Tagged / Cultures and Conflicts

Research on Memory and Reconciliation after War

 Is memory of war and violence in divided societies an obstacle to, or a pre-requisite for, peace-making? What are the commonalities and differences in the ways in which such memory is socially constructed and culturally expressed? What are its psycho-social functions and political transformations? What messages are communicated, and how?

Dr. Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers, social anthropologist in the department of Sociology and Social Work (HSS), recently presented her research findings on these questions, based on fieldwork in Kosovo, at an international conference on Narrative, Power and Commemoration in Conflicted Societies in Belfast. Hosted by the Transitional Justice Institute of Ulster University (which, incidentally, had the highest score for impact in the Law UoA in the last REF exercise), this conference assembled and compared international case studies with the case immediately at our doorsteps, Northern Ireland.
For the full conference programme, click here!  Her presentation, titled Statues and  statutes – nationalist versus multi-ethnic enshrinements in Kosovo after the 1999 war – juxtaposed local identifications with ideas of ethno-national, militant resistance as embodied in the material culture of commemorative sites in contemporary Kosovo (the ‘statues’) to the constitutionally enshrined paradigm of multi-ethnicity (the ‘statutes’) integral to the internationally-driven, peace- and state-building process in Kosovo after the war.  However, rather than constructing a simple dichotomy of parallel discourses, her presentation traced the question of ambiguities and potentials within either type of discursive ‘enshrinement’, with a particular emphasis on stories bridging the ethnic divides and individualising responsibility in the site literature emanating from the nationalist shrines and their statues.
Stephanie will ALSO present her on-going BU research collaborations, which expand on the topic of memories and commemoration, at BU’s Interdisciplinary Week (Tuesday, 12 May, 4:30 pm KG01). Together with Avital Biran (an expert in ‘dark’ tourism); Melanie Klinkner (transitional justice); and Feng Tian (‘serious gaming’ technology) she will explore ways in which memorials may be helpful in Transforming conflict after war: memory, heritage and digital media.
 Places can be booked at https://research.bournemouth.ac.uk/interdisciplinary-research-week-2015/tuesday-12-may/.

Congratulations on both accounts,

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen


Find out more about the Communities, Cultures and Conflicts research theme

Throughout the world societies, their citizens, and those excluded from them are facing many challenges concerning identity and citizenship, social and cultural adaptation, and responding to growing social and global inequalities. In a time of protracted economic, political and social uncertainties the BU research theme Communities, Cultures and Conflicts offers a forum for taking individual and integrated, inter-disciplinary approaches these issues. to exploring, which explicitly involves learning from past communities and peoples, we are looking to expand future research collaboration around such issues as:

  • Sustainable growth & cultural transformation
  • Cultural adaptation & globalisation
  • Communication, culture and society
  • Equality, diversity & governance
  • Conflict, violence & warfare
  • Welfare & social protection
  • Media as an agent of socio-cultural & political transformation
  • Crisis management & disaster planning

Perceptions of conflict, vulnerability and the development of social welfare in the context of political violence and extremism forms part of our research theme’s work, as has consideration of difference and diversity across cultures and communities whilst considering the implications of this for contemporary fluid communities. Research has been completed in respect of Central European, Southeast Asian as well as UK communities

Our internationally renowned Disaster Management Centre offers education and training to organisations in risk assessment and risk reduction, major incident management & business continuity, and disaster recovery. We also offer one-day major incident management workshops for school bursars, headmasters and deputy headmasters (www.bournemouth.ac.uk/disaster-management).

We have clusters of researchers exploring ways of deepening democracy through developments in political communication and in the production and consumption of news. There are also research groups investigating trends in consumer culture (especially in digital consumption), studying the histories of the media industries and the communication professions as a way of understanding their present state and possible futures, and researching cultural narratives.

The multiple facets of identity, social inequality, conflict, and resource availability are narratives with a long time depth. Archaeology and anthropology have the theoretical frameworks and analytical tools to detect and contextualise these for societies of the past and, by doing so, enrich the debate about some of the fundamental and universal themes of humanity. An understanding of such aspects in the past has repercussions for our perceptions of similar issues today and vice versa.

Contributions from ‘Past Peoples and Societies’ may develop around questions such as: What are the determinants of societal continuity and change and their effect at the level of individuals and communities? How does adaptation reflect the dual, biocultural nature of humans? How do population development, migration and transitions shape communities and cultures? What is the impact of human-environment interaction and technological response?

The National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work is at the forefront of post-qualifying social work educational provision in England, working in partnership with 80 local authorities. We are one of the few CPD providers endorsed by The College of Social Work (TCSW) to provide post-qualifying social work education. We offer a range of CPD programmes in specialist areas such as Child Care, Vulnerable Adults, Approved Mental Health Practice, Practice Education, and Leadership and Management, and are committed to developing excellence in post-qualifying education, practice development and research. We undertake research and evaluation studies for a range of local, regional and national bodies (www.ncpqsw.com).

Prof Jonathan Parker

School of Health and Social Care


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