When in multicultural states the concept of reconciliation is tied to national unity in order to institute consensus and stability, the outcome often is exclusion and oppression of those others who do not 'fit' or who 'disturb' the very consensus and unity reconciliation purports to form. The hidden side of violence embedded in consensual reconciliation is the main theme of this paper. Our aim is to problematize the relations between reconciliation and nationalism on the one hand, and to offer an alternative working concept of friendship on the other. Based on an ethnographic case study of conflict between religious and secular groups in Israel, we examine the language of reconciliation and its semiotic gestures, in order to demonstrate that sentiments of 'neither/nor' or 'either this or that', when rooted in nationalist ideology of unity, obfuscate identities for purposes of homogeneity, closing the social and cultural space for different others who are present but not included in the discourse of reconciliation. By contrast, a discourse of friendship signifies a movement (rather than diffusion) between social and cultural identities. Our concept of friendship is based on a civic idea of causing no harm to others as a way of life.
- Consensual reconciliation
- National ideology
- Religious conflict
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science