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 8: Transitional justice and development

Peter J. Dixon


Both transitional justice and development are oriented toward understanding and influencing interrelated processes of social, political and economic change. As such, the two fields tend to focus on similar countries and contexts. Yet questions about their relationship invoke impassioned arguments about what constitutes legitimate terrain. Both justice and development are flexible and contested concepts that can imply radically different relationships to each other depending on one’s starting point. This chapter analyses their relationship from the perspective of transitional justice scholarship. It outlines the key binaries through which researchers have defined transitional justice according to more focused and expansive conceptions, and describes how each implies a different relationship to development. It then reviews these relationships in practice, where transitional justice mechanisms like reparations and truth commissions can both support and challenge development processes. While scholars have engaged critically and productively with these issues, there are significant questions and opportunities remaining for empirical research. In particular, research on the intersections between development, transitional justice and economic violence is needed. Political and physical violence have constituted the traditional focus of transitional justice scholarship, yet economic violence, which provides the most tangible connections between transitional justice and development, remains relatively under-researched. Development; economic violence; ESC rights; peacebuilding

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