August 3, 2016

Recovering from Violence outside of Civil Society

Does a country need a strong civil society in order to commemorate, study, question, repair, atone or otherwise recover from mass violence? Are there other communication typologies besides press, museums and formal education institutions that can or have contributed to recovery from trauma on a social scale? What informal, interstitial, parodic/satirical, folk or other techniques can or have people applied in places that lack what we think of in the "West" as "civil society"?

I recently attended a conference at the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews (in Warsaw) and the International Network of Genocide Scholars (in Jerusalem). This was one of the questions I was left with. I wish I had asked it at the time, so I pose it here in this little corner of the Internet.

I got the sense that the assumption among researchers was that a community cannot start working on these problems without a stable liberal democratic government in place. Maybe it's the legacy of Maslow, or just common sense, but I think it's an assumption worth challenging. It may be a productive line of inquiry.

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