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Advancing transformative justice? A case study of a trade union, social movement and NGO network in South Africa

Evans, Matthew (2013) Advancing transformative justice? A case study of a trade union, social movement and NGO network in South Africa. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Transitional justice mechanisms have largely focused upon individual violations of a narrow set of civil and political rights and the provision of legal and quasi-legal remedies, typically truth commissions, amnesties and prosecutions. In contrast, this thesis highlights the significance of structural violence in producing and reproducing violations of socio-economic rights. The thesis argues that there is a need to utilise a different toolkit, and a different understanding of human rights, to that typically employed in transitional justice in order to remedy structural violations of human rights such as these. A critique of the scope of existing models of transitional justice is put forward and the thesis sets out a definition of transformative justice as expanding upon and providing an alternative to the transitional justice mechanisms typically employed in post-conflict and post-authoritarian contexts. Focusing on a case study of a network of social movements, nongovernmental organisations and trade unions working on land and housing rights in South Africa, the thesis asks whether networks of this kind can advance transformative justice. In answering this question the thesis draws upon the idea of political responsibility as a means of analysing and assessing network action. The existing literature on political responsibilities and transnational advocacy networks is interrogated and adapted to the largely domestic case study network. Based on empirical research on the case study network and an analysis of its political responsibilities the thesis finds that networks of this kind can contribute to transformative justice. They do this by providing space in which affected communities articulate their concerns over socio-economic rights issues. Providing a means by which existing structures and practices may be contested contributes to processes of transformative justice. However, based on the case study it is not certain that network action of this kind will necessarily lead to transformative outcomes.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Transformative justice; South Africa; advocacy networks; socio-economic rights; social movements; trade unions; NGOs; land; housing.
Academic Units: The University of York > Politics (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.605220
Depositing User: Mr Matthew Evans
Date Deposited: 07 May 2014 14:44
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:30
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5715

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