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Innocence and Victimhood: Gender, Nation, and Women's Activism in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina (Critical Human Rights)

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Innocence and Victimhood: Gender, Nation, and Women's Activism in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina (Critical Human Rights) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Synopsis:

The 1992–95 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina following the dissolution of socialist Yugoslavia became notorious for “ethnic cleansing” and mass rapes targeting the Bosniac (Bosnian Muslim) population. Postwar social and political processes have continued to be dominated by competing nationalisms representing Bosniacs, Serbs, and Croats, as well as those supporting a multiethnic Bosnian state, in which narratives of victimhood take center stage, often in gendered form. Elissa Helms shows that in the aftermath of the war, initiatives by and for Bosnian women perpetuated and complicated dominant images of women as victims and peacemakers in a conflict and political system led by men. In a sober corrective to such accounts, she offers a critical look at the politics of women’s activism and gendered nationalism in a postwar and postsocialist society.
            Drawing on ethnographic research spanning fifteen years, Innocence and Victimhood demonstrates how women’s activists and NGOs responded to, challenged, and often reinforced essentialist images in affirmative ways, utilizing the moral purity associated with the position of victimhood to bolster social claims, shape political visions, pursue foreign funding, and wage campaigns for postwar justice. Deeply sensitive to the suffering at the heart of Bosnian women’s (and men’s) wartime experiences, this book also reveals the limitations to strategies that emphasize innocence and victimhood.

About the Author

Elissa Helms is associate professor of gender studies at Central European University in Hungary. She is a coeditor, with Xavier Bougarel and Ger Duijzings, of The New Bosnian Mosaic: Identities, Memories and Moral Claims in a Post-War Society.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations                
Acknowledgments                 
Pronunciation Guide              
List of Abbreviations             
 
Introduction               
1 Representations: Victims and Peacemakers            
2 Wartime: Gender, Nationalism, and Mass Rape                
3 The NGO "Boom": Women's Organizing and Foreign Intervention in the Wake of War              
4 The "Nation-ing" of Gender: Nationalism, Ethnicity, Reconciliation                    
5 "Politics Is a Whore": Women and the Political                 
6 Avoidance and Authenticity: The Public Face of Wartime Rape               
Conclusion: Claiming Gendered Victimhood: Limits, Implications, Hopes              
 
Notes             
References                  
Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780299295547
Author:
Helms, Elissa
Publisher:
University of Wisconsin Press
Subject:
Politics-Human Rights
Edition Description:
1
Series:
Critical Human Rights
Publication Date:
20131231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
21 b/w photos, 1 map
Pages:
348
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1 in

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Human Rights
History and Social Science » World History » Eastern Europe

Innocence and Victimhood: Gender, Nation, and Women's Activism in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina (Critical Human Rights) New Trade Paper
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Product details 348 pages University of Wisconsin Press - English 9780299295547 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The 1992–95 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina following the dissolution of socialist Yugoslavia became notorious for “ethnic cleansing” and mass rapes targeting the Bosniac (Bosnian Muslim) population. Postwar social and political processes have continued to be dominated by competing nationalisms representing Bosniacs, Serbs, and Croats, as well as those supporting a multiethnic Bosnian state, in which narratives of victimhood take center stage, often in gendered form. Elissa Helms shows that in the aftermath of the war, initiatives by and for Bosnian women perpetuated and complicated dominant images of women as victims and peacemakers in a conflict and political system led by men. In a sober corrective to such accounts, she offers a critical look at the politics of women’s activism and gendered nationalism in a postwar and postsocialist society.
            Drawing on ethnographic research spanning fifteen years, Innocence and Victimhood demonstrates how women’s activists and NGOs responded to, challenged, and often reinforced essentialist images in affirmative ways, utilizing the moral purity associated with the position of victimhood to bolster social claims, shape political visions, pursue foreign funding, and wage campaigns for postwar justice. Deeply sensitive to the suffering at the heart of Bosnian women’s (and men’s) wartime experiences, this book also reveals the limitations to strategies that emphasize innocence and victimhood.
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