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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24369

Title: Transitional Justice and the Quest for Democracy: Towards a Political Theory of Democratic Transformations
Authors: Mihai, Mihaela
Advisor: Chambers, Simone
Department: Political Science
Keywords: transitional justice
moral psychology
Issue Date: 21-Apr-2010
Abstract: The overall purpose of the dissertation is to make a contribution to a political theory of democratic transformations by drawing attention to one of the less theorised dimensions of a polity’s public culture: public affect. More precisely, I deal with the role that institutions in general and courts in particular can play in the education of public moral sentiments within transitional justice processes. A cognitive constructivist approach to emotions provides the background for my attempt to show, first, the legitimacy of negative public emotions of resentment and indignation in the aftermath of violence, and second, their positive potential for the reproductive efforts of the democratic community. These affects are barometers of injustice and can act as signals of alarm for institutions to intervene correctively. As such, they bear normative weight and should be a proper object of concern for any society attempting to make the transition to democracy; however, left unfiltered and unmediated institutionally, they can either degenerate into political cynicism and apathy, or be expressed in ways that are incompatible with the democratic value of equal concern and respect for all citizens. I argue that courts dealing with transitional justice issues can recognise, engage constructively, and fructify negative moral emotions for democracy. The exemplarity of judicial reflective judgment—both in the context of constitutional review of transitional justice bills and of criminal trials—can inspire citizens to reflect on what they want to do in the name of their violated sense of justice and encourage them to internalise democratic norms of social interaction. A series of case studies from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries are used to illustrate how the judiciary has historically chosen to engage negative emotions in the aftermath of oppression and violence.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24369
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Political Science - Doctoral theses

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