Menu
Home
Log in / Register
 
Home arrow Sociology arrow Cosmopolitan peace
Source

Reconciliation

INTRODUCTION

As we have seen throughout chs. 5 to 7, epistemic uncertainty about who committed which wrong against whom, scarcity of resources, and the sheer number of perpetrators and victims makes it very hard, and indeed undesirable, to try and implement a just peace simpliciter. More precisely, wholesale punishment is not feasible, which makes it impossible for war-torn communities to rebuild themselves and weakens belligerents’ ability and willingness to live together peacefully after the war. For obvious reasons, those worries are particularly acute following civil wars, but they also arise in the aftermath of interstate conflicts. Scarcity of resources compounds the issue, for the reparative and reconstruction demands of war victims compete with the claims of those whose desperate needs do not originate in war, or at any rate not in this war, and are not always overriding.

Hence the need to compromise in favour of a justifiedATC peace, which one may legitimately seek to implement and enforce through a transitional foreign administration if need be, and a fortiori through less invasive governance structures. Those structures are unlikely to suffice, however. For the fact that so many wrongs unavoidably go unaddressed and so many needs unnecessarily go unmet is likely to deepen the feelings of anger and hatred which the war itself aroused on all sides; this in turn is likely to undermine (imperfect) restitutive, reparative, and punitive processes, and to lead to war again.

The answer to this volatile cocktail, I argue here, partly lies in reconciliation, to wit, bringing together enemies in a joint endeavour to work towards peace on a footing of moral and political equality, and through properly designed processes and practices. In s.9.2, I locate reconciliation in the overall project of cosmopolitan justice after war and argue that reconciliation, for all that it is a political process, often requires that its participants undergo attitudinal changes vis-a-vis their enemies. Those changes are both cognitive and affective and need accounting by any plausible normative theory of reconciliation. In s.9.3, I scrutinize two cogni- tive-cum-affective attitudes which are often thought to be key to, indeed necessary for, reconciliation—forgiveness on the one hand, and trust on the other hand. I argue that forgiveness is not key to political reconciliation, while trust is. In the aftermath of bitter conflicts, however, trust emerges and develops only if appropriate institutional settings are in place. In ss.9.4 and 9.5, I turn to two institutional mechanisms which invite perpetrators and victims to testify to what they did and suffered during the war, namely nonjudicial fora such as the gacaca hearings in

Rwanda, and truth and reconciliation commissions along the South African model. In s.9.6, I examine the practice of apologies for past wrongdoings. In those three sections, I show that those various mechanisms and practices can facilitate the emergence of political trust after war and thereby buttress reconciliation; they also help remedy some of the moral gaps left by the impossibility of meeting all restitutive, reparative, and punitive demands.

Some caveats before I begin. First, the chapter is not meant to be exhaustive: it may well be that practices which are left out of my inquiry are also conducive to reconciliation. I hope, however, that the broad justification given here for the practices I explicitly defend also apply mutatis mutandis to those I set aside. Second, I use the word ‘reconciliation’ more narrowly than the literature does. There it refers to all the processes, practices, and institutions which are required for peace after war—including, for example, restitution, reparations, reconstruction, and punishment. However, my concern here is with what may or ought to be done in the aftermath of a conflict given that so many wrongdoings will remain unaccounted for, that victims are likely to be deeply and understandably aggrieved as a result, and that feelings of hatred, anger, and resentment are likely to undermine prospects for peace. Reconciliation, in this chapter, thus refers to the attitudes which are supportive of, or indeed necessary for, those other tasks, and to institutional processes which elicit and instantiate those attitudes.[1]

  • [1] For recent book-length normative treatments of post-conflict reconciliation, see, e.g., Philpott,Just and Unjust Peace; C. Murphy, A Moral Theory of Political Reconciliation (Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press, 2010). For an excellent analysis of political reconciliation as both institutional andattitudinal, see D. Moellendorf, ‘Reconciliation as a Political Value’, Journal of Social Philosophy 38(2007): 205—21. For a historical account of transitional justice, see J. Elster, Closing the Books:Transitional Justice in Historical Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).
 
Source
Found a mistake? Please highlight the word and press Shift + Enter  
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >
 
Subjects
Accounting
Business & Finance
Communication
Computer Science
Economics
Education
Engineering
Environment
Geography
Health
History
Language & Literature
Law
Management
Marketing
Mathematics
Political science
Philosophy
Psychology
Religion
Sociology
Travel