Reconciliation: A Comprehensive Framework for Empirical Analysis

41 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2015 Last revised: 17 Nov 2016

See all articles by Angelika Rettberg

Angelika Rettberg

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Juan Ugarriza

Universidad del Rosario

Date Written: August 20, 2015


There appears to be a rift between the theoretical and normative understandings of what reconciliation means and offers, and what people expect to happen in postconflict scenarios. Here we present a conceptual framework that captures the definitional diversity surrounding the concept of reconciliation and then operationalizes it in order to analyze responses from a representative survey of 1,843 Colombian citizens. The findings show that people’s convictions are just as diverse as scholars’. Nevertheless, significant proportions of respondents seem to understand reconciliation to primarily be a psychological and political process which aims to achieve the re-establishment of quotidian or day-to-day relations and cooperation; which should be preceded by the cessation of violence, dialogue, good-will, and attitudinal and emotional change; and which should be accompanied by social welfare and security. Our proposed framework feeds into the growing interest in understanding the causes and conditions of everyday peace, rather than a sole focus on the larger structural issues. The application of said framework will help to reveal differences between hopes and promises in other postconflict societies, and inform scholarly work and policy-making that is more realistically rooted.

Keywords: Colombia, reconciliation, postconflict, peacebuilding, victims, ex-combatants

Suggested Citation

Rettberg, Angelika and Ugarriza, Juan, Reconciliation: A Comprehensive Framework for Empirical Analysis (August 20, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Angelika Rettberg (Contact Author)

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia ( email )

Carrera Primera # 18A-12
Bogota, DC D.C. 110311

Juan Ugarriza

Universidad del Rosario ( email )

Calle 12 No. 6-25
Bogota, DC

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