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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.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jun 30, 2014
Journal International social science journal
Print ISSN 0020-8701
Electronic ISSN 1468-2451
Publisher Wiley Open Access
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 65
Issue 215-216
Pages 37-47
Institution Citation 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:
Keywords Victims; Humanitarianism; Northern Ireland; Sri Lanka; South Africa; Post conflict societies


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