Discourses of victimisation in Sri Lanka’s civil war: collective memory, legitimacy and agency

Seoighe, Rachel (2016) Discourses of victimisation in Sri Lanka’s civil war: collective memory, legitimacy and agency. Social and Legal Studies, 25 (3) . pp. 355-380. ISSN 0964-6639 [Article] (doi:10.1177/0964663915614097)

Abstract

This article explores the availability of discourses of victimhood to political actors who aim to justify violence and mass atrocity in the name of those victims. Arguing that the label of the ‘victim’ is equally available for distortion and political capitalization as the label of the ‘criminal’ or the ‘terrorist’, this article reflects on the role of the victim in violence and processes of criminalization. Examining the rhetorical tendencies and strategies of both the state and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the Sri Lankan civil war, this article describes how the victim was categorized by both sides. This article argues that these categorizations, which simultaneously draw on respective collective memories of victimization are crucial to the manner in which the state’s purported process of post-war ‘reconciliation’ is created and politicized and how victims are included in such a process. Interrogating the post-war landscape of militarization and repression in the country’s Tamil-dominated Northeast, this article also examines new configurations of Tamil victim discourses and their potential as a tool of political agency.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
Item ID: 19338
Depositing User: Rachel Seoighe
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2016 10:13
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2020 08:13
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/19338

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