Transitional Justice & Historical Abuse

Professors Brandon Hamber and Patricia Lundy have published a new article on “Lessons from Transitional Justice? Toward a New Framing of a Victim-Centered Approach in the Case of Historical Institutional Abuse”. The article was published in the journal Victims and Offenders in April 2020.

The article critically examines transitional justice mechanisms to determine if historical abuse inquiries can learn from this field of practice. The article explores the Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry which reported its findings in January 2017 as a vehicle for addressing what lessons might be learned or shared between the fields of transitional justice and investigations into historical abuse. Through a detailed analysis of empirical research with those that gave testimony to the Inquiry, including fourthly-three victims and Inquiry transcripts, the article explores to what extent the Inquiry was victim-centered, enabled victim participation (beyond giving testimony) and addressed victim needs. The article shows that many of the flaws of transitional justice mechanisms have been replicated when dealing with historical child abuse.

Drawing on lessons from transitional justice – both positive and negative – the article outlines five broad areas for consideration that could strengthen the victim-centered nature of approaches to dealing with the legacy of historical child abuse. The article concludes that addressing victims’ needs should be at the center and drive approaches and processes for both transitional justice and historical institutional abuse.

To request the article contact Professor Hamber. If you have journal access the article can be downloaded here.

Masculinities in Transition Publications

The issue of masculinities in conflict is a topic Professor Hamber has been working on for some years now. This work now explores the changing nature of masculinities in conflict, its relationship to transitional justice and how the Women, Peace and Security Agenda addresses issues of masculinity (or not). The Chair has published numerous articles on masculinities, and due to ongoing requests in this area below a list of these publications is now made available:

I have numerous requests for my writing and publications on masculinities, conflict and transition. So below I have compiled a list of published work to date:

  • Hamber, Brandon (2015). There Is a Crack in Everything: Problematising Masculinities, Peacebuilding and Transitional Justice. Human Rights Review, 17 (1). pp. 9-34 [Request Copy or Access in the Journal]

  • Gallagher, Elizabeth and Hamber, Brandon (2015). Addressing the psychosocial needs of young men: The case of Northern Ireland. In: Psychosocial Perspectives on Peacebuilding. Springer: New York, pp. 90-149 [More Information]

  • Hamber, Brandon and Gallagher, Elizabeth (2014) Ships passing in the night: psychosocial programming and macro peacebuilding strategies with young men in Northern Ireland. Intervention: Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas, 12 (1), 43-60 [Download]

  • Hamber, B. (2010). Masculinity and Transition: Crisis or Confusion in South Africa? Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, 5(3), 75-88 [Request Copy or Access in the Journal]

  • Hamber, B. & Palmary, I. (2009). Gender, Memorialization, and Symbolic Reparations. In R. Rubio-Marin (Ed.), The Gender of Reparations: Unsettling Sexual Hierarchies While Redressing Human Rights Violations (pp. 324-381). New York: Cambridge University Press [Request Copy]

  • Hamber, B. (2007). Masculinity and Transitional Justice: An Exploratory Essay. Peace Prints: South Asian Journal of Transitional Justice, 3(1), Autumn [Download]
  • Hamber, B. (2007). Masculinity and Transitional Justice: An Exploratory Essay. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 1(3), 375-390 [Request Copy or Access in the Journal]

  • Hamber, B. (2006). Where are the men in the battle for equality? Look South and Polity, 20 October 2006

  • Hamber, B. (2006, 12-13 October). ‘We must be very careful how we emancipate our women’: shifting masculinities in post-apartheid South Africa. Paper presented at the Re-Imagining Women’s Security: a Comparative Study of South Africa, Northern Ireland and Lebanon Round Table, New York [Download]

  • Hamber, B., Hillyard, P., Maguire, A., McWilliams, M., Robinson, G., Russell, D., et al. (2006). Discourses in Transition: Re-Imagining Women’s Security. International Relations, 20(4), 487-502 [Request Copy or Access in the Journal]

If you cannot access any of the above publications, please send a request and it will be forwarded.

Article: Archives and Dealing with the Past in Northern Ireland

Professor Hamber with Gráinne Kelly recently produced a new and important article:

2-coverThrough the prism of Northern Ireland, this article explores the function of existing and proposed archives within societies emerging from conflict, and highlights their potential in adding complexity to understanding conflict and challenging dominant narratives. The article outlines how, despite progress since the Northern Ireland peace accord in 1998, efforts to deal with the past and human rights violations have been piecemeal and politically contested. In the absence of a comprehensive approach to the past, testimony gathering, initiated ‘unofficially’ at a community level, has provided opportunities for individuals’ experiences of the conflict to be documented and acknowledged. The recent Stormont House Agreement (2014) seeks to establish an Oral History Archive as a central repository for individuals to ‘share experiences and narratives related to the Troubles’. The article discusses the challenges in developing this ‘official’ archive, and the problem of reconciling competing historical narratives of the past. This is contrasted against the growth in bottom-up ‘storytelling’ or testimony work. The article argues for supplementing the official process with wider testimony gathering processes directed by and located within community contexts. It is argued that the deliberate juxtaposition of contrasting horizontal or inter-community narratives held by different local parties may allow for the emergence of a more complex and inclusive narrative of the past, rather than attempts to impose a shared vertical narrative, which is subject to either further contestation or uncomfortable compromise.

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Importantly this article was part of a special edition of the Journal of Human Rights Practice focused on the issue of archives and their role in transitional justice processes. Gráinne Kelly, Brandon Hamber and colleagues from swisspeaceElisabeth BaumgartnerBriony Jonesand Ingrid Oliveira, were the guest editors of the journal. The journal special issue was timely as it meant that several high level academics and practitioners were able to distribute their research on the topic of archives focusing on a range of places: Northern Ireland, Kosovo, South Africa, Canada, etc.

The paper can be downloaded here for those with academic access, or alternative email Professor Hamber for a copy.

Article: Masculinities, Peacebuilding and Transitional Justice

Recently, the Chair published:

Hamber, Brandon (2015). There Is a Crack in Everything: Problematising Masculinities, Peacebuilding and Transitional Justice. Human Rights Review, 1-26.

3This is an important publication as it outlines key tenants of how the issue of  could be dealt with in post-conflict settings, a very under-explored area. The article outlines three fissures evident in the embryonic scholarship, that is the privileging of direct violence and its limited focus, the continuities and discontinuities in militarised violence into peace time, and the tensions between new (less violent) masculinities and wider inclusive social change. The article argues for the importance of making visible the tensions between different masculinities and how masculinities are deeply entangled with systems of power and post-conflict social, political and economic outcomes. An analysis of masculine power within and between the structures aimed at building the peace in societies moving out of violence is considered essential. The article argues for an analysis that moves beyond a preoccupation with preventing violent masculinities from manifesting through the actions of individuals to considering how hidden masculine cultures operate within a variety of hierarchies and social spaces.

Masculinity is now a developing area and the Chair’s work has contributed to this, and Professor Hamber will also attend a conference in Oxford on the issue in October 2016.

The paper can be downloaded here for those with academic access, or alternative email Professor Hamber for a copy.