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Transforming Identities: Belligerents 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.
2010 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The study investigates why former belligerents transform their identity and are able to reconcile with each other in the post-conflict situation. By identity transformation I mean the process by which belligerents change 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 transforms 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 transformed inconsistently over time. The introduction of a super ordinate identity, had positive effects on belligerents, but factors like the truth processes or overemphasise 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 transformation of attitudes beyond strategy and enabled subsequent outbreaks of violence. On the contrary the cautiously emphasised and introduced competitive super ordinate 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 of 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 Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-113939OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-113939DiVA: diva2:292235
Annual meeting of the International Studies Association ‘Theory vs. Policy? Connecting Scholars and Practitioners’, New Orleans Hilton Riverside Hotel, The Loews New Orleans Hotel, New Orleans, LA, Feb 17, 2010
Available from: 2010-02-05 Created: 2010-02-05 Last updated: 2010-02-17Bibliographically approved

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Krampe, Florian
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Department of Peace and Conflict Research
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