Perspectives from the Ground

Colonial Bureaucratic Violence, Identity, and Transitional Justice in Canada

in Conflict and Society
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Abstract

While traditionally underrepresented in transitional justice studies, anthropological study of culture, ethnography, and processes can contribute valuable insight into colonial bureaucracies and dynamics of power. This article uses an ethnographic approach and a colonial bureaucratic violence theoretical foundation to analyze negative perceptions of transitional justice at the ground level. Participants included facilitators, government officials, nonprofit organizations, and Indigenous community members; research occurred during implementation of transitional justice (2011–2014) for a period of 12 months. Specifically, I argue that the relationship between transitional justice and colonial bureaucratic violence encourages negative views of transitional justice. Instead, ethnographic data first reveals that bureaucratic processes within transitional justice challenge Indigenous identities. Second, Indigenous survivors in British Columbia, Canada, largely view transitional justice on a continuum of colonial bureaucratic violence. Using a colonial bureaucratic violence framework, this article provides insight and nuance into perceptions of transitional justice at the local level.

Contributor Notes

JAYMELEE KIM is a biocultural political and legal anthropologist specializing in violence, human rights, forensics, and transitional justice across geographical contexts. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Justice Sciences at the University Findlay. She currently serves on the executive board of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group, as well as the AAA Members’ Progammatic Advisory and Advocacy Committee. Email: kim@findlay.edu

Conflict and Society

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