Political reconciliation, the rule of law, and post-traumatic stress disorder

Colleen Murphy

in Trauma, Truth and Reconciliation

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780198569435
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754449 | DOI:

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

Political reconciliation, the rule of law, and post-traumatic stress disorder

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It is common for academics and politicians to call for reconciliation in societies emerging from civil conflict and repressive rule. However, it remains unclear what the call for reconciliation means. In this paper, I discussed one important aspect of the process of reconciliation, namely the restoration of mutual respect for the rule of law. I argued that our understanding of what this process entails can be enriched by looking at the psychological research on PTSD. Not only can academics interested in societies in transition benefit from the research of psychologists, but also psychologists can benefit from the work being done on societal reconciliation. As I suggested in the last section, discussions of societal reconciliation draw attention to the broader social context in which traumatic events occur and highlight the role that this social context might play in influencing what it is possible for individual therapy to achieve.

Chapter.  11194 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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