Reconciliation and quality peace

Alexander Dukalskis, Laura K. Taylor, John Darby

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In understanding reconciliation in post-conflict societies, the central question is how relationships can be changed in the aftermath of violence not only to forestall a return to outright physical force, but also to contribute to a quality peace. The view that peace agreements are the products of negotiations between political leaders is an accurate but incomplete view because negotiations are related to long-term processes of reconciliation or acrimony that themselves underlie relations between conflicting groups. This chapter points to the various roles that reconciliation can play in the aftermath of political violence. This chapter identifies three levels—international, state-citizen, intergroup—which could serve as a useful heuristic to compare dynamic reconciliation processes in particular social contexts. Using examples from Ireland and South Africa, the authors highlight key priorities at each level of analyses that should be considered by peace negotiators, policymakers, and civil society actors concerned with creating lasting peace. In tackling the dilemmas of reconciliation, the authors address four levels where quality peace and reconciliation have an impact. First, there are ethical and practical reasons to emphasize democratic participation in attempts to reconcile societies after periods of violence or repression. Second, a relational approach calls for attention not only to material concerns, but also to symbolic ones. Third, considering reconciliation from a psychosocial perspective highlights important intergroup dynamics that may undermine or enhance reconciliation efforts. Finally, reconciliation calls attention to the inter-generational dynamics of violent conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding quality peace: peacebuilding after civil war
EditorsMadhav Joshi, Peter Wallensteen
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781315142470
ISBN (Print)9781138307674, 9781138307681
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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