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Seeking justice in a divided region: text analysis of regional civil society deliberations in the Balkans

Kostovicova, Denisa ORCID: 0000-0002-6243-4379 (2017) Seeking justice in a divided region: text analysis of regional civil society deliberations in the Balkans. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 11 (1). 154 - 175. ISSN 1752-7716

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Identification Number: 10.1093/ijtj/ijw023


Contemporary conflicts are seldom contained within nation states. The cross-border nature of violence has prompted scholars to call for a regional approach to transitional justice (TJ). This article furthers our understanding of the regional dimension of postconflict justice by addressing the puzzle of whether discourse in regional-level debates is different from that in national- or local-level debates. It applies a communicative deliberation perspective by focusing on the patterns of talk during civil society deliberations on postconflict justice. Empirical evidence is based on the unique regional civil-society-led process in the Balkans that aims to establish a regional fact-finding commission, known by its acronym RECOM. Critiquing state-centred approaches to the study of TJ, this study conducts mixed-method research and applies text analytic techniques appropriate for the investigation of a large volume of regional-level data. Quantitative text analysis is carried out by applying a dictionary method to over half-a-million words of RECOM’s textual data. Findings suggest that regional-level debates have a higher level of restorative justice discourse than nonregional debates. Qualitative analysis of discursive frames explores this finding further, and shows that deliberators’ endorsement of the regional approach to TJ rests on a set of historical, present and future considerations, underpinned by a sense of regional consciousness.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 Oxford University Press
Divisions: Government
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2016 13:03
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 03:03

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