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Forgetting and Remembering: Diaspora, Homeland Politics, and Justice

Contentious Politics
Ethnic Conflict
Migration
Social Movements
Transitional States
Dzeneta Karabegovic
University of Warwick
Dzeneta Karabegovic
University of Warwick

Abstract

Diaspora have previously proven effective partners in transitional justice processes and have thus demonstrated potential for change in their homelands with the resources they have learned or imported from their host countries (Young and Park 2009; Duthie 2011; Simic 2013). Having diaspora collaboration, both in terms of increasing participants as well as involving a more long-term vision for a post-conflict country can prove to ultimately be a successful endeavor (Young and Park 2009). Transnational diaspora memorialization initiatives can become embedded and sustain within different contexts (Koinova and Karabegovic, 2016). At the same time, the continued struggle and potential competition between diaspora and returnee actors and dominant state narratives can hinder and potentially even slow down transitional justice processes. This paper inquires into whether and how homelands can move towards justice amidst contesting memorialization initiatives, particularly when these place diaspora and homeland politics in opposition. This paper traces two different initiatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized between local and diaspora actors in the homeland that contest dominant state-led narratives. The paper argues for the need to reevaluate and embrace transitional justice mechanisms on the local level and to incorporate diaspora as participants around issues of memory in post-conflict settings in more systematic ways.