Identity, Reconciliation and Transitional Justice: Overcoming Intractability in Divided Societies, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Identity, Reconciliation and Transitional Justice

Overcoming Intractability in Divided Societies, 1st Edition

By Nevin Aiken


272 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Identity, Reconciliation and Transitional Justice: Overcoming Intractability analyses how the mechanisms of transitional justice have a part to play in promoting reconciliation and sustainable peace in transitional societies: helping social groups deeply divided by past violence to overcome existing antagonisms and to build more positive relationships with one another. Whilst there is an emerging consensus that a causal link does exist between transitional justice, reconciliation, and sustainable peace, to date the actual processes underlying this relationship have been left undertheorized and largely unspecified. This theoretical gap is attributable, at least in part, to the very limited dialogue between transitional justice scholars and the growing number of conflict transformation theorists from the related disciplines of political science, conflict resolution, and social psychology. In particular, recent conflict transformation work highlights the central role that group or ‘collective’ identities play in the commission and perpetuation of ethnonational violence, and suggests the need to transform these identities and their antagonistic relationships in order to advance societal reconciliation and sustainable peace. Drawing upon an interdisciplinary synthesis of transitional justice and conflict transformation literatures, and addressing the different interventions adopted in the deeply divided societies of South Africa and Northern Ireland, this book outlines an innovative framework that traces the complex linkages between identity, transitional justice, and intergroup reconciliation in deeply divided post-conflict environments. It will be of considerable interest to those working in the area of transitional justice.


This book offers both scholars and practitioners an overview of recent literature in transitional justice and reconciliation, but also a timely contribution of a theoretical framework that can be used in the context of post-conflict societies when instituting policies. Further, it applies the theoretical framework and offers a wealth of empirical data on the transitional justice approaches in Northern Ireland and in South Africa.

- Dženeta Karabegovic, University of Warwick

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Identity, Reconciliation, and Transitional Justice; Chapter 2: A Social Learning Model of Transitional Justice; Chapter 3: Decentralized Transitional Justice in Northern Ireland; Chapter 4: The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Insights and Implications for Transitional Justice

About the Series

Transitional Justice

The study of transitional justice has emerged as one of the most diverse and intellectual exciting developments in the social sciences in the last two decades. From its origins in human rights activism and comparative political science the field is increasingly characterised by its geographic and disciplinary breadth. Routledge’s Transitional Justice series publishes innovative work across a range of disciplines working on transitional justice related topics: including law, sociology, criminology, psychology, anthropology, political science, development studies and international relations.

The series includes titles which address larger theoretical questions on transitional justice, including the intersection of notions such as justice, truth, accountability, impunity and the construction of transitional justice knowledge. It also contains critical and theoretically informed empirical work on the workings of institutions such as truth commissions, community based reconciliation, victim empowerment, ex-combatant demobilisation, or regional discussions on practical programmes in particular areas. Finally, the series covers the legal aspects of transitional justice; although, avoiding dry, overly technical or dull legal texts, it specialises in a style of legal scholarship that reflects the energy and vitality of this exciting field.

For further details on the series please contact the Series Editor.

Kieran McEvoy

Professor of Law and Transitional Justice

School of Law

Queens University Belfast


44 (0) 2890973873

[email protected]

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / Comparative
LAW / Criminal Law / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology