Gready and Robins on Transitional and Transformative Justice

By Lael Weinberger


From Transitional to Transformative Justice, edited by Paul Gready and Simon Robins, is due out in November from Cambridge University Press. From the Press:

Transitional justice has become the principle lens used by countries emerging from conflict and authoritarian rule to address the legacies of violence and serious human rights abuses. However, as transitional justice practice becomes more institutionalized with support from NGOs and funding from Western donors, questions have been raised about the long term effectiveness of transitional justice mechanisms. Core elements of the paradigm have been subjected to sustained critique, yet there is much less commentary that goes beyond critique to set out, in a comprehensive fashion, what an alternative approach might look like. This volume discusses one such alternative, transformative justice, and positions this quest in the wider context of ongoing fall-out from the 2008 global economic and political crisis, as well as the failure of social justice advocates to respond with imagination and ambition. Drawing on diverse perspectives, contributors illustrate the wide-ranging purchase of transformative justice at both conceptual and empirical levels.

And from the blurbs:

“Transitional justice arrived in the 1990s with great promise, but the results achieved to date have generally been modest at best.  This excellent and cutting-edge volume convincingly argues for a more deeply transformative approach, and the various contributions are consistently critical, constructive, and thought-provoking.  It is the rare volume that combines deep critique with serious engagement with practice.” - Professor Philip Alston - John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law, NYU, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights

“This exciting and important volume explores the potential of transformative justice to radically reform transitional justice in ways that are at once imaginative, ambitious and emancipatory. It deserves to be widely read.” - Professor Andrea Cornwall - Head of the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex

“An important shift is underway in the theory and normative practices associated with post-conflict justice, partly in response to the global expansion of neoliberalism and its impact on conflict-affected societies. This very interesting collection is probably the first volume to explore the tensions and dilemmas that are both driving and impeding the expansion of thinking about justice and associated practices into more transformative frameworks in everyday, rather than solely national or global, contexts.” - Professor Oliver Richmond - Associate Dean for InternationalisationDepartment of Politics/International Relations, University of Manchester

“This is a courageous and forward thinking book. In this collection of essays, Gready and Robins with their well-respected colleagues, have tackled the question of the definition of transitional justice; its limitations, goals, and future. By its focus on transitional justice as transformational justice with attention to local agency, process, pluralism, power, and structures of exclusion, the authors challenge the status quo and raise important questions about the understandings of justice and how meaningful change can occur. This book is an important step forward in the development of what is still a nascent field.” - Professor Harvey Weinstein - Senior Research Fellow, Human Rights Center, Berkeley; Co-Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, International Journal of Transitional Justice