Rethinking temporalities in transition: what restorative justice can teach us about rupture, continuity and transition in Chile

Marit de Haan and Tine Destrooper will present a paper during the Zentrumstage 2020 Conference, organized by the Center for Conflict Studies of Marburg University. The conference with the theme ‘(Re)thinking time and temporalities in peace and conflict’ takes place from 29-31 October 2020 (online).

The paper that will be presented proposes an alternative framework to think about temporalities in transition, building on insights from the field of restorative justice. Almost as soon as post-conflict studies became a prominent field of study, the notion of “post” was problematized for implying a clean break between times of war and times of peace. The field of transitional justice has been more careful in assuming such a clean break, proposing a more elongated understanding of how change unfolds in societies emerging from conflict. However, also transitional justice has been criticized for its short-term orientation, focus on ‘quick fixes’ and its assumption of linear progress towards a liberal ideal. Scholars have argued that a more complex and multi-layered understanding of temporalities is needed that better accommodates the temporal messiness of transitions, including their overlapping temporalities, non-linearity, ongoingness, and circularity. These critiques, however, have not yet resulted in a systematic proposal for rethinking transitional temporalities. This paper builds on insights from the field of restorative justice to develop an alternative framework for thinking about temporality.

This is a crucial exercise, especially if we consider that some of the most paradigmatic cases of “finished” transitional justice processes today seem to raise questions on whether transitions can be understood as delimited in time. Chile is one such case. Considering the expressed needs of victims of human rights violations committed during the military dictatorship and the demands of protesters today suggests that, indeed, the past continues to bear upon the present and the transition is far from “over”. Throughout the paper, we use the case of Chile to illustrate some of the complex temporal dynamics of transition and demonstrate what a different temporal lens could mean for such cases of un/finished transition. Our proposed conceptual framework challenges transitional justice interventions to embrace multi-layeredness and multi-directionality, in order to be fully responsive to victims’ experiences, realities, and understandings of time.

Date & Time

October 30, 2020

09:30 - 11:00


Organized by Center for Conflict Studies, Marburg University