Handbook Dialogue: “Transforming War Related Identities”

12/07/2015

The question of how individuals and collectives can come to terms with war memories or trauma after mass atrocities is crucial for framing post-war relationships. But how do the processes on different levels (individual and collective) and diverse dimensions of identity formation relate to each other? How to deal with trans-generational legacies of violence? How can the needs of the victims be served in an appropriate way, and how to address “cultures of victimhood” that stem from past violence?

These questions are discussed by scholars and practitioners, peace activists, psychologists and social scientists in Berghof Handbook Dialogue 11 (ed. by Beatrix Austin & Martina Fischer).

By now, the following contributions are available on our website:

Brandon Hamber’s contribution  analyses diverse approaches for dealing with painful memories and discusses how different dimensions (interpersonal and intergroup relations, individual and collective memories and identities) relate to one another. The chapter builds on experiences from South Africa and Northern Ireland, where Hamber chairs the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) at Ulster University. We asked scholar-practitioners from other contexts to comment on his thoughts. Olivera Simic (Griffith University, Brisbane) and David Becker (Free University, Berlin) focus on working with trauma and reflect on experiences in coping with painful memories in the Balkans. Andrea Zemskov-Züge (Berghof Foundation) brings in examples from the Caucasus (Georgia/Abkhazia) and Undine Whande’s text makes reference to South Africa and to experiences from Germany in dealing with the legacies of the second world war.

A printed edition of the Handbook Dialogue 11 will follow soon.