Embedding the Apology in the Media: How Civil Society Contributes to Reconciliation

Project Summary
               Lasting reconciliation with former enemies after a war is a difficult and often distressful process. Peace is not a top down practice and the entire civil society must be involved to make it successful. Official apologies have often been perceived as a symbolic yet effective tool to promote peace and reconciliation, and international regimes are often quoted as the optimal structure to consolidate stability. This project untangles the connections between formal apology, regime building and peace in post-war contexts, illustrating the critical role of media and civil society in influencing collective memory and fostering reconciliation. The case studies of Japan, Germany and Italy provide empirical evidence on how media critically shaped the narration of post-Second World War events and how this interpretation is instrumentally linked to the rhetoric on peace and stability. Interviews and archival research are used to elaborate on new cognitive frameworks and paradigms to transform media, and in particular new media, into powerful tools to spread new values and perspectives, embedding civil society in a virtuous reconciliation process. Findings on media civil society synergies and their capacity to promote new values for the general public will be discussed in workshops, academic journals, policy papers, and a documentary film.

Project Location: Melbourne based project, with fieldwork conducted in Germany, Italy and Japan.
Project Funding: The Toyota Foundation, Japan (5 million yen)

For more information, contact:
Claudia Astarita, Akihiro Ogawa, and Hiroko Aihara