‘Reconciliation came rather naturally (secara alami), when we became aware of the disastrous effects of the conflict and the need to restrengthen our culture, our adat, and our identity (budaya, adat, dan jati diri).’ This was the tenor of the many Moluccan villagers I spoke to during fieldwork in post-conflict Maluku. At the same time, the quotation expresses a broader trend in a much broader field: the emerging cultural turn in peace research. The cultural turn implies the increasing importance peace studies as well as national and international peace organizations attribute to ‘culture’, ‘the local’, and ‘local ownership’ for peacebuilding — the cultural dimension of reconciliation. To elucidate why this paradigm shift did (and had to) come about, this chapter first introduces two concepts closely related to current international discourses on peace-building: reconciliation and transitional justice. Transitional justice mechanisms are intended to be a means to build (sustainable) peace, which is a prerequisite for long-term reconciliation. Throwing a critical light on key terms in those debates such as justice, truth, and liberalism — concepts that are greatly determined by Western political sciences jargon — helps to explain the so-called rise of the local and the increasing integration of traditional justice into transitional justice packages.
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- The Emerging Cultural Turn in Peace Research
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