Research Handbook on Transitional Justice
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Research Handbook on Transitional Justice

Edited by Cheryl Lawther, Luke Moffett and Dov Jacobs

Providing detailed and comprehensive coverage of the transitional justice field, this Research Handbook brings together leading scholars and practitioners to explore how societies deal with mass atrocities after periods of dictatorship or conflict. Situating the development of transitional justice in its historical context, social and political context, it analyses the legal instruments that have emerged.
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Chapter 3: Transitional justice and critique

Catherine Turner


Since it emerged, the term transitional justice has been applied in divergent geographical and political contexts. This has brought a number of different perspectives to bear on the question of how states deal with a legacy of violence and trauma. However following the years in which the ‘field’ was established, there is now a rich vein of critique that seeks to subject not only the operation but also the foundational assumptions of transitional justice to critique. These critiques have exposed the limits of the field, and with them its constitutive inclusions and exclusions. This chapter maps the existence of critique in the transitional justice literature. It is structured around two core questions: where do we find critique of transitional justice; and what do these critiques add to our understanding of transitional justice as both a field of inquiry and/or practice? By approaching critique in this manner, the chapter emphasizes the importance of adopting a critical approach to transitional justice and explores the contribution that critique can make to its evolution as a field of inquiry and practice. Law; critique; silence; invisibility

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