“Political identity is not a zero-sum game”
How does a community gain a sense of itself through the trauma inflicted in a conflict? This was the question that first presenter Hector Acero Ferrar wrestled over during a panel session about socio-political approaches to peacebuilding. Hector utilized Hannah Arendt’s concept of resistance in a morally bankrupt society to show how victims of trauma can transform their identities from being just a victim. They can become agents of their own stories in the context of peacebuilding.
To construct a space where resistance stories can become liberating requires an idea of identity that allows for a plurality. Second presenter Grace Carhart, in her paper on an ethic of civic selfhood, highlighted that the construction of the self is always mutual; it is in relationship with the other. Spanning the space between us and the other is love. In practical terms, Grace argues, this requires mutual trust between individuals in a country stating, “political identity is not a zero-sum game”.