Conflict Transformation and Reconciliation

Multi-level Challenges in Deeply Divided Societies

Sarah Maddison,

Conflict Transformation and Reconciliation: Multi-level Challenges in Deeply Divided Societies
 
 

This book examines approaches to reconciliation and peacebuilding in settler colonial, post-conflict, and divided societies.

In contrast to current literature, this book provides a broader assessment of reconciliation and conflict transformation by applying a distinctive ‘multi-level’ approach. The analysis provides a unique intervention in the field, one that significantly complicates received notions of reconciliation and transitional justice, and considers conflict transformation across the constitutional, institutional, and relational levels of society. Drawing on extensive fieldwork in South Africa, Northern Ireland, Australia, and Guatemala, the work presents an interdisciplinary study of the complex political challenges facing societies attempting to transition either from violence and authoritarianism to peace and democracy, or from colonialism to post-colonialism. Informed by theories of agonistic democracy, the book conceives of reconciliation as a process that is deeply political, and that prioritises the capacity to retain and develop democratic political contest in societies that have, in other ways, been able to resolve their conflicts. The cases considered suggest that reconciliation is most likely an open-ended process rather than a goal — a process that requires divided societies to pay ongoing attention to reconciliatory efforts at all levels, long after the eyes of the world have moved on from countries where the work of reconciliation is thought to be finished.

This book will be of great interest to students of reconciliation, conflict transformation, peacebuilding, transitional justice and IR in general.



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