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Victims as moral beacons of humanitarianism in post-conflict societies.

Brewer, John D.; Hayes, Bernadette C.; Dudgeon, Katrin; Mueller-Hirth, Natascha; Teeney, Francis; Wijesinghe, Shirley-Lal


John D. Brewer

Bernadette C. Hayes

Katrin Dudgeon

Francis Teeney

Shirley-Lal Wijesinghe


This paper reports on interview data amongst victims of conflict and organised violence. Despite their victimhood, they evince a level of forgivingness, civility and tolerance that constructs in the very acts of atrocity that portend its demise, a form of humanitarianism which enables victims to be moral beacons in post-conflict societies that otherwise are largely devoid of any a moral or sacred canopy. Data cover victims in Sri Lanka, South Africa and Northern Ireland. The theoretical contribution of the paper is to proffer a view that humanitarianism in societies emerging out of conflict is best understood as a social practice constituted by victims' practices for tolerance and civility. This makes humanitarianism pro-social, having the potential to affect social consciousness and social understandings in post-conflict societies and to assist in the remaking of society after conflict.


BREWER, J.D., HAYES, B.C., DUDGEON, K., MUELLER-HIRTH, N., TEENEY, F. and WIJESINGHE, S.-L. 2014. Victims as moral beacons of humanitarianism in post-conflict societies. International social science journal [online], 65(215-216), pages 37-47. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 23, 2016
Online Publication Date Feb 10, 2017
Publication Date Jun 30, 2014
Deposit Date Sep 9, 2016
Publicly Available Date Sep 9, 2016
Journal International social science journal
Print ISSN 0020-8701
Electronic ISSN 1468-2451
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 65
Issue 215-216
Pages 37-47
Keywords Victims; Humanitarianism; Northern Ireland; Sri Lanka; South Africa; Post conflict societies
Public URL


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