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Constructing victimhood in divided Germany

Clarke, David 2018. Constructing victimhood in divided Germany. Memory Studies 11 (4) , pp. 422-436. 10.1177/1750698016688239

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Taking the Vereinigung der Opfer des Stalinismus (Association of the Victims of Stalinism) as a case study, this article argues that civil society organisations which claim to represent the interests of victims of historical injustice must seek to construct and propagate notions of the political and social relevance of victimhood. They must do so in such a way that victimhood both offers a coherent point of identification for individual victims and speaks to the concerns of the political system on which victims rely for compensation and recognition. By examining the discourse of officials of this organisation over time, it is possible to demonstrate the extent to which victims’ representatives must adapt their conception of victimhood in order to respond to changing circumstances. The article also points to the challenges these organisations face in remaining relevant in the new political contexts.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Modern Languages
Publisher: SAGE Publications (UK and US)
ISSN: 1750-6980
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 June 2019
Date of Acceptance: 13 January 2017
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2019 02:48

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