Reconciliation: Aspects, Growth, and Sequences

By Kriesberg, Louis | International Journal of Peace Studies, Spring-Summer 2007 | Go to article overview

Reconciliation: Aspects, Growth, and Sequences


Kriesberg, Louis, International Journal of Peace Studies


Abstract

This paper explores the several aspects of the process of reconciliation: the units engaged in reconciliation, the dimensions of reconciliation, and the degree and symmetry between the units along each dimension. Various combinations of these aspects characterize diverse patterns of reconciliation over time. Attention to these aspects help account for the expansion of reconciliation efforts and alternative sequencing of reconciliation acts. Four sets of factors help explain these variations: trends in ways of thinking, trends in material conditions and social relations, contextual events, and local conditions. The analysis yields implications for theory and practice.

**********

Throughout history, many people have engaged in personal or representative acts of reconciliation. (1) In recent years, such reconciliation efforts are widely discussed and frequently undertaken (Kritz 1995; Weiner 1998). Reconciliation between antagonists in a destructive conflict is often an important part of establishing a mutually acceptable coexistence between them. The condition of reconciliation, however, varies in degree and over time. It also varies along many dimensions and differs among the diverse groups constituting the opposing sides. The process of antagonists reconciling with each other, therefore, is hugely complex. This article focuses on three issues: the increase in reconciliation efforts around the world, the patterns of reconciliation, and alternative sequences of various aspects of reconciliation.

Processes of reconciliation between large entities such as peoples and countries are unending; whatever kind of reconciliation is attained is not permanent. Changes in the reconciliation achieved between peoples occur years, decades, or even centuries after an inter-communal accommodation has been imposed or mutually reached. For example, the nature of the relationship between Native Americans and the dominant ethnic groups in the United States has undergone many transformations. Recently, examples abound of compensation and apologies made by representatives of the dominant party to the group whose members have been victimized and marginalized. The U.S. government apologized and provided some compensation to the Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II, the Spanish government acknowledged that the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492 was wrong, and the Canadian and Australian governments only recently acknowledged their long denial of basic rights to indigenous peoples.

Too often, the multi-faceted character of reconciliation is disregarded, resulting in misunderstandings, unspecified generalizations, and unrealistic expectations. Therefore, I first explore the many, sometimes contradictory, dimensions and other aspects of reconciliation. Then, explanations for the variations in reconciliation and for changes in reconciliation over time are analysed. Finally, I discuss the implications of this analysis for theory and practice regarding the sequences of various components of reconciliation, following destructive, large-scale conflicts.

Aspects of Reconciliation

The term reconciliation generally refers to the process of developing a mutual conciliatory accommodation between enemies or formerly antagonistic groups. It often refers to the process of moving toward a relatively cooperative and amicable relationship, typically established after a rupture in relations involving extreme injury to one or more sides in the relationship. Reconciliation, clearly, has more than one meaning and people disagree about the relative importance of those different elements (Kriesberg 2007a; Lederach 1997; Kriesberg 1999). Thus, people vary in their emphasis upon forgiveness, redress for past injustices, and provision for future safety. Four aspects of reconciliation deserve attention: the units engaged in reconciliation, the dimensions of reconciliation, the degree of reconciliation, and the symmetry of each aspect.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Reconciliation: Aspects, Growth, and Sequences
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.