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Truly reconciled? A dyadic analysis of post-conflict social reintegration in Northern Uganda

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Abstract

In the aftermath of civil war or violent internal conflict, one of the key peacebuilding challenges is the reconciliation of former enemies who are members of the same small-scale societies. A failure of social reintegration may contribute to what is known as a conflict trap. To detect lingering hostile attitudes among a community’s various factions is crucial, but the approaches adopted in previous studies tend to focus on the impact of conflict on one or other aggregated indicator of social cohesion rather than on how violence-affected individuals regard and act towards their fellow community members. Here we demonstrate the value of concentrating on this latter dyadic component of social interactions and we use behavioural experiments and a social tie survey to assess, in an appropriately disaggregated manner, social cohesion in a post-conflict setting in northern Uganda. Whereas in self-reported surveys, ex-combatants appear to be well-connected, active members of their communities, the experiments unveil the continued reluctance of other community members to share or cooperate with them; fewer resources are committed to ex-combatants than to others, which is statistically significant. The dyadic nature of our analysis allows us to detect which groups are more prone to discriminate against ex-combatants, which may help facilitate targeted interventions.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-121
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Volume55
Issue number1
Early online date9 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Peer-reviewedYes

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    Research areas

  • behavioural experiments, ex-combatants, northern Uganda, post-conflict social reintegration, social tie survey

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