RECOM Reconciliation Network

Reconciliation by Stealth - CEU event


Reconciliation by Stealth

Debate, denica kostovicova, erin k. jenne, mary h. kaldor, milovan pisarri
Thursday, November 2, 2023, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Reconciliation by Stealth advances a novel approach to evaluating the effects of transitional justice in post-conflict societies. Through her examination of the Balkan conflicts, Denisa Kostovicova asks what happens when former adversaries discuss legacies of violence and atrocity, and whether it is possible to do so without further deepening animosities. Reconciliation by Stealth shifts our attention from what people say about war crimes, to how they deliberate past wrongs.

Bringing together theories of democratic deliberation and peace-building, Kostovicova demonstrates how people from opposing ethnic groups reconcile through reasoned, respectful, and empathetic deliberation of a difficult legacy. She finds that expression of ethnic difference plays a role in good-quality deliberation across ethnic lines, while revealed intraethnic divisions help deliberators expand moral horizons previously narrowed by conflict. In the process, people forge bonds of solidarity and offset divisive identity politics that bears upon their deliberations.

Reconciliation by Stealth shows us the importance of theoretical and methodological innovation in capturing how transitional justice can promote reconciliation, and points to the untapped potential of deliberative problem-solving to repair relationships fractured by conflict.



Denisa Kostovicova is Associate Professor of Global Politics at European Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is a scholar of conflict and peace processes with a particular interest in post-conflict reconstruction and transitional justice. She is the author of Kosovo: The Politics of Identity and Space (2005) and Reconciliation by Stealth: How People Talk about War Crimes (2023). She co-edited a number of volumes, including Rethinking Reconciliation and Transitional Justice After Conflict (2018), Bottom-up Politics: An Agency-Centred Approach to Globalisation (2011), and Civil Society and Transitions in the Western Balkans (2013). Kostovicova’s research has been supported by the MacArthur Foundation, Volkswagen Foundation, the EU’s 7th Framework Programme, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Leverhulme Trust and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, among others. She currently directs a major research programme funded by the European Research Council, titled ‘Justice Interactions and Peace-building (JUSTINT).’ Kostovicova’s research has informed policy making at the EU, UN, and in the UK.



Erin K. Jenne, Professor, Department of International Relations, CEU
Mary H. Kaldor, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Department of International Relations, CEU
Milovan Pisarri, Research Fellow at the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade




This website was created and maintained with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the RECOM Reconciliation Network and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.