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Victimhood, Forgiveness and Reconciliation: in Stories of Bosnian War Survivors
Lund University. (Kriminal- och socialvetenskapligt nätverk)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6151-0934
2015 (English)In: Forgiveness: Social Significance, Health Impact and Psychological Effects / [ed] Olsen, Eugene L., Hauppauge: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2015, 105-130 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this analysis of the retold experiences of 27 survivors of the war in northwestern Bosnia, the aim is to describe the informants’ portrayal of “victimhood”, “forgiveness” and “reconciliation” as a social phenomenon as well as analyzing the discursive patterns that contribute to constructing the category “victim” and “perpetrator”. When, after the war, different categories claim a “victim” status, it sparks a competition for victimhood. All informants are eager to present themselves as victims while at the same time the other categories’ victim status are downplayed. In this reproduction of competition for the victim role, all demarcations that were played out so successfully during the war live on. The stories of forgiveness and reconciliation are connected to the past; the interactive consequences of war-time violence are intimately linked to the narrator’s war experiences. The interviewees distance themselves from some individuals or described situations. It is common that the portrayal of possible forgiveness and reconciliation is transformed into a depicted implacable attitude, thus the interviewees negotiate their stances: they articulate between reconciliation and implacability statements. In these stories, “the others” are presented as external actors in the context. Throughout their narrations, some individuals can make a confession or exert a certain self-esteem; others can take the chance to explain for themselves and the audience, to express regret over their actions and possibly restore their social status. Without this type of processing, war victims risk living an existence without confession, and the war perpetrators risk becoming permanently bound to their acts – clearly an unstable future foundation for a post-war society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hauppauge: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2015. 105-130 p.
Keyword [en]
war, victimhood, crime, forgiveness, victim, perpetrator, reconciliation
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Social Sciences; Social Sciences, Peace and Development Studies; Social Sciences, Criminology; Social Sciences, Social Psychology; Social Sciences, Social Work; Social Sciences, Sociology
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-48115ISBN: 978-1-63483-334-9OAI: diva2:878119
Available from: 2015-12-08 Created: 2015-12-07 Last updated: 2016-02-15Bibliographically approved

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Basic, Goran
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