Restorative Reintegration: Complex-victimhood and Reparations in Transitional Societies
How can performance contribute to repairing the emotional legacies of war crimes?
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During this TJI Seminar, Maria Alejandra Estrada-Fuentes discusses 'How can performance contribute to repairing the emotional legacies of war crimes?'
This project develops new methodological approaches to reparation in transitional societies by studying the role of complex-victims – individuals who harm yet are also harmed themselves – and the symbolic and embodied elements of ex-combatants in post-conflict reintegration. In so doing, it seeks to challenge epistemological understandings of social and disciplinary inequalities when reparation and reintegration are implemented in transitional contexts.
Complex victims are individuals who have been victimised but who are also responsible for victimising others. In war contexts these victims are conceptualised as members of non-state armed organisations that have been subject to war crimes (enforced disappearances, torture, sexual violence, extrajudicial killings or disabling physical injury). Restorative Reintegration addresses the gendered-dimensions of complex-victim reintegration by focusing on the social reintegration of female ex-combatants of guerrilla organisations who have been subject to sexual and gendered violence within the ranks of military organisations they belonged to, and how transitional justice mechanisms (reintegration programmes, truth commissions, judicial processes) deal with these experiences.
Studying the gendered-dimensions of complex-victim reparation and reintegration grapples with the broader historical factors and structural inequalities that inform violent conflict and shape post-conflict processes. In so doing, this project develops new understandings of the interplay between reparations and complex-victimhood, with special consideration of the role of applied theatre, performance, embodiment and art practice as central elements of conflict transformation, policymaking and implementation. This engagement with the arts will innovate and develop new languages to address and work through experiences of violence in transitional contexts. The proposed research argues for a relational-approach to reparation that systematically unsettles victim/perpetrator binaries in order to address the complexity of responsibility and reparations rooted in the structural and historical dimensions of harm in situations of armed conflict.
Speaker’s Bio: Maria Alejandra Estrada-Fuentes is based at the Universiteit van Amsterdam and University of Warwick. She completed her PhD at Warwick on the topic ‘Performative Reintegration: Ex-combatants' Transitions Towards Civilian Identities in Contemporary Colombia’ and publishes in the area of applied arts, conflict resolution, and transitional justice. She is co-investigator with professor Alison Ribeiro de Menezes (PI) in the international research project Towards a Moral Grammar of Transitional Justice: Secondary Care Practices to Support Conflict Transformation in Colombia, a public–private partnership between the University of Warwick (UK), Los Andes University and the Reincorporation and Normalization Agency (Colombia).