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Reconciliation as Political Ethic: From Religion to Politics to Law

Tan, Sharon Mei
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Religion, Emory University.

Reconciliation is an ethic derived from or supported by various religions that can be made useful for political life. Political reconciliation consists of conflict transformation informed by political forgiveness, reparation, various expressions of justice, and a renewed political agreement, expressed in democratic constitutionalism. A multifaceted approach to relationships in society, it occurs at the structural, social, political, and legal or institutional levels of society, and affects individuals and groups. Conflict transformation is a process of conflict management that is attentive to political forgiveness and thus the parties’ emotional and subjective needs. Political forgiveness has its impetus from the religious values and beliefs of the parties, and often involves religious notions of justice and other deep beliefs and symbols of the parties. Repentance by the offender too has religious antecedents, and expresses itself at the political and institutional levels as cessation of wrongdoing, and reparation to the victim. Reconciling processes must also include the requirements of justice and the perception of justice. Retributive justice institutions express the moral values of society. Restorative justice institutions attend to healing relationships, and reintegrating offenders and victims into society. Procedural justice concerns the equal treatment of persons over time, and the perception of justice. Distributive justice concerns the structure of the renewed society. Political reconciliation results in a renewed agreement or relationship between the formerly alienated parties, one that incorporates the viewpoints and narratives of all the parties. The processes of political reconciliation can provide a common framework or a political agreement to govern society. (Author’s abstract)


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