Contemporary Transitional Justice: Normalising a Politics of Exception

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This article studies the contemporary expression of transitional justice, a field of practice through which global governance is exercised. It argues that transitional justice is being normalised, given the normative and empirical de-legitimisation of its premise of exceptionalism. The article theorises exceptionalism and normalcy in transitional justice and identifies three macro-level causes of normalisation: the legalisation, internationalisation, and professionalization of the field. This argument is illustrated by a study of Uganda’s trajectory of transitional justice since 1986. Across five phases of transitional justice, processes of legalisation, internationalisation, and professionalization have contributed to the gradual dismantling of the country’s exceptional justice. The case demonstrates, further, that normalization is a contested and incomplete process.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Society
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)353-369
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Note from publisher: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Global society on 30 nov 2016, available online:


  • Exceptionalism
  • Transitional Justice
  • Uganda
  • Normalisation

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