Successful Doctoral Defence by Inger Skjelsbæk

Please note: This page refers to an event that has already taken place.

Time: Monday, 05 February 2007 00:00-00:00
Place: NTNU, Trondheim

Today, Inger Skjelsbæk successfully defended her doctoral dissertation "Voicing Silence: A political psychological analysis of the aftermath of the Bosnian war-rapes" at NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) in Trondheim. The dissertation is in psychology, and the work has been carried out at PRIO.

The seremony was led by Jan Morten Dyrstad, dean at NTNU. Opponents were:

  • Cynthia Enloe, Professor in International Development (IDCE) and Women’s Studies at Clark University, Massachusetts, USA
  • Kjersti Ericsson, Professor in criminology at the University of Oslo

The coordinator of the PhD committee has been Professor Birthe Loa Knizek , Professor in psychology at NTNU.

Supervisors for the thesis have been professors at NTNU Hjørdis Kaul and Berit Schei. Berit Schei is Professor in public health at NTNU, Hjørdis Kaul is professor in psychology at NTNU.

Abstract of the dissertation:
The major aim of this doctoral project has been to investigate how the Bosnian war rapes affect individual victims and their communities after the war has ended. In order to answer this question, researcher Inger Skjelsbæk at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) has traveled to Bosnia to do interviews with health workers, people who work in volunteer organizations, rape-victims and focus groups. What she has found through this work is that rape is indeed an effective weapon of war, but it may not have the consequences the perpetrators might have anticipated. The political significance of the rapes affected both how people talked about the rapes and how the individual war-rape sufferers perceived their experiences. For individual war-rape sufferers the harm and trauma inflicted is indisputable, but the ways in which these individuals live with their war-rape experiences varied. The major reason for this variation is that the war-rapes attracted enormous attention both within Bosnia and from the outside world. This attention brought a new thinking about women´s roles in society to Bosnia which made it possible for women to talk about rape in ways that had not been possible before the war. While it is true that the war-rape experiences have rendered many women silent and ostracized by their families, there is at the same time a great number of women who have support from their families, and who want to testify before international and national courts to see their perpetrators punished. Compared to what we know about rape in previous wars this is a significant change.

The following articles are published, and are part of the dissertation:

Skjelsbæk, Inger, 2006. 'Victim and Survivor: Narrated Social Identities of Women Who Experienced Rape During the War in Bosnia-Herzegovina ', Feminism and Psychology 16(4): 373–403.
Skjelsbæk, Inger, 2006. 'Therapeutic Work With Victims of Sexual Violence in War and Postwar: A Discourse Analysis of Bosnian Experiences', Peace & Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology 12(2): 93–118.
Skjelsbæk, Inger, 2001. 'Sexual Violence and War: Mapping out a Complex Relationship', European Journal of International Relations 7(2): 211–237.
In addition, the following articles are part of the dissertation, but still under revirew: 
Skjelsbæk, Inger (Under review with an academic journal)”The Changing Politics of Gender: A Social Constructionist Approach to Bosnia-Herzegovina”. 
Skjelsbæk, Inger (Under review with an academic journal) “Interpreting the Interpreter: Reflections on Transcribed Fieldwork Interviews with Interpreters”. 

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