Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Political Science


Dr. Joanna R. Quinn


Transitional justice is affected by the moment it emerged in the international system, the post-Cold War era. Its form was distorted by the international context into which it was born: the dissolution of the bipolar Cold War political order, the triumph of the United States as the world’s sole hegemon, and the cascading wave of liberalization that crashed across the globe. Transitional justice was shaped by this political moment, as it absorbed important tenets of liberal internationalism. Transitional justice also helped shape this political moment, as it became a solution to the problem that illiberal non-democratic, conflicted states pose to the success of the liberal internationalist vision. The result is that considerations in transitional justice that should have intrinsic merit, including the ‘local,’ the ‘victim’ and indeed, ‘justice’, become instrumentalized in the service of this overarching liberal social project. Ultimately, transitional justice fails to realize its emancipatory potential.