Memory, Trust and Fear in Post-Conflict Societies

in Southeastern Europe
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


The paper deals with the importance of common knowledge based on shared memory for the character of social cooperation. The findings are based on the background of Serbian experience with dealing with the past. The stabilization of a common stock of knowledge is valuable for establishing sustainable patterns of cooperation. The nexus between shared knowledge and different modalities of action is elaborated. Fearful and trustful actions are taken as basic modalities. Both are concerned with uncertainty over time and coping with the freedom of others as independent agents, but they evoke different expectations concerning the prospects of possible cooperation. The common assumptions of mutual expectations are crucial for the choice of cooperative strategy. Trustful cooperation is based on relying on others, while fearful action is based on an apprehension of threat. A “history of play” informs parties on mutual expectations. The irreducibility of shared memories shows that institutional incentives and signals are not able to stabilize shared knowledge on mutual expectations. The paper suggests that different conceptualizations are linked to different modalities of action and that rebuilding damaged relations requires shared reconstruction of a history of mutual relations. The thesis relies on a substantive argument about the particularity of common knowledge and a general argument based on the formal structure of social cooperation.

Memory, Trust and Fear in Post-Conflict Societies

in Southeastern Europe



ArendtH. 1968. “On Humanity in Dark Times” in ArendtH. Men in Dark Times (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company).

BarkanE. 2007. Krivica nacija: restitucija i ispravljanje istorijskih nepravdi (trans. Lidija Kapičić) (Stylos: Beograd).

BenjaminW. 1969. “Theses on the Philosophy of HistoryIlluminations

(trans. Harry Zolin) (New York: Schocken Books).

BellD. 2008. “Agonistic Democracy and Politics of MemoryConstellations 15(1).

BjelićDušan I. and SavićO. 2002. Balkan as Metaphor (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press).

BlusteinJ. 2008. The Moral Demand of Memory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

BoothJ. W. 2006. Communities of Memory: On Witness Identity and Justice (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press).

BrkljačićM. and PrlendraS. (prir.). 2006. Kultura pamćenja i historija (Zagreb: Golden marketing – Tehnička knjiga).

DanzigerK. 2008. A History of Memory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

DimitrijevićN. 2011. Duty to Respond: Mass Crime Denial and Collective Responsibility (Budapest: CEU Press).

DunnJ. 1988. “Trust and Political Agency” in GambrettaD. (ed.) Making and breaking

cooperative relations (New York: Basil Blackwell): 73-93.

ElsterJ. 1983. Sour Grapes: Studies in the Subversion of Rationality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

GambettaD. (ed.). 1988. Trust: Making and Breaking Cooperative Relations (New York and Oxford: Basil Blackwell).

——. 1993. The Sicilian Mafia: The Business of Private Protection (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).

HardinR. 2002. Trust and Trustworthiness (New York: Russell Sage Foundation).

HegelG. W. F. 2001. The Philosophy of History (translator J. Sibree) (Ontario: M.A. Batoche Books Kitchener).

IgnatieffM. 1988. The Warrior’s Honor (New York: HenryHolt and Company Inc).

KandelE. R. 2007. In Search of Memory (New York/London: W.W. Norton & Company).

KeaneJ. 1988. “More theses on the philosophy of history” in TullyJames (ed.) Meaning and Context: Quentin Skinner and his Critics(Cambridge: Polity Press).

KosellekR. 2004. Futures past: on the semantics of historical time (translated and with an introduction by Keith Tribe) (New York: Columbia University Press).

KoulouriC. (ed.). 2005. Teaching Modern Southeast European History (Thessaloniki, Greece: CDRSEE).

KuljićT. 2006. Kultura Sećanja (Beograd: Čigoja štampa).

LuhmannN. 1988Familiarity, Confidence, Trust: Problems and Alternatives” in GambrettaD. (ed.) Making and breaking cooperative relations (New York: Basil Blackwell): 94105.

MaierC. S. 1993. “A Surfeit of Memory? Reflections on History, Melancholy and DenialHistory & Memory 5(2): 13652.

MargalitA. 2002. The Ethics of Memory (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press).

MarkellP. 2006Recognition and Redistribution” in DryzekJ. S.HonigB. and PhillipsA. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Political Theory (OxfordOxford University Press: 2008).

MinowM. 1998. Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History after Genocide and Mass Violence (Boston: Beacon Press).

MüllerJ.-W. 2004. “Introduction: the power of memory, the memory of power and the power over memory” in MüllerJ.-W. (ed) Memory and Power in Post-War Europe(Cambridge University Press).

NortonA. 1993. “Ruling MemoryPolitical Theory 21(3).

PetrovićV. 2010. “Institucionalizacija procesuiranja ratnih zločina u postpetooktobarskoj Srbiji” in PavlovićD. (ed). Razvoj demokratskih ustanova u Srbiji – deset godina posle (Beograd: Heinrich Bȍhl Stiftung).

RadstoneS. and HodgkinK. (eds). 2003. Regimes of memory (RoutledgeLondon).

RawlsJ. 1971/1999. Theory of Justice (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).

——. 1996. Political Liberalism (New York: Columbia University Press).

RicoeurP. 2002. Memory History and Forgetting (Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press).

RobinC. 2004. Fear: A History of a Political Idea (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

RothsteinB. 2005. Social Traps and the Problem of Trust (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

RushdieS. 1998. Midnight Children (London: Vintage Books).

SenA. 2002. Rationality and Freedom (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press).

——. 2009. The Idea of Justice (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).

SmithN. 2008. I Was Wrong: The Meanings of Apologies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

SnyderT. 2004. “Memory of sovereignty and sovereignty over memory: Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine, 1939–1999” in MüllerJ.-W. (ed) Memory and Power in Post-War Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

SmithB. J. 1985. Politics and Remembrance (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press).

TillyC. 2005. Trust and Rule (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

UgrešićD. 1998. The Culture of Lies: Antipolitical Essays (London: Phoenix House).

WeinstockD. 1999. “Building Trust in Divided SocietiesJournal of Political Philosophy 7(13): 287308.

WilliamsB. 1998. “Formal Structures and Social Reality” in GambrettaD. (ed.) Making and breaking cooperative relations (New York: Basil Blackwell): 313.

WilliamsB. 2002. Truth and Truthfulness (Princenton: Princeton University Press).

WilliamsM. 1998. Voice Trust and Memory (Princenton NJ.: Princeton University Press)


Melissa Williams (1998) has argued that historical discrimination continues to exist in collective memory and that its working is corruptive of social and political ties. The bonds of trust between majorities and historically discriminated minorities can be repaired by ensuring group representation in institutions thus ensuring that they have a robust stake in the decision-making process.

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 11 11 4
Full Text Views 4 4 4
PDF Downloads 3 3 3
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0