What Would Satisfy Us? Taking Stock of Critical Approaches to Transitional Justice

International Journal of Transitional Justice, November 2019 Forthcoming

21 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2019 Last revised: 12 Jul 2019

See all articles by Dustin N. Sharp

Dustin N. Sharp

University of San Diego - School of Peace Studies

Date Written: July 2019

Abstract

In recent years, a distinct critical turn in transitional justice scholarship has emerged, seeking to question the naturalness and inevitability of mainstream transitional justice theory and practice and to envision a broader and more holistic project. While in many ways a positive development, this newfound critical enthusiasm risks producing an unwarranted sense of pessimism and failure. This points to the need to better manage expectations as to what ‘success’ looks like even as we try to re-imagine what transitional justice could become. To these ends, I draw upon and propose revisions to Robert Cox’s famous distinction between problem-solving and critical theory. To better maintain balance and perspective, I argue for the adoption of an ‘integrated’ approach to transitional justice critique that does more to engage with the difficult tradeoffs, policy choices, and contextual realities that would inevitably be associated with efforts to implement an alternative vision of transitional justice.

Keywords: critical theory, transitional justice, problem-solving theory, structural violence, economic justice

Suggested Citation

Sharp, Dustin N., What Would Satisfy Us? Taking Stock of Critical Approaches to Transitional Justice (July 2019). International Journal of Transitional Justice, November 2019 Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3358489 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3358489

Dustin N. Sharp (Contact Author)

University of San Diego - School of Peace Studies ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States

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