Transitional justice, denial and social control

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Building on sociological and criminological perspectives, this chapter argues that denial is the core problem faced in transitional justice contexts, and that it will be productive to conceptualize transitional justice efforts as engaging in social control. Social control is an organized response to activities defined as deviance, and in the transitional context it entails reclassifying as deviance policies previously treated as normal. Transitional justice means, then, efforts to control and alter perceptions of the past as part of a struggle to counter denial, redefining past actors and actions to reorder political norms and reverse what is embraced as normal and abhorred as deviant. The chapter demonstrates how treating transitional justice as social control can bring coherence to analyses of the field and re-emphasize its political nature. It examines the operation of social control of and through memory in diverse contexts such as truth commissions, memory laws, the commemoration of rescuers and the censure of informers, and shows how activities of civil society actors can be integrated into the framework of transitional justice by considering them as carrying out social control from below.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Transitional Justice
EditorsCheryl Lawther, Luke Moffett
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781802202519
ISBN (Print)9781802202502
StatePublished - 11 Aug 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Transitional justice, denial and social control'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this