Towards a spatialised understanding of reconciliation

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    This paper argues that we should conceive of reconciliation spatially in order to unlock new insights into the process of reconciling divided societies. It seeks to respond to recent calls to put peace at the heart of geographical research, and suggests that one way in which the challenge of developing peace geographies can be meaningfully progressed is by exploring the spatial elements of the notion of reconciliation. The paper identifies four areas where a spatialised approach to reconciliation is beginning to emerge across the disciplines of urban planning, legal geographies, political science and international development. These include the role of the built environment as a facilitator of reconciliation, the existence of spatial barriers to reconciliation, the role of formalised spaces of reconciliation and the impact of everyday spaces of reconciliation. The paper interrogates the way that space creates possibilities for processes of reconciliation, and the ways that distinctive types of space are in turn created by these processes. Finally, it suggests fruitful avenues for future research, including by working across disciplines
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)240-247
    Number of pages8
    Issue number2
    Early online date18 Aug 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

    Bibliographical note

    This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Harrowell, E 2018, 'Towards a spatialised understanding of reconciliation' Area, vol. 50, no. 2, pp. 240-247, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


    • reconciliation
    • geographies of peace
    • space
    • peacebuilding


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