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BBSG — Result In Brief

Project ID: 241231
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: United Kingdom

The dissimilar post-conflict burdens

Armed conflicts tend to have long-term consequences on society. Researchers conducted an ethnographic study of two contemporary cases of post-conflict reconciliation.
The dissimilar post-conflict burdens
BBSG (Bosnian bones, Spanish ghosts: 'Transitional justice' and the legal shaping of memory after two modern conflicts) investigated how the law in two countries helped to shape cultural memories of wartime atrocity.

The EU-funded project examined the cases of Bosnia and Spain. In the Bosnian case, international intervention to end the conflict resulted in a two-decade-long process of transition. In the Spanish case, a nationally contrived pact of silence, which was broken 70 years after the end of the civil conflict, introduced an overnight transition after Franco's death.

Both cases exhibit a very different trajectory of transitional justice. Researchers examined the manner that criminal prosecutions, constitutional reforms and international rights mechanisms helped to frame these histories of violent conflicts. Topics of interest also concerned the systematic restructuring of legislative and judicial infrastructure, anti-corruption legislation and capacity-building projects.

Project fellows also examined the role that law played in the politics of memory and in recognition of the trauma caused by wartime atrocities.

In order to provide an answer to all these research questions, BBSG produced an innovative programme of enquiry. This included a variety of methods for data collection (from ethnographic study, forensic investigations at mass gravesites and semi-structured interviews to quantitative data collection) and an equally diverse mix of analytical strategies (actor network theory, social network analysis and, most importantly, a social scalar analysis, for the project's own methodological progress).

The development of a social scalar analysis was central to achieving the project's goals. It had both a potential methodological orientation purpose and a theoretical frame for both temporally distanced and polar opposite cases examined. This allowed researchers to interrogate the discourse, practices and modus operandi of transitional justice's ability to accommodate contrasting political ontologies.

Different international and national bodies and non-governmental organisations from both countries were particularly interested in the project, which offered a renewed analysis of the current dilemmas faced by each country.

The scholars worked across numerous field sites in both countries and were active in advocacy in consultancy work during the project's lifetime. This resulted in another European Research Council (ERC) grant for a year-long project of knowledge sharing across Bosnia and Herzegovina's public sector, in collaboration with numerous organisations.

Related information


Post-conflict, conflicts, ethnographic study, BBSG, transitional justice, social scalar analysis
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