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Reconciliation as Process or Catalyst: Understanding the Concept in a Post-conflict Society

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

AbstractWhile the work of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission has brought various new issues in the study of post-conflict society and transitional justice, a problematic issue that remains is how we should understand the ideal of reconciliation. This paper first critically traces previous theoretical works on reconciliation policy in South Africa, particularly paying attention to the arguments in political philosophy that have been deployed to incorporate the post-TRC condition into a theoretical frame. This examination is followed by a discussion invoking René Girard’s notion of desire to capture the dilemma of people in a post-conflict society. Finally, the uniqueness and importance of the reconciliation project is inferred to have the possible function of affecting the collective relationships among former enemies.

Affiliations: 1: Otani University Koyama-Kamifusa-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto, 606-8143 Japan, Email:


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