CONSTRUING RECONCILIATION – LAY PEOPLE DEFINITIONS IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA: A QUALITATIVE APPROACH

  • Tijana Karić Institute of Criminological and Sociological Research, Belgrade
  • Vladimir Mihić Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad
Keywords: Bosnia and Herzegovina, ethnic divisions, post-conflict society, reconciliation

Abstract

To define intergroup reconciliation is still a dynamic topic in social-psychological research, and lay people are seldom included in the study. Given that post-conflict processes in the context of Bosnia and Herzegovina are still marked by ethnic divisions, the main aim of our research has been to explore how Serbs and Bosniaks define reconciliation. We applied focus groups methodology to investigate this question. Eight mono-ethnic focus groups were conducted with Serbs and Bosniaks, in Sarajevo and Banja Luka. 56 people participated in total. The results showed that both groups defined reconciliation in terms of accepting the outgroup, achieving ordinary life and political reconciliation. However, groups differed in certain definitions. Bosniaks conceptualized reconciliation as facing the past, resolving past issues, economic sustainability, and future orientation. Parts of definition provided mostly by Serbs included cooperation, respect, understanding, and building relationships. Results were discussed in the light of available reconciliation literature, as well as collective narratives about 1990s war.

References

Aiken, N. T. (2010). Learning to live together. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 4(2), 166–188. https://doi.org/10.1093/ijtj/ijq002

Bar-Siman-Tov, Y. (2004). Dialectics between stable peace and reconciliation. In Y. Bar-Siman-Tov (Ed.), From conflict resolution to reconciliation (pp. 39–60). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195166439.003.0003

Bar‐Tal, D. (2000). From intractable conflict through conflict resolution to reconciliation: Psychological analysis. Political Psychology, 21(2), 351–365. https://doi.org/10.1111/0162-895X.00192

Bar-Tal, D. (2013). Intractable conflicts: Socio-psychological foundations and dynamics. Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9781139025195

Bar-Tal, D., & Bennik, G. H. (2004). Nature of Reconciliation as an Outcome and as a Process. In Y. Bar-Siman-Tov (Ed.), From Conflict Resolution to Reconciliation (pp. 11–38). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195166439.001.0001

Bar-Tal, D., Sharvit, K., Halperin, E., & Zafran, A. (2012). Ethos of conflict: The concept and its measurement. Peace and Conflict, 18(1), 40–61. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0026860

Bilali, R., & Vollhardt, J. R. (2019). Victim and Perpetrator Groups’ Divergent Perspectives on Collective Violence: Implications for Intergroup Relations. Political Psychology, 40, 75–108. https://doi.org/10.1111/pops.12570

Bilewicz, M. (2016). The dark side of emotion regulation: Historical defensiveness as an obstacle in reconciliation. Psychological Inquiry, 27(2), 89–95. https://doi.org/10.1080/1047840X.2016.1162130

Bilewicz, M., Witkowska, M., Stefaniak, A., & Imhoff, R. (2017). The lay historian explains intergroup behavior: Examining the role of identification and cognitive structuring in ethnocentric historical attributions. Memory Studies, 10(3), 310–322. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1750698017701614

Biruski, D. C., Ajdukovic, D., & Stanic, A. L. (2014). When the world collapses: changed worldview and social reconstruction in a traumatized community. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 5(1), 24098. https://doi.org/10.3402/ejpt.v5.24098

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative research in psychology, 3(2), 77–101. https://doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2013). Successful qualitative research: A practical guide for beginners. Sage.

Cehajic, S., Brown, R., & Castano, E. (2008). Forgive and forget? Antecedents and consequences of intergroup forgiveness in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Political Psychology, 29(3), 351–367. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9221.2008.00634.x

Čehajić-Clancy, S. (2007). Međugrupno praštanje. Šta je međugrupno praštanje? [Intergroup forgiveness. What is intergroup forgiveness?]. Puls demokratije. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275349448_Medugrupno_prastanje_Sta_je_medugrupno_prastanje

Čehajić-Clancy, S., Effron, D. A., Halperin, E., Liberman, V., & Ross, L. D. (2011). Affirmation, Acknowledgment of In-Group Responsibility, Group-Based Guilt, and Support for Reparative Measures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(2), 256–270. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0023936

