Gender and Discourses of Reconciliation at BISA

Denisa Kostovicova (Department of Government, London School of Economics) and Tom Paskhalis (Department of Methodology, London School of Economics), who is an LSE-based research assistant with the the AHRC-funded project, ‘Art & Reconciliation: Conflict, Culture and Community,’ presented the initial findings of their research investigating  women’s contribution to reconciliation at the British International Studies Association (BISA) Annual Conference 2017 – 14-16th June 2017 – Brighton, Sussex, UK, contributing to BISA’s Critical Peace & Conflict Studies: Feminist Interventions.

Women Deliberators and Transitional Justice: What Kind of Voice?

The recent turn in the scholarship of transitional justice that studies how states and societies engage with the legacy of mass atrocity has been to investigate the women’s perspective on post-conflict justice. This welcome development in the field is part of an effort to investigate a paradox: transitional justice measures do not necessarily deliver either justice or reconciliation, which are their key aims, and, by contrast, often entrench injustice. The gender perspective has shone the light on blind spots in this scholarship that result in highly gendered masculinized versions of post-conflict justice. This paper furthers the study of women’s voice in post-conflict justice processes. It brings together the scholarship of transitional justice and the theory of deliberative democracy. Scholars of deliberative democracy have also highlighted inequalities in women’s participation in deliberation, concerning both the conditions for deliberation and the frequency of women’s contributions. This research tests and critiques the scholarly proposition of (in)visible women in the deliberation of transitional justice. It argues that more can be gleaned about women’s contribution to transitional justice from the analysis of the kind of voice women have and its implications for post-conflict rehabilitation. Is their contribution self-interested? Do they reach more across ethnic divides than men? Are their contributions more reconciliatory? The evidence is drawn from a comparative quantitative analysis of 1,211 statements of contributors during the deliberation of transitional justice in the Balkans.


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