Sociology of reconciliation: Learning from comparing violent conflicts and reconciliation processes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


This article aims at drawing on sociological insights into reconciliation processes which emerge out of ethnic, national and state conflicts. First, the concept of reconciliation is interrogated as an instrument for sociological enquiry. The article locates the concept's lexical origins in western/northern Christian traditions and identifies the usages of religious connotations in secularised strands of conflict resolution theory and praxis. While acknowledging the problems involved in assuming a conceptual universality, the basic meaning of the concept is located in many different historical, religious and secular traditions across the globe. Once overcoming Christiano-centric and western/northern biases and limitations, reconciliation can be retrieved and operationalised as a sociological concept for understanding and comparing ethnically and other deeply divided societies. Second, the article argues for further development of sociological comparative perspectives on how societies deal with violent and divisive past, which enhances academic knowledge and may impact policy as regards reconciliation processes, both in terms of understanding the past as well as dealing with the present and future of post-conflict societies. A sociology of conflict and reconciliation offers frames for transferring knowledge and experience that transcends simplistic assumptions and enriches understanding of the complexities of conflict and its transformations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-264
Number of pages21
JournalCurrent Sociology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • conflicto étnico/estatal
  • conflit ethnique/État
  • éthique de réconciliation
  • ética de la reconciliación
  • Ethic of reconciliation
  • ethnic/state conflict
  • justice transitionnelle
  • justicia transicional
  • Réconciliation
  • Reconciliación
  • reconciliation
  • religión
  • religion
  • sécularisme
  • secularidad
  • secularism
  • transformación
  • transformation
  • transitional justice
  • universalidad
  • universalité
  • universality

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Sociology of reconciliation: Learning from comparing violent conflicts and reconciliation processes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this