The 'Transformative' in Reparations: Women, Nation and Victimhood in Croatia

Citation:

Saric, Josipa. 2018. "The 'Transformative' in Reparations: Women, Nation and Victimhood in Croatia." PhD diss., University of Kent.

Author: Josipa Saric

Abstract:

This thesis interrogates the assumption that women's inclusion in the design of reparations increases their potential to transform structural gender inequality. In recent years, the call for increasing 'women's participation' in the design and implementation of reparations for victims of conflict-related sexual violence has gained substantial traction in both scholarship and policy. While existing research has focused on the structural obstacles that place limitations on women's participation in reparation processes, little has been said about how women's participation may limit the transformative potential of reparations. Drawing on a wide range of qualitative data, ranging from interviews to social media content, this case study takes a socio-legal approach to examine the role of a Croatian right-wing, non-feminist women's group in the process of drafting and adopting a reparation law for victims of conflict-related sexual violence and considers how this group's involvement has impacted the reparation law's potential to transform structural gender inequality in Croatia. The thesis shows that the women's group acquired influence that directed the course of the legislative process and the outcome of the law due to its particular discourse, strategic actions, calculated compromises and the socio-political context at the time. Furthermore, the thesis argues that the women's group's influence facilitated the reparation law's alignment to a particular nationalist discourse which, due to the inextricable link between gender and nationalism, places limitations on the law's potential to transform structural gender inequality in Croatia. Finally, it presents three important points to consider when conducting an evaluation of the law's implementation and embarking on the design of future transformative reparation initiatives in nationalist contexts. First, that the inclusion of women and victims may not necessarily lead to developing reparations that aim to transform structural gender inequality. Second, that a reparation law exclusively aimed at victims of conflict-related sexual violence designed in a context saturated with nationalism may reinforce gender inequality. And third, that the involvement of international bodies in the design and implementation of reparations in nationalist contexts may be used by local grassroots movements to put pressure on the state in unforeseen ways that do not challenge structural gender inequality.

Topics: Conflict, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Justice, Reparations, Nationalism, Political Participation, Sexual Violence Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Croatia

Year: 2018

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