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The New Politics of Victimhood in Post-Socialist Europe

Project description

How victimhood features in politics in Central and Southeast Europe

The notion of victimhood is central in politics. The sense of being victimised by injustice, wrongdoing and crimes is leveraged by political leaders and the public across the world to evoke emotions and loyalties. The EU-funded VICTIMEUR project will focus on the political constructions of victimhood in post-socialist Central and Southeast Europe where sources of victimhood are ample and diverse. It will study how victimhood has featured in politics and political competition of post-socialist Europe over the past 20 years, and its role in the region's contemporary politics, and introduce a novel understanding of social and political victimhood linked to collective and individual grievances that go beyond demands and identities of direct victims of communism, conflict and injustice.

Objective

VICTIMEUR takes a new and original approach to studying the political uses of constructions of victimhood in selected post-socialist countries of Central and South East Europe: Albania, the Czech Republic (also Czechia) and Serbia. Victimhood - as a sense of being victimized by crimes and (historical) injustice - has proliferated in the political discourse across post-socialist Europe in the past two decades. Political leaders, civil society and the public have used collective and individual victimhood to claim rights, new policies, and legitimize new political orders. VICTIMEUR grapples with the question: How has victimhood featured in politics and political competition of post-socialist Europe in the past two decades? Using three post-socialist, it studies different meanings, notions and constructions of victimhood and how they have featured in key moments of political contestation such as power transitions. The project breaks new theoretical and empirical ground by combining transitional justice, memory and identity studies with comparative politics to shed new light on how victimhood politics has featured in contemporary post-socialist Europe, with the ambition to contribute to the current worldwide debates about the role victimhood in politics. It introduces a novel understanding of social and political victimhood that clearly manifests itself in the contemporary post-socialist Europe and is linked to a long list of collective and individual grievances that go beyond demands and identities of direct victims. Such sources of victimhood vary from memories of historical injustice related to World War II, East-West divisions, socialist political persecution, war suffering, and a recent sense of marginalization by market economies. Informed by the existing research in cultural studies, history, politics and sociology, and collecting new fresh data, this project significantly advances our understanding of the uses of memory and identity in contemporary politics.

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Coordinator

UNIVERSITA CA' FOSCARI VENEZIA
Net EU contribution
€ 269 002,56
Address
Dorsoduro 3246
30123 Venezia
Italy

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Region
Nord-Est Veneto Venezia
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00

Partners (1)