CFP: Knowledge Production in Transitional Justice | ECPR 2018 (Deadline: February 10, 2018)

CFP: Knowledge Production in Transitional Justice | ECPR 2018
Deadline: February 10, 2018

Call for papers for a panel submission for ECPR General Conference in Hamburg, 22-25 August 2018

Knowledge Production in Transitional Justice

Susanne Buckley-Zistel & Anne Menzel (Centre for Conflict Studies, Philipps-Universität Marburg)

Deadline for abstracts: 10 February 2018

Knowledge production in and for security, development and peacebuilding policies and programmes has increasingly attracted academic attention over the last years. This trend has been facilitated by scholars’ movements between academic and policy cycles – often as freelance or part-time consultants who critically reflect on their experiences. Their analyses of concrete knowledge production processes often contain auto-ethnographic elements and their findings usually challenge the straightforwardness of the idea that policy-making has become more ‘problem-focused’ and ‘evidence-based’. The trend towards studying knowledge production has also coincided with various recent ‘turns’ in IR and critical security studies, including the ethnographic and practice turns. It is about understanding how evidence and expertise are shaped by relations of power that are often embedded in organisational routines and seemingly self-evident practice.

Although these perspectives are also highly relevant with regard to the field of transitional justice, they have not yet been widely applied to the study of transitional justice instruments and processes. An exception is Nancy Combs’ study of the evidence supporting international criminal convictions Fact-Finding without Facts (2010). But knowledge production is certainly not restricted to criminal prosecutions. Various forms of knowledge production also take place in preparation for as well as in the actual operations of truth commissions, in deliberations on whether or not transitional justice should include ‘traditional’ elements or mechanisms – and in many related discussions and procedures.

For our panel, we invite contributions that study knowledge production in transitional justice (based on own experiences, participant observation, interviews, archival materials or other types of data), be it for or in international or domestic trials, truth commissions or other transitional justice instruments and processes. Possible topics include but are not limited to,

  • The production of best practices for transitional justice: who produces them and how is determined what is ‘best’ about them?
  • The influence of standardisation and professionalization on transitional justice: how do experts and expertise shape transitional justice and what are relevant effects?
  • Inside courts or truth commissions: How is knowledge produced, what kinds of knowledge are valued/devalued and how do these processes work in practice.
  • Learning across cases: are there informal forms of knowledge production, such as exchanges between practitioners and/or human rights activists wherein learning takes place? And if so, how are they organized and what role do they play?

We look forward to receiving your abstracts of no more than 250 words until 10 February 2018. Please send them to