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Demirel, C. (2023). Analyzing Competitive Victimhood: Narratives of recognition and nonrecognition in the pursuit of reconciliation. (Doctoral dissertation). Huddinge: Södertörns högskola
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Analyzing Competitive Victimhood: Narratives of recognition and nonrecognition in the pursuit of reconciliation
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Att analysera competitive victimhood : Narrativ om erkännande och icke-erkännande i strävandet mot försoning
Abstract [en]

This dissertation analyzes the narrative manifestation of competitive victimhood and its variations within reconciliation processes. Competitive victimhood (CV) emerges when opposing groups assert themselves to be the sole or primary victims of conflict or use their historical suffering to rationalize ingroup transgressions. This study explores the notion of CV in four relational settings with various levels of violence, ranging from low-level conflict to civil war and mass atrocities, each having a different temporal proximity to violent incidents: Turkish–Armenian relations, relations between Catholic Republicans and Protestant Unionists in Northern Ireland, and both Bosniak–Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Croat–Bosniak relations in Bosnia andHerzegovina. The data analyzed include 60 interviews, public opinion polls, political party manifestos, political statements, NGO reports, documents, and memory sites.The research investigates narratives that convey perceptions of outgroup suffering and the perpetration of harm against outgroups. In so doing, it underscores the challenging relationship between the recognition of outgroup victimhood and acknowledgment of harm the ingroup has perpetrated on others, resulting in five categories that indicate varying levels of competitiveness: revengeful victimhood, strong–CV, mid–CV, weak–CV, and inclusive victimhood. This novel analytical framework facilitates observation of the manifestation of different levels of CV in conflict-to-peace transitions, as well as analysis of empirical examples representing variation from highly competitive to more inclusive victimhood. The weak–CV and inclusive victimhood categories also enable identification of the potential for memory-sharing in ethnonational groups’ conflict- and war-related narratives. A reflexive comparative analysis of case studies highlights the presence of CV across all cases, despite variations in the level of violence and temporal proximity to its occurrence. Findings reveal the importance of considering two factors in analyzing competitive victimhood: the symmetry/asymmetry of exposure to violence and contemporary political power struggles between ethnonational groups.

Abstract [sv]

Denna avhandling analyserar den narrativa förekomsten av competitive victimhood (CV), det vill säga konkurrens mellan grupperna i en konflikt om vilken av dem som är det huvudsakliga offret, inom försoningsprocesser. Competitive victimhood uppstår när motståndargrupper utmålar sig som de enda eller de primära offren i en konflikt eller när de använder sitt historiska lidande för att rationalisera överträdelser som begåtts av den egna gruppen. Avhandlingen undersöker både sammanhang med låg konfliktnivå och kontexter som präglats av inbördeskrig och massvåld, där olika lång tid har gått sedan våldsamheterna. Föreställningen om competitive victimhood undersöks i fyra relationella kontexter: turkisk-armeniska relationer, relationer mellan katolska republikaner och protestantiska unionister på Nordirland, samt bosniakisk-bosnienserbiska och bosnienkroatisk-bosniakiska relationer i Bosnien och Hercegovina. Den bygger på 60 intervjuer, opinionsundersökningar, partiprogram, politiska uttalanden, rapporter från icke-statliga organisationer, dokument och minnesplatser. Avhandlingen undersöker narrativ som förmedlar uppfattningar om utgruppers lidande och utövandet av skada mot utgrupper. Avhandlingen lyfter fram den svåra relationen mellan erkännandet av utgruppens offerskap och erkännandet av den skada som den egna gruppen har orsakat andra. Fem kategorier konstrueras som visar på varierande nivåer av konkurrens: hämndlystet offerskap, starkt CV, medelstarkt CV, svagt CV samt inkluderande offerskap. Detta nya analytiska ramverk underlättar observationer av förekomsten av olika nivåer av competitive victimhood i övergångar från konflikt till fred. Vidare erbjuder ramverket ett sätt att analysera empiriska exempel som representerar en variation från starkt konkurrerande till mer inkluderande offerskap. Kategorierna för svagt CV och inkluderande offerskap gör det möjligt att identifiera potential för delade minnen i etnonationella gruppers konflikt- och krigsrelaterade narrativ. En reflexiv jämförande analys av fallstudierna visar att competitive victimhood förekommer i samtliga av de undersökta fallen, trots variation i våldets nivå och närhet i tid. Resultaten visar på vikten att ta hänsyn till två faktorer vid analyser av competitive victimhood: symmetri/asymmetri i våldsutsatthet och nutida politiska maktkamper mellan etnonationella grupper. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, 2023. p. 187
