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Title: Personal pain and public problems : victims and political transition in Zimbabwe and Northern Ireland
Author: Templer , Sara Michelle
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis examines the relationship between victims of political violence and state-driven responses to their needs in contexts of political and social transition, in the interest of motivating better policy practice in this area. The research draws on fieldwork conducted in case studies that demonstrate the impact of victims' policy in both its application and its absence. It examines the development and implementation of policy for victims in Northern Ireland (1998-2012), and explores the circumstances of a dearth of such activity in Zimbabwe (1980-2012). In doing so, it engages directly with the claim that 'there is no blueprint for victims' policy' and proposes a theoretically grounded approach to understanding some of the opportunities and pitfalls involved in developing top-down responses to victims in the fragile context of transition. The central argument is that pol icy for victims is a double-edged sword, both responsive to and constitutive of the challenges that they face . Such policy can have positive consequences; however, it also constructs conceptual frameworks that can reify debates, generate new social conflicts, and create an • artificial distinction between victims and the rest of society. The research concludes that while governments cannot heal victim s, and while their recuperation is not exclusively dependent on top-down intervention, by developing a robust strategy for engaging with political victims, governments can make important contributions to creating an environment conducive to some recovery. The thesis argues that two factors are important for a sense of progress in this regard: first, managing expectations; and second, accepting that, as part of the process of resolving the intractable problems associated with political victim hood, new sites of struggle will inevitably emerge. The research contends that these challenges require a reflective approach on the part of political leaders who, time and again, must commit fresh energy and innovation to the peacebuilding process.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available