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The right to commemoration and “ideal victims”: the puzzle of victim dissatisfaction with State-led commemoration after 9/11 and 3/11

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journal contribution
posted on 04.07.2018 by Cristina Flesher Fominaya, Rosemary Barberet
This article explores the puzzle of victim dissatisfaction with State-led commemoration following 9/11 and 3/11 by offering a cross-national case study through which to view key areas of theoretical debate in the sociology of human rights, cultural trauma and collective memory, and the politics of victimhood. Although State-led commemorative processes are often highly contested, we would expect them to be less so in the cases of 9/11 and 3/11, given broad social consensus about the victims’ right to commemoration and the traumatic nature of the events, and especially the “ideal nature” of the victims who as symbolic representatives of the State are conferred with great moral authority. Drawing on primary and secondary data on the commemoration of the attacks of 11th September 2001 and 11th March 2004 we find that despite sharp differences between commemorative processes, three common key areas of contestation and dissatisfaction for victims emerge: political instrumentalisation, hierarchies of worth and exclusion. We show how the status of ideal victimhood for victims of transnational terrorism carries within it an inherent paradox which provides the key to their dissatisfaction, namely the moral authority conferred on them as representatives of the State simultaneously depersonalises them, excluding them as individuals with rights and needs.

Funding

The support for this project was provided by British Academy Grant SG100556 and by PSC-CUNY Award PSCREG-40-718 funded by The Professional Staff Congress and The City University of New York.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Politics and International Studies

Published in

Critical Studies on Terrorism

Volume

11

Issue

2

Pages

219-242

Citation

FLESHER FOMINAYA, C. and BARBERET, R., 2018. The right to commemoration and “ideal victims”: the puzzle of victim dissatisfaction with State-led commemoration after 9/11 and 3/11. Critical Studies on Terrorism, 11 (2), pp.219-242.

Publisher

© Taylor & Francis

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Critical Studies on Terrorism on 08 Feb 2018, available online: https://doi.org/10.1080/17539153.2018.1433952

Acceptance date

25/01/2018

Publication date

2018-02-08

ISSN

1753-9153

eISSN

1753-9161

Language

en

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