Emotion, violence and memory in coping with civil wars. A cultural comparison (310)

How do people in war-torn societies (Cambodia and Timor Leste) overcome, communicate, and remember past experiences of violence and which emotions are articulated in these processes?

How do people in war-torn societies (Cambodia and Timor Leste) overcome, communicate, and remember past experiences of violence and which emotions are articulated in these processes?

It is assumed that the experience and memory of war-related violence – independent from its specific socio-political causes – evokes emotions such as grief, anger, pain, hate, fear, shame, guilt and also disgust within the actors involved. We are interested in the various cultural codifications of these emotional dimensions and how they are linguistically articulated and manifestly performed.

Central to this project is a comparative research on the social processes of articulation of "feeling rules" in relation to the violent pasts of Cambodia and Timor Leste. Which emotions are expressed and accentuated and which emotions are suppressed or repressed in different contexts of remembrance, e.g. in commemorations or in conceptualizing memorials? And how do religious values (e.g. Theravada-Buddhism in Cambodia or Catholicism in Timor Leste) and cultural models of emotions intersect with globally circulating discourses on trauma and reconciliation?

Our focus is primarily directed on the conflicting discourses on memory and emotions between the ruling power and the social groups excluded and "forgotten" by the hegemonic policies of remembrance. 

The discourses of emotion in post-conflict rehabilitation are to be studied in both societies using an ethnographic approach, on an institutional level as well as on a level of informal, local (and individual) memory practices. The overarching objective of the project resides in an empirically grounded contribution to the trans-disciplinary discussions on emotions and the communicative memory. 

Cooperation partner: Prof. Dr. Cilja Harders (Political Science)

Publications

Kumala-Sakti, V. (2011). Erinnerungsarbeit in Osttimor: Das Living Memory Project. Myrttinen, H., Schlicher, M., Tschanz, M. (Eds.). "Die Freiheit, für die wir kämpfen…" Osttimor in der Unabhängigkeit – Ein politisches Lesebuch. 54-57. Berlin: Regiospectra.

Kumala-Sakti, V. (2011). Trauern um das Unfassbare. Myrttinen, H., Schlicher , M., Tschanz, M. (Eds.). "Die Freiheit, für die wir kämpfen…" Osttimor in der Unabhängigkeit – Ein politisches Lesebuch. 48-51. Berlin: Regiospectra.

Kumala-Sakti, V. (2011). Der Weg zur Versöhnung: Die Geschichte eines »Sozialen Vermittlers« in Oecussi. Südostasien. Zeitschrift für Politik, Kultur, Dialog 3. 62-64.