This article draws on law and society theories on the circulation of legal ideas to explain the instrumentalization of transitional justice in Colombia. Most scholarship explains transitional justice as a theoretical framework or as a set of instruments that helps redress mass violence. In contrast, this study reveals that the idea serves as a placeholder for different political actors to promote their respective interests. Drawing on over fifty interviews, the study suggests that the power of transitional justice lies in its malleability, which is both its strength and its weakness, as those with different political agendas can appropriate the idea in contradictory ways. The findings emphasize that understanding transitional justice requires a turn from abstract analyses that either take the idea for granted or try to define its meaning toward examining how people on the ground understand the idea, and how they translate those understandings into political action.
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Rowen: “We Don't Believe in Transitional Justice:” Peace and the Politics of Legal Ideas in Colombia
Jamie Rebecca Rowen (Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst - Political Science and Legal Studies) has published “We Don't Believe in Transitional Justice:” Peace and the Politics of Legal Ideas in Colombia (Law & Social Inquiry, Vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 622–647, Summer 2017). Here's the abstract: