n Africa Insight - Collective emotion and communal memory - psychopolitical dimensions of intractable violent conflict

Volume 43, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


Intractable conflicts are different from other conflicts. They resist conflict resolution efforts and have a history of failed peacemaking efforts. Such conflicts may appear to be expressed in terms of resources and negotiated interests but frequently concern the articulation and confrontation of subjective identities and deep-seated needs of survival and recognition. Threats to these core identities unleash primordial collective emotions with dramatic consequences which shape world events. These psychopolitical dimensions of intractable conflict are explored in this article which also describes how unaddressed collective emotions, such as fear, hate and especially humiliation, cause escalating cycles of violence. In particular, the article investigates how collective emotions can be mapped geopolitically to gain a macro understanding of intractable violent conflict.

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