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The long hard road of reconciliation: prefiguring cultures of peace through the transformation of representations of former combatants and identities of urban youth in Colombia

Fonseca Duran, Laura and Jovchelovitch, Sandra ORCID: 0000-0002-0073-2792 (2023) The long hard road of reconciliation: prefiguring cultures of peace through the transformation of representations of former combatants and identities of urban youth in Colombia. European Journal of Social Psychology. ISSN 0046-2772

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Identification Number: 10.1002/ejsp.2967

Abstract

The Colombian peace accords of 2016 involved a formal commitment to peace between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP in Spanish) and the national government. Despite this advance, societal reconciliation and sustainable peace remain key challenges. Through a longitudinal qualitative design, we investigate the encounter between former guerrilla members and urban university students in a community-based educational space in rural Colombia. Drawing on a social representational approach, we focus on youth's representations of self (students), the remote other (former guerrilla members) and peace and reconciliation as they are produced before, during and after the encounter. Participants were 24 students enrolled in a service-learning course at an urban university in Bogotá. Data collection included written narratives, audio-visual material, focus groups and interviews. Thematic analyses show that as urban youth meet, spend time, and share space and common activities with the former combatants, both representations and identities are transformed. These transformations in self–other understandings unsettle hegemonic narratives supporting an ethos of conflict and introduce alternative representations that prefigure the consolidation of peace-supporting counternarratives. Our results highlight both the resilience of hegemonic narratives and the long-term effects of small-scale educational knowledge encounters for producing agents of peace, recognising the other and prefiguring social change. Reconciliation as process must be thus understood as the uneven development of meaningful self–other interactions that recasts the social fabric as interdependent and builds shared intentionality for achieving sustainable peace.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Date Deposited: 19 May 2023 23:18
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2024 21:51
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/119224

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