Richard English, Roddy Brett, Élise Féron, and Valerie Rosoux

Embodied Reconciliation: a New Research Agenda

Abstract: Despite a growth in research exploring corporeal dimensions of peacebuilding, scholarship addressing intergroup reconciliation after violent conflict currently pays too little attention to the human body, and to the consequences of the embodied impact of political violence upon reconciliation. Rather, research tends to focus upon the narrative and discursive aspects of relationships between formerly warring parties. As a result, little is understood about how corporeal experiences of war might influence intergroup reconciliation. This article contends that a paradigm shift towards an embodied approach to reconciliation is necessary, specifically in our understanding of three interrelated spheres of application: the conceptual-theoretical, the practical, and the policy-oriented pillars of intergroup reconciliation after atrocious violence. Reconciliation is in practice embodied; this has, to date, been under-appreciated in the literature and so we require a more body-aware approach to understanding reconciliation; that latter approach will in turn allow for more effective practical and policy-related interventions.


The University of Chicago