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The Third Pillar: The Role of Reconciliation in Supporting Peace Agreements

Garson, MES; (2017) The Third Pillar: The Role of Reconciliation in Supporting Peace Agreements. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Social-psychological research suggests that parties in conflict develop a conflict identity which becomes independent of the conflict itself contributing to the breakdown of agreements and the continuation of the conflict. This identity, formed of collective memories, negative stereotypes, existential fears and strong emotions, requires more than a passing nod to reconciliation in a peace settlement. Yet neither policy-makers nor political science research have paid much attention to these dynamics. Traditionally considered as a complement or final stage of the conflict resolution process, reconciliation activities have not been viewed as integral to increasing the durability of peace settlements. However, if the “mind and heart” remain armed, the hand will always find a weapon, even after the most rigorous post-conflict peace-building programmes. The central argument of the thesis is that institutionalising and implementing reconciliation measures are fundamental to increasing the durability of settlements. Utilising a new dataset, the thesis provides a statistical analysis of 259 peace agreements in 41 conflicts between 1945 and 2011 in order to test whether incorporating commitments to reconciliation activities in peace settlements reduces the likelihood of settlement breakdown. The dynamics as to how reconciliation activities can transform conflict identities and in turn lead to supporting peace agreements are investigated through using process tracing in the case studies of Israel-Palestine, Northern Ireland, and Bosnia Herzegovina. Based on independent survey research of participants of joint reconciliation activities supported by additional interviews and evaluation reports, the cases demonstrate the process by which former enemies can become advocates of supporting non-violent approaches to conflict resolution. Expanding the literature on conflict recurrence, post-conflict peacebuilding and reconciliation, with implications for both policymakers and practitioners, this research suggests that reconciliation is more than just a nod to politically correct terminology but joins security and state-building measures as a key element of post-conflict stability.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The Third Pillar: The Role of Reconciliation in Supporting Peace Agreements
Event: University College London
Language: English
Keywords: Reconciliation, Peace Agreements, Intractable Conflict, Ethos of Conflict, Israel-Palestine, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Identity Conflict
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1575677
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