Can Truth Reconcile a Divided Nation?
James L Gibson
234mm X 158mm
In print
New edition
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With the work of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission complete, James L. Gibson sets out to test one of its key premises, namely, that truth can facilitate reconciliation and help a nation both to deal with its painful past and to move on to a more democratic future. Drawing on one of the largest and most comprehensive surveys of post-apartheid attitudes to date, and employing innovative conceptual and methodological tools, Gibson’s sophisticated and subtle analysis offers both encouraging and disheartening insights into the success of the truth and reconciliation process, and provides clear signposts for those involved in taking it further. This is a groundbreaking work of social science research and a major contribution to the literature on transitional justice and conflict resolution.

James L. Gibson is Professor Extraordinary in Political Science at Stellenbosch University, Distinguished Visiting Researcher Scholar at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in South Africa, Fellow at the Centre for International and Comparative Politics, Stellenbosch University, and Sidney W. Souers Professor of Government at Washington University in St Louis, USA.


Finally, a volume that provides a quantitative dimension to issues hitherto dealt with only by assertion. This is an essential contribution to the debates around truth and reconciliation. A must read!
John Daniel, Researcher, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and Research Director, Democracy and Governance Research Programme, Human Sciences Research Council.

Overcoming Apartheid is stunning in its insights, breadth and innovativeness. No earlier work addresses the impact of the truth and reconciliation process so comprehensively. Gibson shows us the conditions under which truth can contribute to reconciliation, a finding of enormous practical and theoretical importance.
Hennie Kotzé, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Stellenbosch University

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