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Reconciliation’s Citizen: Insights from the Peace Process in Bosnia-Herzegovina

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Duration: 0:20:32 | Added: 18 Jan 2021
Breakout session on ‘Peace and Transitional Justice’, first talk: Briony Jones, Ph.D. Candidate, Manchester University; Student Chair, Oxford Transitional Justice Research.

In the post Cold War era there has been a shift towards positive peace approaches in response to increases in intrastate conflicts. This has been part of an entrenchment of a liberal peace agenda, increased interventionism, and a greater complexity in peace-building. Such a shift has included a focus on social reconstruction in post-conflict societies and attention to reconciliation as part of transitional justice. Whilst reconciliation's normative project of restoring moral community has rarely been forced to defend itself, recent work on the politics of reconciliation suggest examination is needed on the political community which is implied, and on the dynamics between reconciliation and its citizen. This paper draws on fieldwork undertaken in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), a site of massive external peace-building intervention following the 1992-1995 war. One district in Bill did not become part of the two ethnic entities established in the peace accords, Bre'ko District (BD). This place has been hailed as a success story of return and reconciliation, but the experiences of those living in BD suggest a more nuanced approach is needed. The requirements of reconciliation based reforms in BD of an individualized, rights-bearing, and participatory citizen are challenged by experiences of uneven enabling conditions of citizenship and perceptions of a citizenship project which lacks meaning in context.

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