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Transitional justice and liberal post-conflict governance : synergies and symmetries, frictions and contradictions

“Transitional justice” is a field of practice, policy and study that focuses on the ways that societies respond to legacies of large-scale atrocities though tribunals, truth commissions, reparations, and other mechanisms.

Dustin Sharp
08 March 2016
Leiden University Repository

Over the last thirty years, transitional justice has become the globally dominant lens through which we grapple with such legacies. Yet transitional justice practice has rarely reflected the diversity of peace and justice traditions around the world, bound up as it has been with largely liberal and Western conceptions of justice. This thesis examines the frictions and blindspots these dynamics have created, arguing that the liberal transitional justice lens has significantly biased our conceptions of what it means to “do justice” as well as the modalities for bringing justice about. If we are to make transitional justice into a true global project, I argue, we need to revisit and deconstruct the field’s core normative metanarratives and assumptions as a prelude to seeking a more emancipatory ground for transitional justice policy and practice that is true to human rights ideals while becoming more open-textured and attuned to local needs and context.

Ph.D. theses by Leiden Ph.D. students are available digitally through the Leiden Repository after the defense. The site offers free access to these Ph.D. theses. However, in some cases a thesis may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

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