Theorizing Post-Conflict Reconciliation: Agonism, Restitution & Repair, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Theorizing Post-Conflict Reconciliation

Agonism, Restitution & Repair, 1st Edition

Edited by Alexander Hirsch


224 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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The founding of truth commissions, legal tribunals, and public confessionals in places like South Africa, Australia, Yugoslavia, and Chile have attempted to heal wounds and bring about reconciliation in societies divided by a history of violence and conflict.

This volume asks how many of the popular conclusions reached by transitional justice studies fall short, or worse, unwittingly perpetuate the very injustices they aim to suture. Though often well intentioned, these approaches generally resolve in an injunction to "move on," as it were; to leave the painful past behind in the name of a conciliatory future. Through collective acts of apology and forgiveness, so the argument goes, reparation and restoration are imparted, and the writhing conflict of the past is substituted for by the overlapping consensus of community. And yet all too often, the authors of this study maintain, the work done in assuaging past discord serves to further debase and politically neutralize especially the victims of abuse in need of reconciliation and repair in the first place.

Drawing on a wide range of case studies, from South Africa to Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Rwanda and Australia, the authors argue for an alternative approach to post-conflict thought. In so doing, they find inspiration in the vision of politics rendered by new pluralist, new realist, and especially agonistic political theory.

Featuring contributions from both up and coming and well-established scholars this work is essential reading for all those with an interest in restorative justice, conflict resolution and peace studies.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The Agon of Reconciliation Alexander Keller Hirsch 2. Agonism and the Power of Victim Testimony Sonali Chakravarti 3. A Critique of Law’s Violence Yet (Never) to Come: United Nations Transitional Justice Policy and the (Fore)closure of Reconciliation Erik Doxtader 4. Rhetorics of Reconciliation: Shifting Conflict Paradigms in Northern Ireland Adrian Little 5. Fugitive Reconciliation Alexander Keller Hirsch 6. Can Human Beings Forgive? Ethics and Agonism in the Face of Divine Violence James Martel 7. The Unforgiving: Reflections on the Resistance to Forgiveness after Atrocity Thomas Brudholm and Valerie Rosoux 8. Senses of Justice: Bodies, Language and Space Michael J Shapiro 9. The Other is Dead: Mourning, Justice, and the Politics of Burial Bonnie Honig 10. The Elements of Political Reconciliation Ernesto Verdeja 11. Confounded by Recognition: The Apology, the High Court and the Tent Embassy in Australia Paul Muldoon and Andrew Schaap

About the Editor

Alexander Keller Hirsch is Lecturer in the Political Science Department at Northeastern University, and Research Fellow at the University of California Humanities Research Institute, USA.

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

  • Jenny Edkins ( and
  • Nick Vaughan-Williams (

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General