Discourse, normative change and the quest for reconciliation in global politics

Author: Judith Renner

This book offers a new and critical perspective on the global reconciliation technology by highlighting its contingent and highly political character as an authoritative practice of post-conflict peacebuilding. After retracing the emergence of the reconciliation discourse from South Africa to the global level, the book demonstrates how implementing reconciliation in post-conflict societies is a highly political practice which entails potentially undesirable consequences for the post-conflict societies to which it is deployed. Inquiring into the example of Sierra Leone, the book shows how the reconciliation discourse brings about the marginalization and neutralization of political claims and identities of local populations by producing these societies as being composed of the ‘victims’ and ‘perpetrators’ of past human rights violations which are first and foremost in need of reconciliation and healing.

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‘Judith Renner's book is an excellent combination of empirical analysis and theoretical reflection which enhances not only our understanding of the global rise of the reconciliation discourse, but also illuminates the theoretical problem of normative change in international politics.|A superb, analytically sharp and yet eminently readable treatment of the rise of the concept of reconciliation in international politics. This is a piece of work that will change the way we view reconciliation as a device in post-conflict situations.|This book is a must-have for anyone who doubts that discourse analysis has something to offer to our understanding of society. It demonstrates how reconciliation as a recipe and truth and reconciliation commissions as a technique could become hegemonic concepts in the global discourse on how societies should deal with atrocities they committed or suffered in the past. A truly fascinating endeavor!'
Christopher Daase|Thomas Diez|Bernhard Zangl

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