Christie, D. J., & Louis, W. R. (2012). Peace interventions tailored to phases within a cycle of intergroup violence. In L. R. Tropp (Ed.), Oxford library of psychology. The Oxford handbook of intergroup conflict (pp. 252–269). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199747672.013.0015

Cohrs, J. C., Vollhardt, J. R., & McKeown, S. (2018). Intergroup Conflict, Peace, and Reconciliation. In C. J. Hewer & E. Lyons (Eds.), Political Psychology: A social psychological approach, (pp. 292–312). Wiley Online Library. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118982365.ch15

Čorkalo Biruški, D., Ajduković, D., Löw, A., & Bakić, H. (Ur.) (2016). Može li se oprostiti nakon rata: psihologijski pogled. [Can one forgive after the war: psychological view.] FF Press.

Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design. Choosing among five approaches. Sage.

Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design. Qualitative, quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches. Sage.

De la Rey, C. (2001). Reconciliation in divided societies. In D. J. Christie, R. V. Wagner, & D. D. Winter (Eds.), Peace, conflict, and violence: Peace psychology for the 21st century (pp. 251–261). Prentice Hall.

Diener, E., & Tov, W. (2007). Subjective well‐being and peace. Journal of Social Issues, 63(2), 421–440. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4560.2007.00517.x

Dixon, P. (2001). Northern Ireland the politics of war and peace. Palgrave. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0095139000069118

Dovidio, J. F., Saguy, T., West, T. V., & Gaertner, S. L. (2012). Divergent intergroup perspectives. In Tropp, L. R. (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of intergroup conflict (pp. 58-175). Oxford Handbooks Online. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199747672.013.0010

Erten, E. Y., van den Berg, P., & Weissing, F. J. (2018). Acculturation orientations affect the evolution of a multicultural society. Nature Communications, 9(1), 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-02513-0

Fort, T. L., & Schipani, C. A. (2004). The role of business in fostering peaceful societies. Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9780511488634

Frith, H., & Gleeson, K. (2004). Clothing and embodiment: men managing body image and appearance. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 5(1), 40–48. https://doi.org/10.1037/1524-9220.5.1.40

Gaertner, S. L., Dovidio, J. F., Banker, B. S., Houlette, M., Johnson, K. M., & McGlynn, E. A. (2000). Reducing intergroup conflict: From superordinate goals to decategorization, recategorization, and mutual differentiation. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 4(1), 98–114. https://doi.org/10.1037/1089-2699.4.1.98

Gibson, J. L. (2006). Overcoming apartheid: Can truth reconcile a divided nation? Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 603(1), 82–111. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002716205282895

Halperin, E., & Bar-Tal, D. (2011). Socio-psychological barriers peace making: An empirical examination within the Israeli Jewish society. Journal of Peace Research, 48(5), 637–651. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022343311412642

Hermann, T. (2004). Reconciliation: Reflections on the theoretical and practical utility of the term. In Y. Bar-Siman-Tov (Ed.), From conflict resolution to reconciliation (pp. 39–60). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195166439.003.0003

Hofstede, G. (2003). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviours, institutions and organizations across nations. Sage.

House, R., Hanges, P. J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. W., & Gupta, V. (2004). Culture, leadership and organizations. Sage.

Jansen, S. (2013). Ako je pomirenje odgovor, da li postavljamo prava pitanja? [If reconciliation is the answer, are we asking the right questions?]. Retrieved from: http://recom.link/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Stef-Jansen-1.pdf

Karić, T. (2019). Is this my country? Identification with national symbols in Serbs and Bosniaks in B&H. Zbornik Instituta za kriminološka i sociološka istraživanja, 38(3), 57–75.

Kaufman, S., Elliott, M., & Shmueli, D. (2003). Frames, framing and reframing. Beyond Intractability, 1, 1–8.

Kelman, H. C. (2008). Reconciliation from a Social-Psychological Perspective. In A. Nadler, T. E. Malloy, & J. D. Fisher (Eds.),The Social Psychology of Intergroup Reconciliation (pp. 15–32). https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195300314.003.0002

Kelman, H. C. (2010). Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation : A Social- Psychological Perspective on Ending Violent Conflict Between Identity Groups. Landscapes of Violence, 1(1), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.7275/R5H12ZX0

Kişlioğlu, R., & Cohrs, J. C. (2018). Nationhood as a social representation: Making sense of the Kurdish opening in Turkey. Peace and Conflict, 24(2), 165–174. https://doi.org/10.1037/pac0000317

Kriesberg, L. (1998). Coexistence and the reconciliation of communal conflicts. In E. Weiner (Ed.), The handbook of interethnic coexistence (pp. 182–198). Continuum.

Krondorfer, B. (Ed.). (2018). Reconciliation in Global Context: Why it is Needed and how it Works. SUNY Press.

Krueger R. A., Casey M. A. (2000). Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Applied Research, 3rd ed. Sage Publications. https://doi.org/10.1016/0737-6782(96)85709-2

Kuckartz, U. (2018). Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse. Methoden, Praxis, Computerunterstützung [Qualitative content analysis. Methods, Practice, Computer Support] Beltz Juventa. http://www.ciando.com/img/books/extract/3779946831_lp.pdf

Kuckartz, U. (2014). Qualitative text analysis: A guide to methods, practice and using software. Sage.

Kuckartz, U., Dresing, T., Rädiker, S., & Stefer, C. (2008). Warum eine qualitative Evaluation? [Why a qualitative evaluation?] In U. Kuckartz, T. Dresing, S. Rädiker, & C. Stefer (Eds.), Qualitative Evaluation. Der Einstieg in der Praxis (pp. 11–14). VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-531-91083-3

Lederach, J. P. (1999). Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies (3rd ed.). United States Institute of Peace Press.

Lederach, J. P. (2003). The wow factor and a non-theory of change. In Sampson, C., Abu-Nimer, M., Liebler, C. (Eds.), Positive Approaches to Peacebuilding: A Resource for Innovators (pp. 119–134). Pact Publications.

Levitt, H. M. (2019). APA Style products. Reporting qualitative research in psychology: How to meet APA style journal article reporting standards. American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000121-000

MacDonald, D. B. (2009). Living together or hating each other? In C. Ingrao & T. A. Emmert (Eds.), Confronting the Yugoslav controversies (pp. 391–424). Purdue University Press. https://doi.org/10.1163/187633309x12563839996865

Malley-Morrison, K., Mercurio, A., & Twose, G. (2013). International Handbook of Peace and Reconciliation. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5933-0

Mannergren Selimovic, J. (2015). Challenges of postconflict coexistence: Narrating truth and justice in a Bosnian town. Political Psychology, 36(2), 231–242. https://doi.org/10.1111/pops.12205

Mayring, P. (2014). Qualitative Content Analysis. Theoretical Foundation, Basic Procedures and Software Solution. Open Access Repository. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446282243.n12

Meierhenrich, J. (2008). Varieties of reconciliation. Law and Social Inquiry, 33(1), 195–231. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1747-4469.2008.00098.x

Miheljak, V., Polič, M., Plassaras, A., Tsatsaroni, C., McCarthy, S., Petrović, N., Medvedeva, A., & Yalcinkaya, A. (2013). Definitions of Peace and Reconciliation in Russia and the Balkans. In: Malley-Morrison, K., Mercurio, A., & Twose, G. (Eds.), International Handbook of Peace and Reconciliation (pp. 51–61). Springer.

Moore, C. (2014), The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict, 4th ed. Jossey Bass. https://doi.org/10.1558/mtp.33140

Nadler, A. (2002). Post resolution processes: an instrumental and socio-emotional routes to reconciliation. In G. Salomon & B. Nevo (Eds.), Peace education worldwide: The concept, underlying principles, and research (pp. 127–143). Erlbaum. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781410612458

Nadler, A. (2012). Intergroup Reconciliation: Definitions, Processes, and Future Directions. In: L. Tropp (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Intergroup Conflict (pp. 291–308). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199747672.013.0017

Nadler, A., Malloy, T., & Fisher, J. D. (2008). The Social Psychology of Intergroup Reconciliation. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195300314.001.0001

Niškanović, J., & Petrović, N. (2016). Kolektivna krivica i spremnost na pomirenje: međugeneracijske razlike [Collective guilt and readiness to reconcile intergenerational differences]. Primenjena psihologija, 9(2), 163–175. https://doi.org/10.19090/pp.2016.2.163-175

