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Complex Political Victims

Erica Bouris
Complex Political Victims
ISBN: 978-1-56549-232-5
2007/222 pages/LC: 2006032244
A Kumarian Press Book
"Erica Bouris has written the type of book that rarely appears but is so badly needed—a fresh analysis of a concept we all assume we understand.... She has raised the bar for scholarship in a range of areas in this penetrating new book."—Anthony F Lang, Jr., University of St Andrews

"A thought-provoking book on the complexity of victim identity.... It should be read by anyone interested in truth recovery and postconflict reconstruction."—Marie Breen Smyth, Institute for Conflict Research

"From page 1, Erica Bouris's gripping account of the social construction of political victims is heart wrenching to read, yet impossible to put down.... Bouris's call for a less simplistic understanding of victimization has never been more timely."—Charli Carpenter, University of Pittsburgh

"A rich narrative that elegantly traces, compares, and contrasts 'ideal' and 'complex' victim discourses."—H-Net Reviews


Looking beyond the standard discourse about political victims, with its dichotomies of good and evil—and believing that more can be done to effectively recognize and respond to political victims—Erica Bouris interrogates the assumptions that are typically made about the identity of victims, the roles that these individuals play in conflict, and their needs in the postconflict period.


Erica Bouris is refugee resettlement department manager in the International Rescue Committee's San Diego office.


  • Political Victim Discourse: Adequate for the Twenty-First Century?
  • Peacebuilding and Victim Discourse.
  • Fleshing Out the Ideal Victim.
  • The Ideal Victim in the Political: The Holocaust, the Judenrat, and Hannah Arendt.
  • Theorizing a Complex Political Victim.
  • The Delicate Task of Considering Complex Political Victims: Bosnian Muslims.
  • Political Practices of the Complex Political Victim.
  • The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Confronting a Victimized People, Victimized Nation.
  • Epilogue: The Role of Complex Political Victim Discourse.