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Exploring Changing Identities and Reconciliation in South Africa and Zimbabwe
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
2009 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The study investigates why former belligerents change their identity and are able to reconcile with each other in the post-conflict situation. By identity change I mean the process by which belligerents transform their conflictive identities towards peaceful ones. By doing so belligerents are able to accept and respect other identities. This may lead to a process of reconciliation that changes the destructive attitudes and behaviour of belligerents.

The case study of Zimbabwe (1980-1989) and South Africa (1990-1998) found that in both cases attitudes changed inconsistently over time. The introduction of a superordinate identity, had positive effects on belligerents, but factors like the truth processes or overemphasize on subordination under the new identity, altered this development. The initially positive development of attitudes in Zimbabwe was traced back to an understanding of reconciliation as impunity, what kept a societal security dilemma in place. This caused a failure of the change of attitudes beyond strategy and enabled subsequent outbreaks of violence. On the contrary the cautiously emphasized and introduced competitive superordinate identity in South Africa brought constructive change, in reducing a societal security dilemma. But this was altered by the perception of collective blame due to the result of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The study used theories on identity and reconciliation from multiple disciplines and mostly primary sources collected from archives in Europe.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Reconciliation, Identity, South Africa, Zimbabwe, post-liberation
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-108717OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-108717DiVA: diva2:240428
Nordic Africa Day 2009 'Africa - In Search of Alternatives', Trondheim, 1 - 3 October 2009Available from: 2009-09-28 Created: 2009-09-28 Last updated: 2009-10-05Bibliographically approved

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Krampe, Florian
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