Alfred Deakin Institute
The Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI) is a leading humanities and social sciences research institute based at Deakin University, Australia. Our researchers aim to understand the complex meanings of citizenship, social inclusion and globalisation, and investigate the imp

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Transitional justice and the politicisation of reconciliation

  • Deakin Downtown Level 12, Tower 2 Docklands Australia (map)
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Professor Gabrielle Lynch (University of Warwick)

Transitional justice mechanisms are informed by a belief that reconciliation is a long and difficult process that requires a level of justice to achieve. However, there is a common tendency – especially amongst political elite – to cast reconciliation as something that can be quickly achieved and as a relationship of trust that is characterised by cohesion. Taking the example of Kenya and the country’s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) (2008-2013) and Jubilee government (2013 to date), the paper looks at how the reality of transitional justice mechanisms as short-term processes can inadvertently strengthen a politicised version of reconciliation. In so doing, the paper echoes scholars such as Leigh Payne and Andrew Schaap in calling for “agonistic reconciliation”, or for a situation in which people can trust that others will continue to respect their right to speak and be heard, but in which they maintain the right to disagree and to protest.

Gabrielle Lynch is a Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Warwick in the UK. She is the author of a number of books, journal articles and book chapters including Performances of Injustice: The politics of truth, justice and reconciliation in Kenya (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

The seminar will be held at Deakin Downtown.


Learn more about the Polis (Politics and International Studies) Research Network at Deakin University.