Grassroots peacemaking : the paradox of “reconciliation” in El Salvador
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This paper examines how ex-combatants of El Salvador’s 1980-1992 civil war view post-war processes of reconciliation. I demonstrate that contrary to dominant understandings of ongoing political polarization in El Salvador, perpetuated by Salvadoran political parties, many former army and guerrilla combatants are coexisting in the same communities and working together in various ways. I show how the Salvadoran Peace Accords and the apparent political polarization has opened a space for the recreation of social networks and the creation of communities in post-war societies. I call this process “grassroots peacemaking,”emphasizing the everyday negotiations of remembering and creating new social relations in a nation torn apart by war and violence.