Meaningful Engagement from the Bottom-Up? Taking Stock of Participation in Transitional Justice Processes

Oxford University Press (OUP)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Transitional Justice, 2022, 16, (2), pp. 187-203
Issue Date:
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This article surveys the literature on participation in transitional justice (TJ) focusing primarily on victims and bottom-up actors. We argue that often the preoccupation in TJ has been with greater rather than more meaningful participation, and that there needs to be a concerted effort to focus on everyday actors, including their voices, needs and priorities. Consideration also needs to be given as to whether meaningful participation can occur without genuine obligation and commitment to heeding participants' input, and greater consideration is required to measure and build an evidence-base regarding participatory TJ efforts and their outcomes. We advocate for further discussion in theory and in practice about how participation in TJ can be reimagined toward actor oriented, bottom-up led processes that lead to meaningful outcomes. We suggest that TJ specific participation considerations are required and refer to existing theoretical considerations and models from other disciplines and sectors as helpful departure points.
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