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Innocence and Victimhood: Gender, Nation, and Women's Activism in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina - Critical Human Rights (Paperback)
  • Innocence and Victimhood: Gender, Nation, and Women's Activism in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina - Critical Human Rights (Paperback)
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Innocence and Victimhood: Gender, Nation, and Women's Activism in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina - Critical Human Rights (Paperback)

(author)
£25.95
Paperback 320 Pages / Published: 30/11/2013
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The 1992-95 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina following the dissolution of socialist Yugoslavia became notorious for "ethnic cleansing" and mass rapes targeting the Bosniac (Bosnian Muslim) population. Postwar social and political processes have continued to be dominated by competing nationalisms representing Bosniacs, Serbs, and Croats, as well as those supporting a multiethnic Bosnian state, in which narratives of victimhood take centre stage, often in gendered form. Elissa Helms shows that in the aftermath of the war, initiatives by and for Bosnian women perpetuated and complicated dominant images of women as victims and peacemakers in a conflict and political system led by men. In a sober corrective to such accounts, she offers a critical look at the politics of women's activism and gendered nationalism in a postwar and postsocialist society.

Drawing on ethnographic research spanning fifteen years, Innocence and Victimhood demonstrates how women's activists and NGOs responded to, challenged, and often reinforced essentialist images in affirmative ways, utilising the moral purity associated with the position of victimhood to bolster social claims, shape political visions, pursue foreign funding, and wage campaigns for postwar justice. Deeply sensitive to the suffering at the heart of Bosnian women's (and men's) wartime experiences, this book also reveals the limitations to strategies that emphasise innocence and victimhood.

Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
ISBN: 9780299295547
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 476 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Nuanced, comprehensive, analytical, theoretical, challenging, and carefully constructed this book takes on nationalism, feminism, gender, ethnicity, and faith as the author addresses the history of the recent Bosnia-Herzegovina war and its varied impacts on a range of social actors. H-Nationalism "
Important and controversial material. . . . According to Helms, the discourse of ethnic rapes can often mask profoundly patriarchal ideologies and notions of irreconcilable ethno-national differences. Slavic Review"
The greatest merit of Helms book is her unravelling of ambiguities, of rigid connectivities, and [of] how multiple women s groups were trying to come to terms with human rights, entitlement claims, and also with frictions between each other and among staff. . . . An impressive example of excellent action research. European Journal of Women s Studies"
This book is a wonderful corrective, one that gives an in-depth look at the complexities of Bosnian society through the lens of women activists. International Studies Review"

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