Series
Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 223
Keywords
competitive victimhood, post-conflict, reconciliation, ethnonational relations, narratives, competitive victimhood, postkonflikt, försoning, etnonationella relationer, narrativ
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society; Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-52358 (URN)978-91-89504-52-3 (ISBN)978-91-89504-53-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2023-10-20, MA648, Alfred Nobels allé 7, Huddinge, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European StudiesHelge Ax:son Johnsons stiftelse
Available from: 2023-09-28 Created: 2023-09-20 Last updated: 2023-10-13Bibliographically approved
Demirel, C. (2023). Exploring inclusive victimhood narratives: the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Third World Quarterly, 44(8), 1770-1789
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring inclusive victimhood narratives: the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina
2023 (English)In: Third World Quarterly, ISSN 0143-6597, E-ISSN 1360-2241, Vol. 44, no 8, p. 1770-1789Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Narratives are essential tools for communicating thoughts about competitive and inclusive victimhood socially and politically. In reconciliation processes, promoting narratives of inclusive victimhood (an understanding that ‘we all suffered together’) has been suggested as one way to overcome competitive victimhood (the idea that one ethnoreligious group or nation is the sole or primary victim in a conflict or war). However, the notion of inclusive victimhood remains understudied in post-war contexts in which exposure to violence was relatively imbalanced between former adversaries. This article traces the potential narrative variation from competitive to inclusive victimhood in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina. It draws on (1) the competitive victimhood typology as an analytical tool and (2) a mapping of narrative sites as a methodological tool for tracing collective victimhood. The article scrutinises less competitive and inclusive accounts of victimhood identities in Bosnia-Herzegovina by examining the narratives that recognise outgroup victimhood and acknowledge ingroup responsibility for harmdoing. It suggests that there is potential for peaceful coexistence realised through the narrative of shared suffering, especially in post-war contexts where the exposure to violence was not entirely unidirectional. However, shared responsibility is less likely to be observed when the exposure to violence was highly asymmetrical.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2023
Keywords
Inclusive victimhood, narratives, Bosnia-Herzegovina, reconciliation, peace
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-51446 (URN)10.1080/01436597.2023.2205579 (DOI)000982938600001 ()2-s2.0-85158881067 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-05-09 Created: 2023-05-09 Last updated: 2023-09-20Bibliographically approved
Demirel, C. (2023). Re-conceptualising competitive victimhood in reconciliation processes: the case of Northern Ireland. Peacebuilding, 11(1), 45-61
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Re-conceptualising competitive victimhood in reconciliation processes: the case of Northern Ireland
2023 (English)In: Peacebuilding, ISSN 2164-7259, E-ISSN 2164-7267, Vol. 11, no 1, p. 45-61Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The literature on competitive victimhood (CV) tends be guided by a dichotomous interpretation based on a crude-binary distinction between CV and inclusive/common victimhood, with the former referring to conflict and the latter to reconciliation. For a fine-grained interpretation of CV, this paper aims to show that actors' use of victimhood narratives can be understood through a richer conceptualization of CV. Observing that actors tend to use victimhood narratives with varying intensity of competitiveness, I propose a CV typology to illustrate narrative variation in conflict-to-peace transition. The typology is developed in a two-staged process, firstly, by analytically distinguishing five categories of CV and, secondly, by putting these categories into practice in the case of Northern Ireland through an analysis of party manifestos and personal interviews with local actors conducted in Belfast in 2018. The empirical results show that the typology is helpful for capturing the transitions of competitiveness in intergroup reconciliation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2023
