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This study shows that the nationalist script of de-ethnicization is based on a simplistic binary opposition and remains weak for the same reason why it is intriguing: De-ethnicization is a ‘minority’ project, forbidding and prescribing certain forms of expression and association, while not creating a concomitant attractor in the form of equal participation in state-building and ‘state-sharing’. This paper delineates the ‘repatriation-reconciliation nexus’ and explores the notion of reconciliation-cum-nation building. Moreover, it analyses de-ethnicization as a political project with roots, agents and scripts; assess the major factors that undermine de-ethnicization; and propose an alternative that might avoid its costs. Finally, this paper calls for a more nuanced understanding of ‘post-genocide plurality’, which accommodates yet supersedes difference as an ordering principle in political interaction.

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Refugee Studies Centre

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