Law and Contemporary Problems
This article introduces a biological approach to understanding resistance to apology, forgiveness, and reconciliation in intergroup conflict. To start with, reconciliation takes place at the level of the individual. To understand resistance to group reconciliation, one must understand why individuals resist reconciliation. In turn, one must understand how membership in the group affects individual resistance. This article first examines the behaviors that promote or discourage reconciliation. Using evolutionary biology and game theory, we illustrate how the strategic dynamics of dyadic interaction tend to favor these behaviors and derive a schema relevant to a reconciliatory cycle. We then explore how the distinct context of intra- and intergroup conflict reinforces these behaviors. Finally, we identify those barriers to individual reconciliation that result from the strategic dynamics of social group architectures, particularly those that differ from the ancestral social architecture within which individual behavior has evolved. We conclude with a brief application of this conceptual approach to truth and reconciliation commissions.
Douglas H. Yarn & Gregory Todd Jones, A Biological Approach to Understanding Resistance to Apology, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation in Group Conflict, Law & Contemp. Probs., Spr. 2009, at 63.
Institutional Repository Citation
Yarn, Douglas H. and Jones, Gregory Todd, "A Biological Approach to Understanding Resistance to Apology, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation in Group Conflict" (2009). Faculty Publications By Year. 45.