Transformative Justice: Remedying Human Rights Violations Beyond Transition, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Transformative Justice

Remedying Human Rights Violations Beyond Transition, 1st Edition

By Matthew Evans


152 pages

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pub: 2020-01-14
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Transitional justice mechanisms employed in post-conflict and post-authoritarian contexts have largely focused upon individual violations of a narrow set of civil and political rights, as well as the provision of legal and quasi-legal remedies, such as truth commissions, amnesties and prosecutions. In contrast, this book highlights the significance of structural violence in producing and reproducing rights violations. The book further argues that, in order to remedy structural violations of human rights, there is a need to utilise a different toolkit from that typically employed in transitional justice contexts. The book sets out and applies a definition of transformative justice as expanding upon, and providing an alternative to, transitional justice. Focusing on a comparative study of social movements, nongovernmental organisations and trade unions working on land and housing rights in South Africa, and their network relationships, the book argues that networks of this kind make an important contribution to processes advancing transformative justice.

Table of Contents

Table of contents

Lists of tables and figures



List of abbreviations

  1. Introduction
  2. Introduction

    Background and context

    Transitional justice and transformative justice in South Africa

    Land and housing

    Advocacy networks

    Action taken by networks

    Structure, composition, capacity and resources

    Positioning of NGOs, trade unions and social movements in South Africa

    Aims and objectives of the book



    Political responsibility

    Research design

    Case study research

    Limits of case study research

    The case study in this book

    Case selection and purpose

    Research strategy

    Research tools and methods

    Use of sociograms

    Scope and contribution of the study

    Structure of the book

  3. Structural violence, socioeconomic rights and transformative justice
  4. Introduction

    Structural violence and shortcomings of transitional justice

    Structural violence

    Critique of transitional justice

    Defining transformative justice

    Applying concepts to the case study of South Africa

    Relevant actors and relationships for a transformative approach


  5. Network relationships, existing ties and opportunities
  6. Introduction

    The case study network

    Interpreting data on network relationships

    Mapping the network diagrammatically

    Interrogating assumptions from the literature

    Boomerangs and spirals

    Framing, expertise and venue shopping

    Key findings from mapping the network

    What kinds of ties already exist?

    The Housing Assembly

    The Poor People’s Alliance

    Ties between both clusters

    What threats to and opportunities for more effective collaboration exist?

    Specific characteristics of trade unions

    Capacity and resources of social movements and community based organisations

    Personalities, politics and organisational governance

    Shared rhetorical commitments


  7. Threats, limitations and political responsibilities in the network
  8. Introduction

    The Housing Assembly and the Poor People’s Alliance

    Dividing political arenas

    Agenda setting and strategy building

    Raising and allocating financial resources


    Formalisation of relationships

    Transformative justice and political responsibilities of the network

    Dividing political arenas

    Agenda setting and strategy building

    Raising and allocating financial resources


    Formalisation of relationships


  9. Transformative justice processes, policies and practice
  10. Introduction

    The scope for transformative justice policies, practices and processes in South Africa

    Lessons for understanding the potential for transformative justice policies and practices

    Mapping participation in the case study network

    Relationships within the case study network

    Evaluating political responsibility of the case study network


    Processes of transformative justice

    Outcomes and resources

    Political responsibility and transformative justice

  11. Conclusion


The importance of power and of political responsibilities

Lessons for research and practice

Key contributions of the book

What this book does not do

Concluding remarks


About the Author

Matthew Evans is a Teaching Fellow in Law, Politics and Sociology at the School of Law, Politics and Sociology, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK, and Visiting Researcher in Political Studies at the School of Social Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

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 / Criminal Law / General
LAW / Judicial Power
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Human Rights
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Genocide & War Crimes
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology