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26 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 149 (2013)
Interrogating the Peripheries: The Preoccupations of Fourth Generation Transitional Justice

handle is hein.journals/hhrj26 and id is 153 raw text is: Interrogating the Peripheries:
The Preoccupations of Fourth Generation
Transitional Justice
Dustin N. Sharp*
The field of transitional justice was born out of a recognized need to
address legacies of violence and widespread human rights violations in
times of political transition. In doing so, it has also sought to fulfill a teleo-
logical impulse to nudge illiberal, imperfectly liberal, and newly liberal
states onto a more democratic path. Particularly for the so-called third
wave democratic transitions in Eastern Europe and Latin America, which
helped shape the core paradigms and normative assumptions of the field,'
the desired end point of the transition in question typically resembled a
Western liberal market democracy.2 The Western liberal paradigm               under-
girding the birth of the field of transitional justice has in turn helped to
shape the scope and focus of justice delivered by its core mechanisms.3
In particular, the historically dominant liberal transitional justice para-
digm has often resulted in a relatively narrow approach to questions of jus-
tice in transition that foregrounds physical violence, including violations of
physical integrity and civil and political rights more generally, while push-
ing questions of economic violence and economic justice to the margins.4 It
* Dustin Sharp, J.D. (dsharp@sandiego.edu) is an Assistant Professor at the Kroc School of Peace
Studies at the University of San Diego, where he teaches courses in transitional justice and international
human rights law. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he formerly practiced for the United States
Department of State and Human Rights Watch.
1. The third wave refers to a period of global democratization beginning in the mid-1970s that
touched more than sixty countries in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. See generally SAMUEL P.
2. See Paige Arthur, How Transitions Reshaped Human Rights: A Conceptual History of Transitional
justice, 31 Hum. RTs. Q. 321, 325-26 (2009) (noting that the idea of a transition to democracy was the
dominant normative lens through which political change was viewed in the early years of transitional
justice practice and scholarship); see also Patricia Lundy & Mark McGovern, Whose justice? Rethinking
Transitional Justice from the Bottom Up, 35 J.L. Soc'Y 265, 273 (2008) ('Transition', as normally con-
ceived within transitional justice theory, tends to involve a particular and limited conception of democ-
ratization and democracy based on liberal and essentially Western formulations of democracy.).
3. See Arthur, supra note 2, at 325-26 (exploring the idea that if the paradigmatic political transi-
tions of the 1980s and 1990s had been conceived of as transitions to socialism, the scope, focus, and
modalities of transitional justice might look quite different today).
4. See generally Dustin Sharp, Addressing Economic Violence in Times of Transition; Toward a Positive-Peace
Paradigm for Transitional justice, 35 FORDHAM INT'L L.J. 780 (2012). The reasons for the historic

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