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Extra resources for Conflict Transformation and Social Change in Uganda: Remembering after Violence
Mediating conflicts thus takes on the form of reconciling divergent interests in order to maintain the physical existence and spiritual well-being of the entire community. One of the key functions of traditional conflict management is to structure the actors’ actions. 72 Regarding the first element, cognition organises thinking, introduces meaning and structures behaviour. It thus governs the conduct of the mediators. Different from Western, modern societies, in non-modern societies people think mainly in global, holistic terms, that is, all elements of a situation are captured simultaneously under the shape of a whole that is non-fractional.
Harmony is such a crucial value that a hostile attitude between disputing parties can be as much penalized as the crime at the origin of the conflict. 70 Restitution, the second aspect, is a necessary mechanism by which to restore harmony. The objective is restorative justice, that is, to restore social relationships and harmony. By contrast, the punishment of the offender, as practised in the Western punitive justice systems, would be understood as a further injury to the community. 71 Traditional conflict management does not understand a dispute to exist between two parties, but between the culprit and the whole community, that is, harm has been done to the whole group.
16 This right to exist can only be challenged by somebody who is not a member of my particular identity group – it can only be the indispensable other who has the ability to deprive us of our identity. So far we have established that the existence of a self is ultimately linked to an other. Inside the spatio-temporal boundaries, identity is produced and reproduced through routinised practice. Agency is meaningful for it is conducted along the lines of collective memory traces which allow for knowledge among the members of a discourse.