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Briony Jones and Ulrike Lühe

The concluding chapter to the book “Knowledge for Peace: Transitional Justice and the Politics of Knowledge in Theory and Practice” takes up the red threads of the contributions, namely the processes and politics of knowledge production and the research-policy-practice nexus and distills the findings and contributions this collection makes. It highlights the multitude of ways through which knowledge in and on transitional justice is produced, including consultations, reports, expert statements, and discursive practices, several of which have been neglected thus far in the literature. It also underlines how central credibility, authority and mobility are for determining what counts as knowledge. Drawing from the insights of the chapters, these concluding remarks emphasizes what we already know from the literature – that it is assumed that the right knowledge is necessary to overcome the challenges of ‘doing’ transitional justice. It also emphasizes the power dynamics that are inherent in ideas of the transferability and universality of knowledge as well as those that shape research partnerships as a particular model of knowledge production. Going beyond this, the chapter adds value to such discussions by unpicking the complexities of the research-policy-practice nexus as a multi-directional intersection in which boundaries are blurred and knowledge, expertise and norms travel in various directions. The way this nexus operates in peacebuilding and transitional justice is itself a practice of power which assigns some actors authority and legitimacy to produce knowledge while at the same time marginalizing others.

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Ulrike Lühe

The politics of knowledge production and expertise in the field of transitional justice have increasingly come under scrutiny from both academics and practitioners. Debates around the nature and use of expertise have largely discussed technical, legalistic forms of knowledge in the hands of a select number of international, professional actors that are transferred and applied in and through policy processes to decision makers and practitioners. What emerges is a static idea of both expertise and policy making as being driven by one (type of) actor, which denies the (political) complexity of both policy making and expertise as a analytical categories. Drawing on practice approaches and assemblage theories in International Relations this chapter contributes to filling these gaps by focusing on the development of the African Union Transitional Justice Policy and investigates how expertise was assembled in the making of the policy. This approach allows new insights into how transitional justice is rendered knowable in specific contexts and how experts meet the shifting demands for expertise in a given policy process.

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Edited by Briony Jones and Ulrike Lühe

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Serge-Alain Yao N’Da and Gilbert Fokou

This chapter is interested on how knowledge asymmetry shapes the process of transitional justice in Côte d'Ivoire. Focussing on the social cohesion process in a post-conflict context, the chapter analyses interactions between the plethora of actors involved in the ‘peace market’. The main interest is in their multiple methodologies, expertise, and sources of knowledge in seeking to define and generate an Ivoirian model of social cohesion. Discussions revolve around competition in the ‘knowledge market’ on social cohesion, hierarchies between non-Ivoirian and Ivoirian actors, and examining various frameworks of reference for action. The international-local dynamic in knowledge production has led to the legitimization of knowledge produced outside of Côte d’Ivoire, and the knowledge and know-how, the theoretical skills and the experience held by these external actors have structured the dependency/interdependence relationship between stakeholders. This politics of knowledge production is justified by a lack of a unifying national social cohesion policy that can deeply impact on the daily lives of Ivoirians. To address the significant asymmetry of knowledge and its relevance for policy and practice, it becomes important for peace actors to rethink their theoretical and methodological approaches by integrating ways of working with local actors to rebalance the skills involved.

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Knowledge for Peace

Transitional Justice and the Politics of Knowledge in Theory and Practice

Edited by Briony Jones and Ulrike Lühe

Combining the knowledge and experience of leading international researchers, practitioners and policy consultants, Knowledge for Peace discusses how we identify, claim and contest the knowledge we have in relation to designing and analysing peacebuilding and transitional justice programmes. Exploring how knowledge in the field is produced, and by whom, the book examines the research-policy-practice nexus, both empirically and conceptually, as an important part of the politics of knowledge production.
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Laurent Goetschel

The rationale for peace research is that the promotion of peace can be improved through adequate knowledge. The general way such knowledge is produced in peace research and how it interacts with the policy of peacebuilding have been debated intensively. However, the dimension of power within the research process has hardly ever been explicitly discussed. This chapter argues that power, beyond being an important component of peacebuilding itself, is also relevant in the sphere of knowledge production. It suggests that a conscious integration of power dimensions into the research process should enhance the quality of research and the impact it has on policy decisions. The chapter specifically describes the relation between peace research and peacebuilding with a focus on power related dimensions and sketches resource asymmetries and the impact of changing political environments that influence these power dimensions. Finally, the concept of conflict sensitivity and the instrument of research partnerships are presented as means to control for power distortions in the production of ‘knowledge for peace’.

