Transitional Justice Theories: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Transitional Justice Theories

1st Edition

Edited by Susanne Buckley-Zistel, Teresa Koloma Beck, Christian Braun, Friederike Mieth


240 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Transitional Justice Theories is the first volume to approach the politically sensitive subject of post-conflict or post-authoritarian justice from a theoretical perspective. It combines contributions from distinguished scholars and practitioners as well as from emerging academics from different disciplines and provides an overview of conceptual approaches to the field. The volume seeks to refine our understanding of transitional justice by exploring often unarticulated assumptions that guide discourse and practice. To this end, it offers a wide selection of approaches from various theoretical traditions ranging from normative theory to critical theory. In their individual chapters, the authors explore the concept of transitional justice itself and its foundations, such as reconciliation, memory, and truth, as well as intersections, such as reparations, peace building, and norm compliance.

This book will be of particular interest for scholars and students of law, peace and conflict studies, and human rights studies. Even though highly theoretical, the chapters provide an easy read for a wide audience including readers not familiar with theoretical investigations. 


"The breadth of contributions and the variety of approaches make Transitional Justice Theories a thought-provoking book and an important resource for those interested in the theoretical aspect of transitional justice"

- Marcos Zunnio, Queens College Cambridge, UK

"This volume covers an impressive breadth of conceptual discussion of transitional justice."

-Rita Shackel, Current Issues in Criminal Justice

"Overall, Transitional Justice Theories is packed with consistently informative, engaging, and thought-provoking essays that are sure to grab the attention of anyone interested in justice on an international scale. The fact that the volume approaches transitional justice theory and its problems from a multi-disciplinary standpoint ensures a greater potential for the proliferation of discourse within this area that is able to respond to the issues raised by the authors. The book's authors refrain from attempts at drawing conclusions to theoretical transitional justice, and instead issues are often left open to the interpolation of alternative or less congenial ways of thinking about the dominance of Western legal discourse within the transitional justice framework, offering the opportunity for further scholarly discussion and development."

-Pedram Esfandiary, Nottingham Trent University, Internet Journal of Criminology

Table of Contents

Transitional Justice Theories: An Introduction Susanne Buckley-Zistel, Teresa Koloma Beck, Christian Braun, and Friederike Mieth Part One: Theorizing Transitional Justice Chapter 1 Transformative Justice, Reconciliation, and Peacebuilding Wendy Lambourne Chapter 2 Rethinking Reconciliation in Divided Societies: A Social Learning Theory of Transitional Justice Nevin T. Aiken Chapter 3 The Plural Justice Aims of Reparations Lisa J. Laplante Chapter 4 Political Liberalism after Mass Violence: John Rawls and a ‘Theory’ of Transitional Justice Kora Andrieu Chapter 5 The Vertical and Horizontal Expansion of Transitional Justice: Explanations and Implications for a Contested Field Thomas Obel Hansen Part Two Exploring the Limits of Transitional Justice Chapter 6 Bargaining Justice: A Theory of Transitional Justice Compliance Jelena Subotić Chapter 7 Narrative Truths: On the Construction of the Past in Truth Commissions Susanne Buckley-Zistel Chapter 8 Redressive Politics and the Nexus of Trauma, Transitional Justice, and Reconciliation Magdalena Zolkos Chapter 9 Forgetting the Embodied Past: Body Memory in Transitional Justice Teresa Koloma Beck Chapter 10 Understanding the Political Economy of Transitional Justice: A Critical Theory Perspective Hannah Franzki and Maria Carolina Olarte

About the Editors

The editors are based at the Centre for Conflict Studies, at Philipps University, Marburg

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

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / Criminal Law / General
LAW / Gender & the Law
LAW / International
LAW / Remedies & Damages
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Human Rights
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Violence in Society