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"Perceptions of Social Justice and Belief in a Just World in Post-War Societies in the Balkans and Their Relation to Individual Empowerment and Community Reconstruction"
In the aftermath of the violent conflicts that have taken place in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the inhabitants of these areas are not only burdened by the evil past and the trauma they have suffered, but are also now victims of hindered economic growth and frequent poverty. Many studies carried out in the region have found that while many of the affected areas have been physically rebuilt to a great extent, deep wounds have been left in the communities. Many of these wounds seem to be connected with the overwhelming sense of prevailing injustice and lack of interest from the institutions that should be helping them reclaim their previous lives and human rights.
In order to do a wide, interdisciplinary research into the very nature of the notion of justice and justness as they are perceived by victims of war-related and post-war trauma and their implications for individual and collective recovery and empowerment, they should be treated as a much broader construct than just availability and outcomes of criminal prosecution or reparations, and include also the role beliefs and perceptions of justice and justness play in individual and collective healing processes, as well as the question how post-war economic and political conditions influence individual understanding of justice and justness.
The goal of this project is to explore multiple dimensions of perceived justice and justness after trauma and produce a comprehensive publication on the connection between these dimensions and community restoration and reconciliation, seeking to answer the question of what exactly justice and justness are for individual victims of large scale human rights violations, how they perceive them and what role they assign to them in their personal process of recovery and how they ultimately contribute to peace and reconciliation.
Lucija Zigrovic was born in 1984 in Zabok, Croatia. She studied Psychology, Comparative Literature and French Language and Literature at the University of Zagreb. Her thesis in Psychology was dedicated to the study of quality of life of different categories of war affected populations in Croatia. After two years of working internationally in the fields of local development and public health, she is now working on a project dedicated to assessing the associations of post-conflict recovery and vulnerable group empowerment with the perceptions of social justice and post-traumatic cognitive dimensions of belief in a just world in the ex- Yugoslavia region.
She also works as a literary translator, translating literary works from English, French and Russian into Croatian.
University of Vienna