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Briony Jones and Ulrike Lühe

This introduction to the book “Knowledge for Peace: Transitional Justice and the Politics of Knowledge in Theory and Practice” explores the overall themes of the book from the perspective of the existing scholarship. These themes center around the transitional justice norm, its emergence and diffusion, the notion of knowledge imperialism or the unequal power relations involved in producing knowledge in and on transitional justice processes, and the ‘local’ in debates around transitional justice knowledge production. It also highlights the research-policy-practice nexus which has often been criticized for blurring the lines between different knowledges and ways of producing and using knowledge. The chapter then explores the central contributions of the book: The interlinkages between the processes and politics of knowledge production, the ways in which these interlinkages shape the politics of knowledge production, and how these set the boundaries of what transitional justice processes, institutions and policies are imagined and enacted. In doing so, particular attention is given to the research-policy-practice nexus, reflecting on how these communities interact, how they are distinguished, and their relevance for the politics of knowledge for justice and peacebuilding.

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Burak Toygar Halistoprak

This chapter focuses on how International Relations (IR) in general, and Peace Studies more specifically, have been engaging with questions regarding the politics of knowledge production. The chapter contextualizes Peace Studies mainly within the general field of IR and investigates the questions raised about knowledge production in these respective literatures. It is argued throughout the chapter that a debate over the conditions that influence knowledge production has the potential to contribute to peace research’s capacity to catalyse change. The debate in the chapter goes beyond a methodological problematization. In that sense, the chapter does not take peace knowledge as the product of a pure academic endeavour but questions it as the outcome of a broader context influenced by social, economic and political dynamics. These dynamics are analysed with specific reference to different schools of thought that shape the meta-theoretical debates in IR and Peace Studies.

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Stanislas Bigirimana

This chapter starts from the premise that ‘scientific’ research is a process of discourse formation. In doing so it draws on the work of Lonergan (1957) which asserts that the process of human knowing is unified but comprises four operations, namely, experiencing, understanding, judging (choosing, deciding) and acting. This conceptual insight is applied here to the case of Burundi in the central African Great Lakes region in order to illuminate how and why the politics of knowledge is relevant both to the phenomenon of violence and its supposed solutions. The politics of knowledge production in Burundi is such that it creates narratives and counter-narratives among Burundian and international scholars, as well as among citizens, the diaspora and the political elites in the country on the various episodes of violence that the country has experienced. Controversial areas include: (1) colonial historiography with its patterns of social and racial stratification, (2) the shift from physical and psychological profiling to ethnicity as an ideology; (3) controversies around which violent events should be labelled genocide, self-defense or massacre; (4) strategies of implicit meanings and downgrading the role of ethnicity in knowledge production in order to package ethnically motivated political claims or hatred into an internationally acceptable discourse of human rights and equality between citizens but also struggle for democracy.

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Kuyang Harriet Logo

This chapter focuses on South Sudan and the challenges around planning for and establishing transitional justice processes in a non-transition context. In particular, the chapter discusses the effects of the politics of knowledge in a context of regional power plays on the creation of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan and on the work of IGAD PLUS in ensuring that the court is set up to try perpetrators of violence. The chapter argues that regional and interest politics have emerged as one of the biggest impediments to the realization of criminal accountability thus far, and that for criminal accountability to be realized, not only must the view and preferences of victims and South Sudanese people be taken seriously, but knowledge generated about the conflict and in regards to accountability and justice in other non-transitional contexts must be taken into account.