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Deconstruction of the UN Discourse on Transitional Justice: An Understanding of Justice and Reconciliation through Derrida’s Concepts
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The present thesis seeks to problematize the UN discourse within transitional justice. Many scholars have pointed out that the discourse has been normalised and that is why it is in need for deconstruction. The study aims to critically analyse how justice and reconciliation are understood in the field. For the purpose of the study Derrida’s concepts on justice and forgiveness have been chosen as theoretical frameworks. The method of study is a deconstructive analysis, based on Derrida’s notion of deconstruction. The method implies analysis of language of the research material, i.e. four UN reports regarding transitional justice from 2004, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

The study has shown, firstly, that the rule of law concept is closely connected with the idea of justice and, secondly, justice is often reduced to accountability. That in turn explains the dominance of the juridical instruments in transitional justice processes. Apart from this, based on Derrida’s concept of forgiveness, reconciliation and mechanisms applied represent a conditional forgiveness, seeking to re-establish normality. Another problem is that reconciliation is not sufficiently approached in the reports. Nevertheless, the history of the transitional justice development has shown that there is a potential for further changes and that is why it necessary to continue question the established norms.  

Finally, deconstruction analysis has proved to be an adequate method for analysing transitional justice discourses and contributed to a nuanced analysis. The use of two languages, English and Russian versions of the reports allowed to identify and visualise some conceptual constructions that could otherwise have been missing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 67 p.
Keyword [en]
authority, accountability, conceptual constructions, deconstruction, Derrida, droit, forgiveness, human rights violations, justice, reconciliation, rule of law, transitional justice
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-275276OAI: diva2:899603
Educational program
Master Programme in Human Rights
Available from: 2016-02-08 Created: 2016-02-02 Last updated: 2016-02-08Bibliographically approved

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