Noor, M., Brown, R. J., & Prentice, G. (2008). Precursors and mediators of intergroup reconciliation in Northern Ireland: A new model. British Journal of Social Psychology, 47(3), 481–495. https://doi.org/10.1348/014466607X238751

O'hEocha, C., Wang, X., & Conboy, K. (2012). The use of focus groups in complex and pressurised IS studies and evaluation using Klein & Myers principles for interpretive research. Information Systems Journal, 22(3), 235–256. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2575.2011.00387.x

Pavlaković, V. (2014). Symbolic Nation-building and Collective Identities in Post-Yugoslav States. Croatian Political Science Review, 51(5), 7–12.

Petričušić, A., & Blondel, C. (2013). Introduction - Reconciliation in the Western Balkans: New Perspectives and Proposals. Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe, 11(4), 1–6. Retrieved from http://www.ecmi.de/fileadmin/downloads/publications/JEMIE/2012/Petricusic.pdf

Petrović, B., Međedović, J., Radović, O., & Lovrić, S. R. (2019). Conspiracy mentality in post-conflict societies: Relations with the ethos of conflict and readiness for reconciliation. Europe's Journal of Psychology, 15(1), 59–81. https://dx.doi.org/10.5964%2Fejop.v15i1.1695

Petrović, N. (2005). Psihološke osnove pomirenja između Srba, Hrvata i Bošnjaka. [Psychological foundations of reconciliation among Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks] Institut za psihologiju.

Petrović, N. (2017). Human potential for reconciliation: An attempt at the construction of the appropriate scale in the Balkans. Balkan Social Science Review, 9(9), 47–69. https://doi.org/10.5771/9783845247601-227

Pettigrew, T. F. (1998). Intergroup contact theory. Annual review of psychology, 49(1), 65–85. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.49.1.65

Pettigrew, T. F., & Tropp, L. R. (2006). A meta-analytic test of intergroup contact theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90(5), 751–783. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/0022-3514.90.5.751

Pettigrew, T. F., Tropp, L. R., Wagner, U., & Christ, O. (2011). Recent advances in intergroup contact theory. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35(3), 271–280. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2011.03.001

Pratto, F., Žeželj, I., Maloku, E., Turjačanin, V., & Branković, M. (2017). Shaping Social Identities After Violent Conflict: Youth in the Western Balkans. Springer International Publishing AG. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-62021-3

Rigby, A. (2001). Justice and reconciliation: After the violence. Lynne Rienner https://doi.org/10.1017/S000305540222434X

Ruiz Jiménez, J. Á. (2013). Las Sombras De La Barbarie. Confrontación De Memorias Colectivas En Los Países Ex Yugoslavos [The shadow of atrocities. Confrontation of collective memories in ex-Yugoslav countries]. Balkania, 3, 126–151. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107415324.004

Rushton, B. (2006). Truth and reconciliation? The experience of truth commissions. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 60(1), 125–141. https://doi.org/10.1080/10357710500494614

Schubotz, D. (2005). Beyond the orange and the green. The diversification of the qualitative social research landscape in Northern Ireland. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 6, online journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-6.3.11

Shnabel, N., & Nadler, A. (2008). A needs-based model of reconciliation: satisfying the differential emotional needs of victim and perpetrator as a key to promoting reconciliation. Journal of personality and social psychology, 94(1), 116–132. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/0022-3514.94.1.116

Shnabel, N., & Noor, M. (2012). Competitive victimhood among Jewish and Palestinian Israelis reflects differential threats to their identities: The perspective of the needs-based model. In K. J. Jonas & T. A. Morton (Eds.), Social issues and interventions. Restoring civil societies: The psychology of intervention and engagement following crisis (p. 192–207). Wiley-Blackwell. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118347683.ch11

Spasić, I. (2012). Jugoslavija kao mesto normalnog života: sećanja običnih ljudi u Srbiji. [Yugoslavia as a place of ordinary living: memories of common people in Serbia.] Sociologija, 54(4), 577–594. https://doi.org/10.2298/soc1204577s

