The past is the present: Inequalities and temporalities of victimhood in post-conflict societies

Natascha Mueller-Hirth

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

One of the challenges for post-conflict societies lies in establishing liberal economic regimes that must at the same time deal with long-term issues such as redistribution and reconciliation. Drawing on qualitative research with victims/survivors of gross human rights violations, this paper examines temporalities of victimhood in South Africa. Two decades after the transition, there is a prevalent understanding among political and social elites that it is finally time for victims to ‘move on’. By contrast, the consequences of apartheid violence continued to impact on interviewees’ lives and were exacerbated by contemporary experiences of victimisation, contributing to their senses of continuity between past and present. The paper identifies four dimensions of temporal conflict – post-apartheid individualism/ liberation struggle collectivism; victimhood as temporary/ as lifelong experience; the pace of national reconciliation/ of individual healing; the speed of a neoliberal economy/ of social transformation – and adds a time-sensitive perspective to the study of victimhood.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventPerspectives on Conflict. Exploring legal and other forms of regulation - University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Jun 20146 Jun 2014

Conference

ConferencePerspectives on Conflict. Exploring legal and other forms of regulation
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityGlasgow
Period6/06/146/06/14

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Mueller-Hirth, N. (2014). The past is the present: Inequalities and temporalities of victimhood in post-conflict societies. Paper presented at Perspectives on Conflict. Exploring legal and other forms of regulation, Glasgow, United Kingdom.