Presentation by Tine Destrooper at the 26th world congress of the International Political Science Association.
The question of how to prevent or transform violent conflict is not only important for (post-)conflict countries. Also established democracies in Europe and North America are – in an increasingly urgent manner – confronted with questions of how to constructively address and transform latent conflicts and social polarization, in order to avoid these from degenerating into violent conflict, and to protect democratic principles and human rights. These established democracies are increasingly exploring the role education can play in transforming these latent conflicts or in preventing that they evolve into violent conflict. In doing so, insights are usually drawn from critical pedagogy and peace education. A field of practice that has been left notoriously untapped is that of transitional justice (TJ). This is hard to justify since many TJ interventions share the same aim of conflict prevention/transformation, and the same focus on educational reform to achieve this. I argue that certain elements of the existing TJ toolbox are also relevant for dealing with – latent – conflicts and social polarization in established democracies, especially when it comes to those forward-looking elements of TJ interventions, such as TJ’s programmatic efforts to restore civic trust in state institutions and among citizens. As such, there is a wealth of experience, expertise and best practices that are available among TJ practitioners and educational practitioners from post-conflict societies, that is highly relevant for addressing some of the challenges that established democracies are facing today, but that is not being used. This situation has also been addressed in the publications of several UN bodies (e.g. the UN Advisory Group and the UN Framework Team), which promoted a broader understanding of TJ interventions that should not be limited to post-conflict settings and that would be more holistic, proactive and linked to the protection of human rights. This paper will explore (a) the possibility of developing a measurement toolkit to identify what worked where and why, (b) what best practices exist in post-conflict societies, and (c) how we can think about integrating and sharing best practices across vastly different contexts.
Date & Time
July 25, 2020
Organized by International Political Science Association