Dr Denisa Kostovicova, London School of Economics
Sustainable peace after conflict requires reconciliation of former adversaries. But, people in post-conflict societies often resist or even reject reconciliation both as a concept and practice. While reconciliation may be desirable, the question is: can people reconcile in the aftermath of mass atrocity, and how do we know they can?
In this Lecture, and drawing on her examination of the Balkans conflicts, Kostovicova will present a novel approach to evaluating the effects of transitional justice in post-conflict societies.
She will explore what happens when former adversaries discuss legacies of violence and the policy implications of her findings presented in her latest book Reconciliation by Stealth: How People Talk about War Crimes (Cornell University Press, 2023).
Reconciliation by Stealth advances a novel approach to evaluating the effects of transitional justice in post-conflict societies. Through her examination of the Balkan conflicts, Dr Denisa Kostovicova asks what happens when former adversaries discuss legacies of violence and atrocity, and whether it is possible to do so without further deepening animosities.
Reconciliation by Stealth shifts our attention from what people say about war crimes, to how they deliberate past wrongs.
This book is the first in the field of transitional justice and peacebuilding to measure the quality of discourse in inter-ethnic discussions about war crimes in a large textual corpus of real-life transitional justice consultations.
With its innovative research design, Kostovicova's transitional justice research connects with the latest advances in the scholarship on peacebuilding by adding measurement of discourse quality to the empirical study of everyday peace and its indicators.
Denisa Kostovicova discusses the findings and their implications for policy-making.
Dr Denisa Kostovicova is Associate Professor of Global Politics at the European Institute and Director of the South East Europe Research LSEE and Co-chair of the Conflict, Justice and Peace Platform at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
She is a scholar of conflict and peace processes with a particular interest in post-conflict reconstruction and transitional justice.
She is the author of Reconciliation by Stealth: How People Talk about War Crimes (2023) and Kosovo: The Politics of Identity and Space (Routledge, 2005). Dr Kostovicova co-edited 8 volumes, including Rethinking Reconciliation and Transitional Justice After Conflict (Routledge, 2018).
Her research has been funded by a number of prestigious grants, including those by the Leverhulme Trust, MacArthur Foundation and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), among others.
Her academic research has been published widely in world-leading scholarly journals, such as International Studies Quarterly, Security Dialogue and Review of International Studies.
Dr Kostovicova currently directs a major research programme funded by the European Research Council (ERC), titled ‘Justice Interactions and Peace-building (JUSTINT).’
She has authored a number of policy papers on issues concerning Western Balkans’ European integration, post-conflict recovery and regional security. Her academic research and policy contributions have informed policy making at the EU, UN, and in the UK.