How do societies come to terms with the aftermath of genocide and mass violence, and how might the international community contribute to this process? Recently, transitional justice mechanisms such as tribunals and truth commissions have emerged as a favored means of redress. Transitional Justice, the first edited collection in anthropology focused directly on this issue, argues that, however well-intentioned, transitional justice needs to more deeply grapple with the complexities of global and transnational involvements and the local on-the-ground realities with which they intersect.Contributors consider what justice means and how it is negotiated in different localities where transitional justice efforts are underway after genocide and mass atrocity. They address a variety of mechanisms, among them, a memorial site in Bali, truth commissions in Argentina and Chile, First Nations treaty negotiations in Canada, violent youth groups in northern Nigeria, the murder of young women in post-conflict Guatemala, and the gacaca courts in Rwanda.
"This superb collection of essays illustrates well the messiness that underlies the evolving concept of transitional justice. By casting an anthropological eye on the real world of local justice—on the ground and buffeted by history, politics, globalized discourse, rituals, and power relationships—this volume makes an important contribution to our understanding of transitional justice and in particular, the assumptions that have framed its initiation and development. Most importantly, these essays raise the critical question of whether we have limited our perspectives prematurely and accepted too restrictive a definition of the field."
—Harvey M. Weinstein, Co-editor-in-chief, International Journal of Transitional Justice
"Transitional justice offers great promise of reconciling past wrongs and conflicts, but we know relatively little about its local effects. This excellent anthropological collection gives a rich and complex story of how it works in practice."
—Sally Engle Merry, New York University, [Director, Program on Law and Society, and Professor, Depar
Author / Editor Bio
ALEXANDER LABAN HINTON is the director of the Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution, and Human Rights and a professor of anthropology and global affairs at Rutgers University, Newark. He is the author of the award-winning Why Did They Kill? Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide.