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Democratization of Perpetration

Human Rights, Transitional Justice, and Memories of Resistance in Post-Conflict Timor-Leste

Amy Rothschild

This article examines the effects of human rights and transitional justice on memories of Timor-Leste’s resistance to the Indonesian occupation, which lasted from 1975 to 1999. Data comes from ethnographic fieldwork in Timor, centered around remembrance of two major acts of resistance: an armed uprising in 1983 and a peaceful demonstration in 1991. The article argues that in Timor, an “apolitical” human rights has caused a post-conflict “democratization of perpetration”, in that similar culpability is assigned to all those who caused suffering in the conflict with Indonesia through physical violence, irrespective of context. Transitional justice has thus expanded the category of perpetrator in Timor, to include some who legally used armed resistance against Indonesian rule. Studies of violence have belatedly turned toward examining perpetrators of state terror; this article examines how discourses of human rights and transitional justice shape perceptions of those who resist state terror with violence.

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Perspectives from the Ground

Colonial Bureaucratic Violence, Identity, and Transitional Justice in Canada

Jaymelee J. Kim

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.

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Space of Hope for Lebanon’s Missing

Promoting Transitional Justice through a Digital Memorial

Erik Van Ommering and Reem el Soussi

This article explores how a digital memorial for forcibly disappeared persons contributes to transitional justice in Lebanon. It presents the joint establishment of an interactive digital memorial by a collective of nongovernmental organizations, relatives of missing persons, and youth volunteers. The case study is situated in debates on transitional justice, calls for democratization of collective memories and archives, and discussions on new information and communication technologies. The article demonstrates how the development and launch of Fushat Amal (Space for Hope) is shaped and confined by postwar sociopolitical realities that are all but favorable to memorialization or justice-seeking initiatives. It highlights how digitalized memories can open up spaces that remain closed in the offline world, enabling survivors to share their stories, build collectives, demand recognition, and advocate for justice. At the same time, the authors discuss the limitations of digital memorials in relation to questions of access, ownership, and sustainability.

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Andrés Felipe Valderrama Pineda and Nina Vogel

Our objective is to account for the transitions in urban form and personal transportation in Copenhagen since 1947. Sustainability objectives are currently framed as efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. Urban transportation is a key area of intervention. In public debates, political parties, experts, and citizens make assertions about what is possible by referring to past experiences. Our contribution is to explore the official histories of Copenhagen in order to account for the transitions in mobility during the last six decades. We make a critical application of the multilevel perspective (MLP), which is the most used theory to study transitions. Our application is critical because the context of urban mobility necessarily includes a discussion of urban form development; therefore, we suggest ways in which the MLP should be adjusted in order to account for the historical dynamics evidenced in the empirical material collected for this study.

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Marco Sonnberger and Michael Ruddat

The article aims to explore citizens’ perceptual patterns underlying the public’s view of the German energy transition. By reducing the complexity of the public’s views to its main dimensions, the article contributes to a deeper understanding of citizens’ reactions to transition projects such as the German energy transition. This research is based on a German-wide representative survey that included items covering different aspects concerning the acceptance of energy technologies (trust in key actors, fairness, perceived risks and benefits, etc.). In order to explore citizens’ perceptual patterns of the German energy transition, we drew on the method of categorical principal component analysis. On the basis of our results, we hypothesize that risk-benefit/acceptance and trust/fairness are two main latent dimensions underlying citizens’ perception of the energy transition.

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‘We are not all equal!’

Raising achievement and aspiration by improving the transition from the BTEC to higher education

Richard Peake

In my role as programme leader of the BA (Hons) Criminal Justice and Criminology, I observed that students who entered with A-levels were more likely to achieve a 2:1 or 1st class degree than students from other routes of entry. Analysis of five cohorts showed that less than half of entrants with Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualification achieved a 2:1 classification, compared to over 90 per cent of A-level students. In the interests of equity, this phenomenon deserved further investigation. I set out to identify issues in the transition to higher education that may cause BTEC students to struggle to adapt to academic study and any skills deficits that may ultimately lead to underachievement. As a result of the study, a toolkit was devised to smooth the transition, raise aspiration, enhance self-esteem and improve outcomes.

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Erik Gawel, Sebastian Strunz and Paul Lehmann

The German energy transition repeatedly faces harsh critiques questioning its economic and environmental merits. This article defends the energy transition and argues that Germany has chosen an economically efficient and particularly forceful approach to securing a sustainable energy supply. Though current expenditures are high, the long-term benefits of transforming the energy system to a renewables-based system are likely to outweigh present investment costs. Furthermore, support policies for renewables are not redundant-as some critics claim-but instead complement other policy instruments, such as the emissions trading scheme. This article also addresses the motives behind the discrediting attacks on the German energy policy regime. Defensive actions by beneficiaries of the former energy market structure are only to be expected, but the attacks from liberal economists are astonishingly fierce.

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Christiaan Beyers

In the context of transitional justice, how does the reinvented state come to be assumed as a social fact? South African land restitution interpellates victims of apartheid- and colonial-era forced removals as claimants, moral and legal subjects of a virtuous 'new' state. In the emotional narratives of loss and suffering called forth in land claim forms, the state is addressed as a subject capable of moral engagement. Claim forms also 'capture' affects related to the event of forced removals as an unstable political resource. However, within an ultimately legal and bureaucratic process, the desire for recognition is typically not reciprocated. Moreover, material settlements are indefinitely delayed due to political and institutional complications. The resulting disillusionment is counterweighed by persistent aspirations for state redress.

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Heide Castañeda

This article examines the unintended effects of policy on the cross-border health care experiences of persons from the new Central and Eastern European (CEE) states of the European Union (EU) during a time of major transition. While permitted to travel freely, most individuals from the new member states are not yet authorised to work in Germany. As a result, they face many everyday forms of exclusion, including lack of access to medical services. Drawing upon ethnographic fieldwork, this article examines experiences of patients from newly acceded CEE countries. Cross-border health care highlights instrumentality because implementation has consisted only of patchwork policies and is characterised by insufficient attention to marginalised populations, such as those who are driven to seek work abroad due to economic asymmetries across borders. In the current transitional period, evidence suggests a disconnect as social rights struggle to catch up to economic ones.

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Ander Delgado

In this article I explore the ways in which migrants from other parts of Spain to the Basque Country are portrayed in Basque social science textbooks published in the Basque Country between the end of Franco’s dictatorship and the period of the transition to democracy. I elucidate the role attributed to immigrants, who were culturally and linguistically distinct from Basque society, by educators concerned about the survival of Basque culture and the Basque language. In addition, the article addresses strategies proposed by members of the Basque education sector and adopted in order to facilitate integration during this period.