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Reconciliation and the Search for a Shared Moral Landscape

An Exploration Based upon a Study of Northern Ireland and South Africa


Maria Ericson

This book focuses on reconciliation in Northern Ireland and South Africa. The overarching aim is to identify «formal and material conditions», or prerequisites, for reconciliation and moral community (or more precisely a «shared moral landscape»). In both countries obstacles to reconciliation can be found in the following elements of a «moral landscape»: Experiences of trauma, separation and inequalities; divergent views of the conflict and of «the other»; opposing identifications and loyalties; certain norms for interaction and contestant interpretations of values such as «peace» and «justice». This book describes how these obstacles have been addressed in: 1) Efforts, particularly by ecumenical groups, to bridge the Catholic/Protestant divide in Northern Ireland. 2) The work of, and debates surrounding, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. On the basis of these dialogues in adverse circumstances, this study then suggests some prerequisites for «emancipatory conversations» – a central question in the search for a global ethics.
Contents: Northern Ireland – South Africa – Reconciliation – Truth and Reconciliation Commission – Ecumenism – Forgiveness – Justice – Peace Building – Conflict Resolution – Global Ethics – Dialogue.