Through the memories and stories of women survivors of the Kosovo War I invite the reader to explore the difficulty of facing reality. Their stories tell of violence and uncertainty, but also of bravery, creativity and humour in the face of extreme hardship. They raise questions about what we can learn about the troubled and violent past when we, as listeners or readers, allow ourselves to be exposed to others’ painful memories and stories. What does it take to imagine their pain and sense its shadow within us?
Women who lost their husbands during the Kosovo War were perceived to be hovering in a liminal space. They could neither be treated as married women nor as ordinary widows. At the end of the war, there was no real holding place for them as their roles were in flux as communities tried to make sense of their presence. Their identities were perceived to need reframing through language and discourses to become graspable for others. Emerging identity frames portrayed war widows as ‘marginal and needy’, ‘unruly’ and ‘iconic’. As I will show in the following, it was through such framing processes that […]