Overcoming Historical Injustices: Land Reconciliation in South Africa

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Cambridge University Press, Jul 20, 2009 - Political Science
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Overcoming Historical Injustices is the last entry in Gibson's 'overcoming trilogy' on South Africa's transformation from apartheid to democracy. Focusing on the issue of historical land dispossessions - the taking of African land under colonialism and apartheid - this book investigates the judgements South Africans make about the fairness of their country's past. Should, for instance, land seized under apartheid be returned today to its rightful owner? Gibson's research zeroes in on group identities and attachments as the thread that connects people to the past. Even when individuals have experienced no direct harm in the past, they care about the fairness of the treatment of their group to the extent that they identify with that group. Gibson's analysis shows that land issues in contemporary South Africa are salient, volatile, and enshrouded in symbols and, most important, that interracial differences in understandings of the past and preferences for the future are profound.

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About the author (2009)

James L. Gibson is currently the Sidney W. Souers Professor of Government at Washington University in St Louis. Gibson has published more than 100 refereed articles and chapters, in a wide range of national and international social-scientific journals, including all of the leading political science journals. He has also published five books, including the award-winning Overcoming Apartheid: Can Truth Reconcile a Divided Nation? and Citizens, Courts, and Confirmations: Positivity Theory and the Judgments of the American People (co-authored with Gregory A. Caldeira, forthcoming). Gibson has served as the President of the Midwest Political Science Association and as an officer of the American Political Science Association. His research has been recognized with numerous awards. Gibson's overall research agenda on democratization was recognized with the 2005 Decade of Behavior Research Award.

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