Recent decades have seen an explosion of interest in transitional justice. Although much attention has been directed toward measuring the effects of transitional justice mechanisms, discussion of the motivations for and manifestations of resistance to transitional justice processes has been limited. This article contributes to this underexamined area through an analysis of the nature of resistance to transitional justice in Bahrain following the February 2011 uprisings. It identifies existing explanations for resistance to and engagement with transitional justice before considering whether Mitchell Dean’s analytics of government approach—with its emphasis on identifying discrepancies between actors’ declared and actual intentions—assists in revealing less obvious manifestations of resistance, such as those seen in Bahrain. It is suggested that adopting the institutional manifestations of transitional justice may, paradoxically, be understood as a strategy for resisting popular demands for accountability and political transformation—the very notions at the core of any transition.
CIARA O’LOUGHLIN holds a bachelor of arts with First Class Honours in Political Science and International Relations and a juris doctor from the University of Western Australia.