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-46512 (URN)10.1080/21647259.2021.1977016 (DOI)000698252900001 ()2-s2.0-85115314455 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-10-01 Created: 2021-10-01 Last updated: 2023-09-20Bibliographically approved
Demirel, C. (2022). The dilemma of memory laws: To restore the dignity of victims without feeding into ultra-nationalism. Baltic Worlds (1-2), 57-60
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The dilemma of memory laws: To restore the dignity of victims without feeding into ultra-nationalism
2022 (English)In: Baltic Worlds, ISSN 2000-2955, E-ISSN 2001-7308, no 1-2, p. 57-60Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Södertörns högskola, 2022
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-49523 (URN)2-s2.0-85137392143 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2022-07-07 Created: 2022-07-07 Last updated: 2022-09-26Bibliographically approved
Demirel, C. & Englund, M. (2021). Legislating Memory: From Memory Laws to Transitional Justice. Baltic Worlds, 13 June
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Legislating Memory: From Memory Laws to Transitional Justice
2021 (English)In: Baltic Worlds, ISSN 2000-2955, E-ISSN 2001-7308, Vol. 13 JuneArticle in journal (Other academic) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, 2021
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-48464 (URN)
Available from: 2022-02-23 Created: 2022-02-23 Last updated: 2023-11-17Bibliographically approved
Demirel, C. & Eriksson, J. (2020). Competitive victimhood and reconciliation: the case of Turkish–Armenian relations. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, 27(5), 537-556
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Competitive victimhood and reconciliation: the case of Turkish–Armenian relations
2020 (English)In: Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, ISSN 1070-289X, E-ISSN 1547-3384, Vol. 27, no 5, p. 537-556Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper argues that conflicts tend to be intractable if collective victimhood has become a component of national identity, and when conflicting communities claim to be the ‘real’ or ‘only’ victims, and that their suffering justifies crimes past and present. Turkish and Armenian narratives of competitive victimhood are analysed drawing on public opinion polls from Turkey and Armenia, and personal interviews with Turks and Armenians. The study corroborates past theory and research that competitive victimhood prevents reconciliation, particularly if it has become an essential part of national identity. The paper also shows that Turkish–Armenian relations remain at the bottom stage of the reconciliation ladder. Yet, some of our empirical observations suggest that when grass-roots level interaction between Turks and Armenians is facilitated (which has been prevented not least because of the closed border), there is room for the abandonment of competitive victimhood at least on an interpersonal level, if not on a general societal or political level. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2020
Keywords
Armenians, competitive victimhood, identity, peace, reconciliation, Turks
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-38159 (URN)10.1080/1070289X.2019.1611073 (DOI)000469670600001 ()2-s2.0-85065072443 (Scopus ID)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies
Available from: 2019-05-22 Created: 2019-05-22 Last updated: 2023-09-20Bibliographically approved
Demirel, C. (2019). International Relations In The Age Of Anxiety. Baltic Worlds, XII(3), 39-40
Open this publication in new window or tab >>International Relations In The Age Of Anxiety
2019 (English)In: Baltic Worlds, ISSN 2000-2955, E-ISSN 2001-7308, Vol. XII, no 3, p. 39-40Article in journal, Meeting abstract (Other academic) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Södertörns högskola, 2019
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-39850 (URN)
Available from: 2020-01-14 Created: 2020-01-14 Last updated: 2020-08-21Bibliographically approved
Demirel, C. Does power-sharing facilitate memory-sharing?: Bosnian Croat narratives in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Does power-sharing facilitate memory-sharing?: Bosnian Croat narratives in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina
(English)In: Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-52369 (URN)
Available from: 2023-09-21 Created: 2023-09-21 Last updated: 2023-09-21Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0001-7869-1831

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