Laney Lenox, (PhD Researcher)


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PhD Researcher Profile

Thesis title: Transforming the future through participation with the pastarchives, prisons and peace  

Thesis abstract:

This project sets out to answer the question: How do time and peace interact and how does this relate to societal participation in spaces of political transformation? To answer this question, the researcher will engage in qualitative fieldwork analyzing the memorialization and archival practices surrounding former prison sites in Berlin through life-storytelling interviews with former political prisoners. ‘Dealing with the past’ has emerged as a common aspect of peace processes. This suggests a societal assumption that contending with violent and contentious histories is a vital aspect of transitioning societies out of conflict. However, this perspective does not contend with the constructed nature of time itself and the implication therein. Thus, this space ought to be thought of as ‘transformative’ rather than ‘transitional’. This analysis contributes to the notion that transitional justice and truth and reconciliation mechanisms serve as ongoing spaces rather than be bound by fixed timelines and deliverables.  Looking at how political structures practice incarceration can help shed light on this discord. By drawing on theory that understands incarceration as restricting the rights of citizenship, this project aims to reach better understanding surrounding the importance of democratizing mechanisms for ‘dealing with the past’ in spaces of political transformation. 


Laney Lenox is a PhD researcher at the School of Applied Policy and Social Science, Ulster University. Her research focuses on the interaction of perceptions of time with participatory mechanisms for dealing with the past in societies affected by conflict. Specifically, her work examines archives documenting experience of prisons in peace process spaces and societies in political transformation. She holds a BA in Peace Studies, minor in Creative Writing, from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi and an MA in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice from Queen's University Belfast. Between completion of her bachelor's degree and commencement of her master's, she worked as a freelance writer and substitute teacher. Her work experience also include conducting community engagemen projects with the Institute for Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, Mississippi, working as a research assistant and consultant for the Prisons Memory Archive, and serving as an intern at the prisoner support group Tar Isteach.

Research Interests

Since her undergraduate degree, Lenox's research intersts center around how to create more inclusive peacebuilding mechanisms and democratic processes. This has included extensive work in storytelling theory and the use of ethnographic qualitative methods for data gathering. Currently, her work is situated in the field of critical theory drawing primarily from trends in contemporary anthropology and the emerging methodology of collaborative ethnography.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Anthropology
  • Critical theory
  • Collaborative ethnography
  • JC Political theory
  • Radical democratic theory
  • Participatory democracy
  • Agonism
  • B Philosophy (General)
  • De-constructed time theory


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