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Koers

On-line version ISSN 0023-270X

Abstract

HUGO, C.J.. Dialogical inquiry as an instrument of the reconciliation of conflict in the hands of Christian leaders. Koers (Online) [online]. 2010, vol.75, n.3, pp. 613-630. ISSN 0023-270X.

The apartheid system caused deep rifts in South African society, and even following the dawn of democracy, society in South Africa continues to struggle with violence and conflict, ethnic differences, mass action and poverty. Christian leaders have an important part to play in conflict resolution. Conflict management in organisations incorporates negotiation as a means of conflict resolution. A number of approaches to conflict resolution contribute to this approach; these include forcing, avoiding, accommodating, compromising and collaborating. Christian leaders, however, favour reconciliation as a means of resolving conflict. A Christian approach to conflict resolution needs to take cognisance of the existential aspect of conflict. Examples of such approaches are those of Dreyer, who speaks of reconciliation as a dilemma for forgiveness, and Kistner, who explores the way in which the use of narratives rather than reallife stories in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reduced the severity of trauma. The social construction of trauma in "Mamelodi" by Brigid Hess, which presents a shift from forgiveness to a journey taken along with the perpetrators, and the belief of Desmond Tutu in the healing brought about by the ubuntu philosophy, are evaluated here as being detrimental to reconciliation. Based on the examples cited, an approach to conflict resolution entailing a clear integration of the biblical approach to reconciliation and dialogical inquiry (DI) is proposed as an appropriate intervention approach for Christian leaders. The present contribution is offered from within the discipline of Practical Theology, with a focus on Pastoral Counseling.

Keywords : deep-rooted conflict; dialogical inquiry; intentional dialogue; reconciliation ubuntu.

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