Victimhood and Uneven Development in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Paper presented at ECPR General Conference, Reykjavik, 24-27 August 2011.

Natascha Mueller-Hirth

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Democratic South Africa, perhaps more than any other post-conflict setting, is regularly portrayed as an example of a society that has successfully dealt with past human rights violations. However, such a narrative of reconciliation can betray the complexities of victimhood in Post-Apartheid society, especially given the country’s developmental challenges of inequality, poverty and service delivery. This paper reports preliminary findings from ongoing qualitative research with victims of Apartheid-era political violence, some of whom gave evidence to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). While the TRC sought to promote reconciliation and healing through restorative justice, a number of studies have shown that witnessing at the Truth Commission was not necessarily helpful to victims, calling into question common assumptions about the value of truth recovery processes. The relatively limited scope of the Commission moreover did not give access to such processes to many of those victimised. The paper seeks to contribute to this body of literature by examining victims’ experiences over a decade after the publication of the final report by the Truth Commission. It argues for a complex conception of victimhood that acknowledges the impact of the broader context of uneven development in the Post-Apartheid era and the continuing violence of poverty experienced by many victims.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventECPR General Conference - Reykjavik, 24-27 August 2011., Iceland
Duration: 24 Aug 201127 Aug 2011

Conference

ConferenceECPR General Conference
CountryIceland
CityReykjavik, 24-27 August 2011.
Period24/08/1127/08/11

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