Skip to content Skip to navigation

The "Local Turn" in Transitional Justice: Curb the Enthusiasm

Mar 7 2019

Recent years have witnessed a “local turn” in the study and practice of peace-building, international development, and transitional justice (TJ) that has emphasized the importance of local-level knowledge and initiatives. The proliferation of customary, locally-rooted TJ processes in states that have experienced violence is a part of this trend. While most studies have taken a sanguine view of the cultural and practical advantages of local TJ, Dr. Adam Kochanski contends that existing scholarship neglects the influence of asymmetric power relations and political motivations that have the potential to distort these processes. His presentation invites a more nuanced discussion of local TJ, rooted in systematic and comparative scholarship of how these processes actually operate on the ground, in order to improve understandings of their promise and perils.

Adam Kochanski holds an SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, and is currently a research fellow at Stanford's Handa Center for Human Rights & International Justice. He specializes in international relations with a focus on transitional justice, peace-building and the role of norms in world politics. Adam completed his Ph.D. in political studies at the University of Ottawa in Canada. His dissertation examined the influence of domestic politics and asymmetric power relations on local TJ processes in Cambodia and Mozambique.