Spoerri, M. (2012). Justice Imposed: How Policies of Conditionality Effect Transitional Justice in the Former Yugoslavia. In Bieber, F. (Ed.), EU Conditionality in the Western Balkans (pp. 53–78). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.1080/09668136.2011.618682

Spreitzer, G. (2007). Giving peace a chance: Organizational leadership, empowerment, and peace. Journal of Organizational Behavior: The International Journal of Industrial, Occupational and Organizational Psychology and Behavior, 28(8), 1077–1095. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.487

Staub, E. (2005). The origins and evolution of hate, with notes on prevention. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), The psychology of hate (pp. 51–66). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/10930-003

Staub, E. (2006). Reconciliation after genocide, mass killing, or intractable conflict: Understanding the roots of violence, Psychological recovery, and steps toward a general theory. Political Psychology, 27(6), 867–894. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9221.2006.00541.x

Staub, E., & Bar-Tal, D. (2003). Genocide, mass killing and intractable conflict: Roots, evolution, prevention and reconciliation. In D. O. Sears, L. Huddy, & R. Jervis (Eds.), Oxford handbook of political psychology (pp. 710–751). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199747672.013.0016

Staub, E., & Pearlman, L. A. (2006). Advancing healing and reconciliation. In L. Barbanel & R. Sternberg (Eds.), Psychological interventions in times of crisis (pp. 213–245). Springer-Verlag.

Staub, E., Pearlman, L. A., Gubin, A., & Hagengimana, A. (2005). Healing, Reconciliation, Forgiving and the Prevention of Violence after Genocide or Mass Killing: An Intervention and Its Experimental Evaluation in Rwanda. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 24(3), 297–334. https://doi.org/10.1521/jscp.24.3.297.65617

Subotić, J. (2010). Hijacked justice: Dealing with the past in the Balkans. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/s1537592710001854

Taydas, Z., & Peksen, D. (2012). Can states buy peace? Social welfare spending and civil conflicts. Journal of Peace Research, 49(2), 273–287. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0022343311431286

Touquet, H., & Vermeersch, P. (2016). Changing Frames of Reconciliation: The Politics of Peace-Building in the Former Yugoslavia. East European Politics & Societies, 30(1), 55–73. https://doi.org/10.1177/0888325415584048

Turjačanin, V., Dušanić, S., & Lakić, S. (2017). Složeni socijalni identiteti u Bosni i Hercegovini [Complex social identities in Bosnia and Herzegovina]. Markos.

Ugarriza, J. E., & Nussio, E. (2017). The Effect of Perspective-Giving on Postconflict Reconciliation. An Experimental Approach. Political Psychology, 38(1), 3–19. https://doi.org/10.1111/pops.12324

Uluğ, Ö. M., & Cohrs, J. C. (2016). An exploration of lay people’s Kurdish conflict frames in Turkey. Peace and Conflict, 22(2), 109–119. https://doi.org/10.1037/pac0000165

Uluğ, Ö. M., Odağ, Ö., Cohrs, J. C., & Holtz, P. (2017). Understanding the Kurdish conflict through the eyes of Kurds and Turks: New conflict reflections from lay people in Turkey. International Journal of Conflict Management, 28(4), 483–508. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCMA-05-2016-0035

Vollhardt, J. R., & Nair, R. (2018). The two‐sided nature of individual and intragroup experiences in the aftermath of collective victimization: Findings from four diaspora groups. European Journal of Social Psychology, 48(4), 412–432. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2341

Vollhardt, J. R., Mazur, L. B., & Lemahieu, M. (2014). Acknowledgment after mass violence: Effects on psychological well-being and intergroup relations. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 17(3), 306–323. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1368430213517270

Worchel, S., & Coutant, D. K. (2008). Between conflict and reconciliation: Toward a theory of peaceful coexistence. In A. Nadler, T. E. Malloy, & J. D. Fisher (Eds.), The Social Psychology of Intergroup Reconciliation (pp. 15–32). https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195300314.003.0002

Zwierzchowski, J., & Tabeau, E. (2010). The 1992–95 War in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Census-based multiple system estimation of casualties’ undercount. Berlin: Households in Conflict Network and Institute for Economic Research, 539.
Published
09. 07. 2020.
Section
Articles