Good Fences Make Good Neighbours: Assessing the Role of Consociational Politics in Transitional Justice

Power-Sharing: Empirical and Normative Challenges (Allison McCullough and John McGarry, eds., Routledge, Forthcoming 2017)

Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-06

Posted: 21 Feb 2017

See all articles by Kris Brown

Kris Brown

Ulster University - Transitional Justice Institute

Fionnuala D. Ni Aolain

University of Minnesota Law School; Ulster University - Transitional Justice Institute; University of Ulster - Transitional Justice Institute

Date Written: February 20, 2017

Abstract

This chapter reflects upon the relationship of transitional justice (TJ) theory and practice and consociational theory and practice to transitional solutions in deeply divided ethnic polities. We address the identity politics of transitional justice and the political forms that enable, define and consume transition with a particular hew to power-sharing and consociationalism-type arrangements in the aftermath of systematic atrocity or sustained repression. We provide a pragmatic, perhaps skeptical, account of the triumph of consociationalism as the preferred transitional accommodation, and point to the ‘dark side’ of governance arrangements in post-conflict settings with implications for understanding cycles of violence and repeat conflict patterns. We are particularly drawn to exploring the ways in which, despite substantive acknowledgement of the limits of consociationalism, it continues to be the preferred solution offered by internationally and bilaterally mediated peace negotiations as a means to address the governance crisis of deeply divided societies. We address a range of issues, including how transitional justice relates to different forms of power-sharing, the tensions in the peace vs. justice debates which are central to TJ theory and practice and how they interact with consociational forms of governance, the relationship between community vs. individual rights in consociational settlements, and how the emphasis on TJ theory and practice on ‘bottom-up, victim-led’ processes engages with consociational debate on grassroots vs. elite interactions. We map some of the positive and negative connections between transitional justice and consociationalism, and explore the meeting points between transitional justice, consociationalism and ethno-nationalism. We address some overlapping preoccupations that cut across both transitional justice and consociationalism, in particular their mutual engagement on elites, and explore how both could singularly and cooperatively benefit from a focus on the local.

Keywords: Transitional Justice, power-sharing, conflict, amnesty, accountability

Suggested Citation

Brown, Kris and Ni Aolain, Fionnuala D., Good Fences Make Good Neighbours: Assessing the Role of Consociational Politics in Transitional Justice (February 20, 2017). Power-Sharing: Empirical and Normative Challenges (Allison McCullough and John McGarry, eds., Routledge, Forthcoming 2017); Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2920849

Kris Brown

Ulster University - Transitional Justice Institute ( email )

Shore Road
Newtownabbey, County Antrim BT37 OQB
Northern Ireland

HOME PAGE: http://www.transitionaljustice.ulster.ac.uk/index.html

Fionnuala D. Ni Aolain (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota Law School ( email )

229 19th Ave. So.
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
612-624-2318 (Phone)
612-625-2011 (Fax)

Ulster University - Transitional Justice Institute ( email )

Shore Road
Newtownabbey, County Antrim BT37 OQB
Northern Ireland

University of Ulster - Transitional Justice Institute ( email )

Northland Road
Londonderry, BT48 7JL
Ireland

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
414
PlumX Metrics