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Durham e-Theses
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A Theology of Restitution as Embodied Reconciliation:
A Study of Restitution in a Reconciliation Process in Worcester, South Africa

HILLS, SARAH,ANN (2015) A Theology of Restitution as Embodied Reconciliation:
A Study of Restitution in a Reconciliation Process in Worcester, South Africa.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis explores the concept of restitution through the questions, 'How adequate are the current understandings of restitution in relation to the reconciliation journey?', and 'What would a theology of restitution based on a broader understanding look like?' The nature and role of restitution, or rather its lack, began to seem key to the process of reconciliation.
Restitution in the South African context seemed to be little regarded or acted upon. The hope is that this thesis will make a new contribution to the current understanding of the theology of restitution and as such, provide a bridge from theory to praxis, in order to further the work of reconciliation and healing in situations of conflict, wherever they may arise.
The argument that reconciliation without restitution is at best, only partial, and needs to be based in praxis, led to engaging with a community reconciliation process in Worcester, Western Cape, to seek to understand with them what restitution means, and how it is enacted.
The thesis is based in practical theology in conversation with qualitative research. Twelve interviews and in-depth fieldwork were conducted. Thematic comparative analysis of the data allowed themes to be identified from the interview and observational records, and included cycles of theological reflection.
Exploration of emerging key themes led to the conception of restitution as broader than currently understood: as relational, radical, embodied and embracing. Themes of 'eucharistic space', gift, and embodiment relate restitution to the Eucharist and the body of Christ, as something sacramental, tangible, and communal. The thesis argues that a Eucharistic understanding of restitution and a restitutionary understanding of Eucharist, arrived at through the empirical work, enables a broader understanding of the theology of restitution, which thus enables transformative praxis in the journey towards reconciliation with God and with each other.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:31 Mar 2015 09:56

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