This reflexive piece examines the complexity of mediation, conflict resolution/peacebuilding in contexts of growing, nested inequality. It observes that ‘[n]eutrality translates into support for the status quo. And that it is ‘not good enough to deal efficiently with manifest conflict while leaving structural conflicts outside of our frame and therefore intact’.
This is an update of the ‘Basic Guide to a ‘deeper and longer’analysis of violence. The conceptual framework was groundtruthed and calibrated in the South African context during 2016. The guide is ‘open’ so that readers can critique, adapt, adopt and/or discard the framework.
What constitutes violence in a ‘post’-colonial, ‘post’-slavery, ‘post’- apartheid, ‘post’-conflict society? Who decides on when to insert ‘post’ and thus discontinuity of something that others experience as continuous? How can violence be reduced in its structure and not only its individual expressions?
This paper responds to key aspects of Bill Dixon’s article ‘Understanding ‘Pointy Face’, what is criminology for? It suggests that criminology should unambiguously be ‘for’ social justice in South Africa’s transhistorically unequal context. SA prison statistics are used as a conceptual shortcut to briefly highlight racialised constructions of crime, the criminal and the criminologist. A trans-disciplinary conceptual approach, as a more appropriate way to understand violent crime in South Africa, is argued for from a black standpoint. A methodological framework, which draws on the notion of cultural-structural-direct violence and intersectional theory, is presented. These extend Bill Dixon’s call for criminology to include history, structure, human psyche and biography and resonate with Biko Agozino’s call for a ‘counter-colonial criminology. The paper ends by returning the Eurocentric gaze of SA criminologists, calling them out on their collective denial about trans-historical violence which implicates ‘Pale Face’ in the violence of ‘Pointy Face’
Structurally responsive strategies, tactics and techniques for conflict resolution practitioners to consider
Draft Presentation on Social Justice Conflict Resolution practice. This is based on an interlinked gap found in practice that explains why practitioners are not structurally responsive. It is part of an ongoing action research process in South Africa’s unequal, transitional context.
Reflecting on the gains and pains of South Africa’s TRC A dialogue between Sarah Malotane Henkeman and Undine Whande
Global Africa: Into the Twenty-First Century By Dorothy Hodgson, Judith Byfield, 2017
The conversation about ‘truth’ and ‘reconciliation’ you read here started about nineteen years ago, in a backroom at the Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR) and at U Managing Conflict (UMAC) in South Africa. This was a time when the two dialogue partners were mostly swimming along the tide of euphoria and enthusiasm that swept the country after the free and fair elections of 1994. Two peacebuilders who had witnessed and engaged the TRC close-up: Sarah was then full-time employee/part-time student, descendant of a mix of colonised, enslaved and oppressed people; oppressed during her own lifespan until 1994 when she was in her thirties, married and had two young children. Undine was a 23-year old white youngster who had engaged in the German anti-apartheid movement and arrived bright-eyed and bushytailed from abroad to ‘see’ and take part in the ‘miracle’. Both felt privileged to be part of building a new era. The conversation invites the reader into the journey they travelled, within and alongside the TRC’s process over nearly two decades, and shares some of today’s (2016) concerns and potentials for truth, justice and peace in South Africa
Published chapter can be found here.