In the Shadow of Transitional Justice : Cross-national Perspectives on the Transformative Potential of Remembrance book cover
1st Edition

In the Shadow of Transitional Justice
Cross-national Perspectives on the Transformative Potential of Remembrance

ISBN 9780367765101
Published November 5, 2021 by Routledge
256 Pages

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Book Description

This volume bridges two different research fields and the current debates within them. On the one hand, the transitional justice literature has been shaken by powerful calls to make the doctrine and practice of justice more transformative. On the other hand, collective memory studies now tend to look more closely at meaningful silences to make sense of what nations leave out when they remember their pasts. The book extends the scope of this heuristic approach to the different mechanisms that come under the umbrella of transitional justice, including legal prosecution, truth-seeking and reparations, alongside memorialisation.

The 15 chapters included in the volume, written by expert scholars from diverse disciplinary and societal backgrounds, explore a range of practices intended to deal with the past, and how making the invisible visible again can make transitional justice - or indeed, any societal engagement with the past - more transformative. Seeking to combine contextual depth and comparative width, the book features two key case analyses - South Africa and Sri Lanka - alongside discussions of multiple cases, including such emblematic sites as Rwanda and Argentina, but also sites better known for resisting than for embracing international norms of transitional justice, such as Turkey or Côte d’Ivoire. The different contributions, grouped in themed sections, progressively explore the issues, actors and resources that are typically forgotten when societies celebrate their pasts rather than mourning their losses and, in doing so, open new possibilities to build more inclusive processes for addressing the present consequences of past injustice.

Table of Contents


1 Spotlights and shadows: Revisiting the scope of transitional justice

Guy Elcheroth and Neloufer De Mel

Part I: Commemoration as Celebration

2 Celebrating the end of apartheid

Tim Murithi

3 Commemorating genocide in Rwanda

Erin Jessee

4 Victory celebration and the unmaking of diversity in post-war Sri Lanka

Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

Part II: Forgotten Issues

5 Social justice and the persistence of racialized segregation

Kevin Durrheim and Amy Jo Murray

6 Intergenerational justice

Esther Surenthiraraj

7 Non-citizens’ rights: Xenophobia, nationalism and struggle post transition

Philippa Kerr and John Dixon

Part III: Forgotten Actors

8 Diaspora communities in transitional justice: A hidden presence

Stephan Parmentier, Mina Rauschenbach and Laura Hein

9 Rural women and their access to the law: Gendering the promise of postwar justice

Neloufer De Mel and Danushka Medawatte

10 Former combatants: Assessing their reintegration ten years after the end of war

Ramila Usoof-Thowfeek and Viyanga Gunasekera

Part IV: Forgotten Resources

11 Constructive resistance and the importance of not knowing in transitional justice

Briony Jones

12 Inclusive narratives of suffering

Johanna Ray Vollhardt, Michelle Sinayobye Twali and Sumedha Jayakody

13 How crowds transfom identities

Yasemin Gülsüm Acar and Stephen Reicher

14 Collective resilience

Sandra Penic, John Drury and Zacharia Bady


15 On the futures of reckoning with the past

Neloufer De Mel and Guy Elcheroth

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Guy Elcheroth is Professor of Social Psychology at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and Academic Director of the Lausanne Summer School on Transitional Justice and Conflict Transformation.

Neloufer de Mel is Senior Professor of English (Chair) at the Department of English, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, and Co-director of the GCRF Gender, Justice and Security Research Hub.