formations of nationalism through which the state-building narratives for the island are told. Through the SANE framework, this chapter compares and contrasts the Greek Cypriot museum and the Turkish Cypriot museum to cast light on how nationalism predominates in the way in which memories are publicly articulated. Nevertheless, some counter-memories exist in the margins and some memory work has been done within and beyond the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities that attempt to interrupt these hegemonic mnemonic formations. The chapter suggests that a key realm for negotiating a shared peace on the island is the politics of memory, so as to mediate the strong mnemonic attachments to the ‘nation’.

in Peace and the politics of memory
Open Access (free)
Johanna Mannergren
,
Annika Björkdahl
,
Susanne Buckley-Zistel
,
Stefanie Kappler
, and
Timothy Williams

The introductory chapter outlines the main purpose of the book, which is to analyse how memory politics affects the quality of peace in societies transitioning from a violent past. Situating the book in the literature of critical peace research, we base our argument on an understanding of peace as ‘becoming’ and best characterised as a process rather than an outcome. We view peace as fragmented, co-existing, fleeting, thus producing plural peace(s). The quality of peace is strongly connected to justice, and we posit that it can be assessed along the tenets of plurality, inclusivity and dignity. Bringing memory research into these conceptualisations, we approach the subject with a specific focus on the frictional power of memory and introduce the idea that the quality of peace is affected by the extent to which memories are entangled. Further, we introduce the key concept of mnemonic formations and discuss how they function as diagnostic sites in our empirical analysis. For each case in our study, we have chosen to focus on one main mnemonic formation per case that is a salient topic in its memory politics. The chapter moreover introduces and motivates the selection of the five empirical cases in the study in which we explore mnemonic formations: Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rwanda, South Africa and Cambodia.

in Peace and the politics of memory
Plurality, dignity and inclusivity
Johanna Mannergren
,
Annika Björkdahl
,
Susanne Buckley-Zistel
,
Stefanie Kappler
, and
Timothy Williams

In this chapter, we draw comparatively on the insights gained from each of the empirical chapters and present our main findings regarding the impact of memory politics on the quality of peace. The empirical investigations demonstrate the strength with which memories of past violence affect the quality of peace in the present. The power of the past is evident from the comparative analysis of the mnemonic formations of nationalisms dividing the island of Cyprus, the unsettled memory of the siege of Sarajevo in the Bosnian memoryscape, ongoing controversies around the role of internationals in the Rwandan genocide, the lingering legacies of colonialism in South Africa, and contestations regarding the use of human remains in Cambodia. Our findings suggest that the way memory entangles is key to the quality of peace. Across all five cases, we find that three factors in how these memories are entangled are of particular importance in determining the quality of peace: plurality, the restoration of dignity to the victims of past violence and inclusivity. A just peace is possible if memory is entangled in a way that is plural while also embracing dignity and inclusivity. In contrast, if memory is entangled in a way that allows narratives to run parallel without interconnecting, that is divisive and leaves some victims’ sufferings unacknowledged, the peace is most likely shallow.

in Peace and the politics of memory
Open Access (free)
An analytical approach to memory and peace
Johanna Mannergren
,
Annika Björkdahl
,
Susanne Buckley-Zistel
,
Stefanie Kappler
, and
Timothy Williams

Chapter 1 lays out our comparative methodology for analysing memory politics, elaborates on the idea of mnemonic formations and introduces an analytical framework for investigating mnemonic formations through four conceptual entry points: sites, agents, narratives and events (SANE). The framework allows access to the entanglement of memory in mnemonic formations and makes visible the fluidity of memory as well as the frictions between competing memories. Mnemonic formations are societally salient topics regarding a particular facet of a conflict-affected society’s memoryscape that bring memory and politics together. The chapter introduces how these intricate processes may interact and unfold over time and space, which allows for insights into how and why remembrance impacts the quality of peace. Through the emphasis on sites of memory, such as memorials, monuments or museums, we are able to capture that ‘matter matters’ for memory politics. Since memory politics is a process with, and a result of, the work produced by individuals and organised groups, it is crucial to acknowledge the role of agents in our understanding of mnemonic formations. Given the power of language and discourse and its substantial effects on societies, we bring to the fore narratives of memory. A focus on memory events, lastly, recognises the importance of performativity. Importantly, we emphasise that memory cannot be understood through an analysis of sites, agents, narratives or events alone, but only through looking at their complex interplay.

in Peace and the politics of memory

This book explores memory politics and its impact on the quality of peace in societies transitioning from a violent past. Situating the book in the literature of critical Peace Research and Memory Studies, the authors introduce the idea that the quality of peace is affected by the extent to which memories are entangled. It advances and employs an original theoretical framework to study mnemonic formations. Mnemonic formations are societally salient topics regarding a particular facet of a conflict-affected society’s memoryscape that bring memory and politics together. We investigate mnemonic formations through the interplay between sites, agency, narratives and events. Acknowledging the entanglement of memory in mnemonic formations, this book renders visible the fluidity of memory-making and the political frictions between competing memories. It provides rich empirical case studies that analyse and compare mnemonic formations in Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rwanda, South Africa and Cambodia. Through this comparative investigation the book assesses how and why memory politics contributes to the construction of a just peace or the perpetuation of conflict, or nuances in between. This analysis shows that three elements of memory politics play a key role in relation to the quality of peace: inclusivity, pluralism and dignity. Suggesting that memory politics affect the quality of peace, the book concludes that when the mnemonic formation consists of multiple, intersectional entanglements and overlaps, there is more room for just peace.

Open Access (free)
The role of the internationals
Johanna Mannergren
,
Annika Björkdahl
,
Susanne Buckley-Zistel
,
Stefanie Kappler
, and
Timothy Williams

Chapter 4 focuses on the role of international actors in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, how they feature as a trope in current memory politics and what impact this has on the quality of peace. The chapter argues that the creation of an enemy outside of Rwanda is a mnemonic formation that serves the function of forging a coherent identity in a country still heavily affected by the experience of genocide. It explores various sites related to the role of internationals during the genocide, including the Kigali Genocide Memorial and the Murambi Genocide Memorial. These sites clearly articulate the government’s official narrative about the role of the internationals. Various Rwandan and international memory agents have been key in attributing meaning to their role in the run-up to and during the genocide, highlighting the preparatory role of colonialism, international inaction by the UN and the international community during genocide, and even a collaboration of the French state with Hutu extremists. Memory politics in Rwanda is hegemonically structured. As the SANE analysis shows, these narratives can support legitimacy for the government, even at the expense of some facets of the quality of peace.

in Peace and the politics of memory
Open Access (free)
The legacies of colonialism
Johanna Mannergren
,
Annika Björkdahl
,
Susanne Buckley-Zistel
,
Stefanie Kappler
, and
Timothy Williams

Chapter 5 investigates the memoryscape of South Africa as it is shaped by the legacy of colonialism. It shows that the memory landscape as it pertains to colonialism is starkly divided between those who take that landscape for granted or even feel nostalgic about it and those who are seeking to challenge and transform it from different perspectives. It further argues that the mnemonic formation of colonialism has been sidelined as a result of the primary attention paid to apartheid, and suggests that apartheid should be viewed as an extension of colonialism, rather than separate from it. The various manifestations of colonialism, and of resistance against it, produce a much more complex picture of the South African post-colonial memoryscape than the commonly assumed binary distinction between black and white South African experiences. Articulations of resistance against colonial legacies have only recently been gaining more traction. To demonstrate this, the chapter investigates a diversity of sites, agents, narratives and events that deal with the past of colonialism as well as the legacy of colonial violence. The SANE analysis of their interplay casts light on a segmented memoryscape that is shaped by mnemonic variations and dissonance in the ways in which European colonial presence is remembered today. We thus seek to understand why South Africa has struggled to achieve a peace that is considered ‘just’ and to illustrate how resistance is being mobilised to challenge the lingering power of colonialism.

in Peace and the politics of memory