This website represents a summary of the five year Compromise After Conflict research project, directed by Professor John D. Brewer, focusing on the concept as experienced in South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Northern Ireland. Research team members were Professor Bernie Hayes, Professor Shirley Lal Wijesinghe, Dr Francis Teeney,  Dr Katrin Dudgeon, Dr Natascha Mueller-Hirth, and Dr Corinne Caumartin. The research included interviews with 195 respondents: 80 were in Sri Lanka, 75 in Northern Ireland, and 40 in South Africa.  Transcripts run to over half a million words. The findings have been summarised and the website compiled by Dr Erin Parish,  Dr Gareth Higgins, and Tyler McCabe. Illustrations reflecting images evoked by respondents in interviews are by Maria Fernanda Osorio Lopez, a 19 year old Colombian artist, from a small town recently rebuilding after decades of conflict. Website design is by Kaysi Holman. The full archive of interview transcripts will eventually be housed in the UK Data Archive.

The research engages with the complexities of the question: Does compromise lead to a just end to war, or just the end?

One Sri Lankan respondent said that “Peace is not simply the cessation of war or the end of killings, but a joyous state of living together in an atmosphere of true freedom, respect for one another, and fraternal love. It is redistribution of wealth and happiness.”

None of the respondents in the three countries described living in such a state.  Perhaps this is where compromise enters—as a crucial paving stone on the road towards a peace that may never be “a joyous state of living together,” but instead the “just tolerable discomfort” that allows for a non-violent co-existence.

Highlights of the interviews are published here under the following headings and can be read in any order:

  • Meaning of Compromise
  • Feelings of Hope
  • Capacity for Forgiveness
  • Memory
  • Perceptions of Fairness
  • Reciprocity of Concessions
  • Community and Social Networks
  • Class and Economic Inequality
  • Perceptions of Victimhood and Survival
  • Religion
  • Leadership
  • Next Generation
  • Fear and Security
  • Survival