17. Confronting the Past to Create a Better Future

The Antecedents and Benefits of Intergroup Forgiveness

  1. Assaad E. Azzi Professor director2,
  2. Xenia Chryssochoou Associate Professor3,
  3. Bert Klandermans Professor4 and
  4. Bernd Simon Professor Directors5
  1. Nyla R. Branscombe Professor of Social Psychology and
  2. Tracey Cronin PhD

Published Online: 12 OCT 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444328158.ch17

Identity and Participation in Culturally Diverse Societies

Identity and Participation in Culturally Diverse Societies

How to Cite

Branscombe, N. R. and Cronin, T. (2010) Confronting the Past to Create a Better Future, in Identity and Participation in Culturally Diverse Societies (eds A. E. Azzi, X. Chryssochoou, B. Klandermans and B. Simon), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444328158.ch17

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium

  2. 3

    Panteion University (Athens, Greece)

  3. 4

    Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  4. 5

    Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel, Germany

Author Information

  1. University of Kansas, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 12 OCT 2010
  2. Published Print: 8 OCT 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405199476

Online ISBN: 9781444328158



  • confronting the past to create a better future - antecedents and benefits of intergroup forgiveness;
  • South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) - world recognition, restorative forms of justice;
  • South African TRC, with its flaws - working model of restorative justice, disparate groups living together peacefully;
  • reconciliation, emotional processes - distinct from conflict resolution;
  • importance of reconciling with the past;
  • benefits associated with truth - telling reconciliation processes for groups in power;
  • perpetrator guilt - motivating transgressors to offer an apology;
  • Tavuchis argues that apology, a painful, self-punishing, symbolic gesture - serving several purposes;
  • interpersonal level, forgiveness - thought to occur when victims release angry or resentful feelings about transgression;
  • South African TRC, built on a psychotherapeutic model of healing - painful and difficult task of recounting horrors of past will


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Reconciliation: What It Is and What It Is Not

  • The Importance of Reconciling with the Past

  • Antecedents to Reconciliation

  • Importance of Perpetrator Guilt

  • Importance of Apology

  • The Importance of Forgiveness

  • The Costs of Forgiving

  • Conclusions

  • References