My research integrates social psychology and social policy to bring about positive change in transitional societies, groups, couples and individuals struggling to achieve complete “forgiveness and reconciliation” due to pre-existing injustices. Specifically, I am exploring the concept of racial repair as a missing component in creating a better world in certain areas. My work is centred on post-apartheid South Africa, where significant inequalities still persist, and I contend that such a scenario is problematic for forgiveness processes. The example of post-apartheid South Africa is used as a heuristic device to examine forgiveness, where the institutionalised system of racial segregation caused widespread human rights abuses and trauma.
In addition, I am examining the potential of forgiveness in psychology to improve mental health outcomes. My research aims to develop a critical perspective on recognising and addressing communities that have suffered from historical injustices to build stable and tolerant societies. I argue that forgiveness leads to psychological and physiological wellness and protects against future disturbances. My work is built around Fraser's (1997, 2000, 2003) theoretical framework of social justice and my primary research in post-apartheid South Africa. I also examine the feasibility and effectiveness of the TRC-proposed solidarity tax to achieve forgiveness/reconciliation.
I believe that psychologists and policymakers must offer diverse strategies to help people forgive, whether in post-conflict, workplace settings, or dyadic relationships. Forgiveness is a valuable conflict management strategy with numerous benefits. Furthermore, I explore forgiveness therapy process models of interventions to alleviate perpetual anger, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I aim to heal social pain through practical and cognitive approaches, helping warring groups view their former “enemies” as wounded human beings rather than stereotyping them. I hope to inspire others to work towards a more just and forgiving world through my research.
PhD Social Policy
7 Sept 2010 → 30 Sept 2013
Award Date: 7 Feb 2014
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