By James L. Gibson
Perhaps no nation in background has so without delay and punctiliously faced its earlier on the way to form its destiny as has South Africa. operating from the idea that knowing the previous might help construct a extra peaceable and democratic destiny, South Africa has made a concerted, institutionalized attempt to return to grips with its background of apartheid via its fact and Reconciliation fee. In Overcoming Apartheid, James L. Gibson offers the 1st systematic evaluate of no matter if South Africa's fact and reconciliation method has been profitable. Has the method allowed South Africa to enable pass of its painful prior and circulation on? Or has it exacerbated racial tensions through revisiting painful human rights violations and granting amnesty to their perpetrators?
Overcoming Apartheid experiences at the greatest and so much accomplished research of post-apartheid attitudes in South Africa up to now, related to a consultant pattern of all significant racial, ethnic, and linguistic teams. Grounding his research of fact in theories of collective reminiscence, Gibson discovers that the method has been so much profitable in making a universal figuring out of the character of apartheid. His research then demonstrates how this universal figuring out helps to foster reconciliation, as outlined by way of the popularity of easy rules of human rights and political tolerance, rejection of racial prejudice, and recognition of the associations of a brand new political order. Gibson identifies key components within the process—such as acknowledging shared accountability for atrocities of the past—that are crucial if reconciliation is to maneuver ahead. He concludes that with out the reality and reconciliation approach, the clients for a reconciled, democratic South Africa could shrink significantly. Gibson additionally speculates approximately even if the South African event offers any classes for different international locations worldwide attempting to triumph over their repressive pasts.
A groundbreaking paintings of social technological know-how learn, Overcoming Apartheid is usually a primer for using cutting edge conceptual and methodological instruments in examining fact tactics in the course of the global. it truly is guaranteed to be a worthwhile source for political scientists, social scientists, staff family theorists, and scholars of transitional justice and human rights.
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Additional info for Overcoming Apartheid: Can Truth Reconcile a Divided Nation?
This lack of knowledge flows in part from the history of apartheid, but it is also attributable in part to the feeble support for the social sciences in South Africa and in part to ideology. ) Because so little is understood, it is useful to begin the empirical portion of this study with a description of the sample, and hence of the South African population. The picture that emerges throughout the chapter is often startling and entirely unexpected. Because the evidence is so unforeseen, I establish here a context for public opinion in South Africa that is essential for understanding the remainder of the book.
It will surprise few that distributive justice (compensation) can make up for some of the failure to achieve retributive justice. But the most important and interesting findings of this chapter are that two other forms of justice—restorative justice (apologies) and procedural justice (giving voice to the victims and their families)—contribute mightily to compensating for the inherent unfairness of granting amnesty to human rights violators. Though I explicitly do not claim that reconciliation requires the acceptance of the necessity of granting amnesties, I do conclude in this chapter that the amnesty component of the truth and reconciliation process did less damage to reconciliation than many believe, in large part because the process produced compensatory forms of justice.
Race was the defining characteristic of politics under the apartheid system established by the National Party. These categories, as noted in chapter 1, continue to dominate discussions of race in contemporary South Africa. The aim of apartheid was the total separation of blacks and whites. To achieve this goal, South Africa established the so-called Bantustans as areas where blacks were allowed to reside. Apartheid never sought the expulsion of Colored people and those of Asian origin from the territory of the country, and indeed later reforms of the system provided for political representation for these two groups.