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Journal Article

The Resolution of Conflict: Traditional African Ancestors, Kinship, and Rituals of Reconciliation

Kathryn Coe, Craig T. Palmer and Khadijah elShabazz
African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review
Vol. 3, No. 2, Special Issue on Peace Education, Memory, and Reconciliation in Africa (Fall 2013), pp. 110-128
Published by: Indiana University Press
DOI: 10.2979/africonfpeacrevi.3.2.110
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/africonfpeacrevi.3.2.110
Page Count: 19
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The Resolution of Conflict: Traditional African Ancestors, Kinship, and Rituals of Reconciliation
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Abstract

ABSTRACT Although debates continue over the type and frequency of conflict in human societies, it is clear that some amount of conflict has been common. As conflict can damage the social relationships that have been important to human survival and well-being, it is important to identify methods that have been shown to be effective across cultures in protecting important social relationships and mending them when broken. In this paper, we focus on conflicts that were localized and internal, as were those found in precolonial Africa, and on traditions used across centuries and perhaps millennia for reconciliation. These traditions were established upon and bound by complex and intertwined ties of religion, shared ancestry, and kinship. We discuss this social system and explain how the key elements worked together to end conflict. We conclude by arguing that as these traditions were widespread, found in many parts of the world, and lasted for many hundreds and possibly thousands of years, they may yield insights and approaches that can be useful today.

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