Political Commemoration: The Inclusion Dynamics of ‘Partisan Commemoration’


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Policy points:

• Politically partisan commemoration is a prolific activity in many societies with a history of ethno- national conflict, used and valued by political actors

• Politically partisan commemoration appears divisive, but can paradoxically underpin peace by cohering communities ambivalent about the direction of travel during the dislocations of transition or ‘unsetttlement’

• Partisan memory can help key groups adapt their ethno-national narratives so that they are congruent with a more peaceful environment

• Partisan memory provides useful intelligence for the evaluative peacebuilder, by giving insight into narratives of transition within constituencies, useful to understanding how their commitment and inclusion needs to be navigated

• Partisan memory may still present risks to peace in undermining trust and keeping conflict ‘going’ at least symbolically.  However, it can be counter balanced with more inclusive and critical forms of commemoration

• Inclusive commemoration can begin first by addressing more historically distant periods of conflict

• Inclusive commemoration needs to be facilitated at multiple ground-level points

• Inclusive commemoration needs strong contextualisation applied to understandings of the past A vibrant space for critical history needs to be provided

• Inclusive commemorations should spotlight different forms of identification obscured by ethno- national identity but also present

Keywords: conflict, peace processes

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