While an extensive part of the conflict transformation literature stresses the importance of transforming the identities of conflict parties through recognition, it fails to recognise the propensity of such transformations to generate ontological insecurity and dissonance, and consequently a possible backlash towards antagonistic identities. Drawing on agonistic thought, we develop a conception of agonistic recognition, premised on non-finalism, pluralist multilogue and disaggregated recognition. We suggest that these elements of agonistic recognition may guard against the development of ontological insecurity and dissonance in recognition processes. We comparatively analyse the connections and tensions between recognition, ontological insecurity/dissonance and identity backlash experienced during the transformation of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict in the context of the Oslo Peace Process in the 1990s and Turkey’s ‘rapprochement’ with Greece in the context of its EU accession process in the 2000s. We also assess the presence of the elements of agonistic recognition in these two conflict transformation processes. Our contribution constitutes an important step towards the specification of agonistic peace in terms of its underlying recognition processes and in developing the empirical study of agonistic elements in actual conflict transformation processes.
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