Overcoming Apartheid: Can Truth Reconcile a Divided Nation? / Edition 1 available in Hardcover
- Pub. Date:
- Russell Sage Foundation
Perhaps no country in history has so directly and thoroughly confronted its past in an effort to shape its future as has South Africa. Working from the belief that understanding the past will help build a more peaceful and democratic future, South Africa has made a concerted, institutionalized effort to come to grips with its history of apartheid through its Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In Overcoming Apartheid, James L. Gibson provides the first systematic assessment of whether South Africa's truth and reconciliation process has been successful. Has the process allowed South Africa to let go of its painful past and move on? Or has it exacerbated racial tensions by revisiting painful human rights violations and granting amnesty to their perpetrators?
Overcoming Apartheid reports on the largest and most comprehensive study of post-apartheid attitudes in South Africa to date, involving a representative sample of all major racial, ethnic, and linguistic groups. Grounding his analysis of truth in theories of collective memory, Gibson discovers that the process has been most successful in creating a common understanding of the nature of apartheid. His analysis then demonstrates how this common understanding is helping to foster reconciliation, as defined by the acceptance of basic principles of human rights and political tolerance, rejection of racial prejudice, and acceptance of the institutions of a new political order. Gibson identifies key elements in the processsuch as acknowledging shared responsibility for atrocities of the pastthat are essential if reconciliation is to move forward. He concludes that without the truth and reconciliation process, the prospects for a reconciled, democratic South Africa would diminish considerably. Gibson also speculates about whether the South African experience provides any lessons for other countries around the globe trying to overcome their repressive pasts.
A groundbreaking work of social science research, Overcoming Apartheid is also a primer for utilizing innovative conceptual and methodological tools in analyzing truth processes throughout the world. It is sure to be a valuable resource for political scientists, social scientists, group relations theorists, and students of transitional justice and human rights.
|Publisher:||Russell Sage Foundation|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)|
About the Author
JAMES L. GIBSON is Sidney W. Souers Professor of Government at Washington University, St. Louis.
Table of Contents
About the Author Preface and Acknowledgments CHAPTER 1 Does Truth Lead to Reconciliation? CHAPTER 2 Apartheid's Legacy in Contemporary South Africa: Experiences, Attributes, and Attitudes of the Sample CHAPTER 3 South African Collective Memories CHAPTER 4 Interracial Reconciliation CHAPTER 5 Truth, Reconciliation, and the Creation of a Human Rights Culture CHAPTER 6 Tolerance: The Minimalist View of Reconciliation CHAPTER 7 Judging the Fairness of Amnesty CHAPTER 8 The Legitimacy of the Political Institutions of the New South Africa CHAPTER 9 Lessons for South Africa's Future and for the World Appendix A: The Design of the Survey Appendix B: The Questionnaire Notes References Index