Re-thinking memory and transitional justice: a novel application of ecological memory

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While transitional justice processes call upon individuals and societies to recall and remember, memory practices – and more specifically the frequent politicization of memory in transitional societies – can undermine transitional justice goals, including peace and reconciliation. This interdisciplinary article seeks to re-think the relationship between transitional justice and memory. It does so by introducing the concept of ecological memory, a supra-political form of memory centred on complex ecosystem responses to disturbance events and the development of resilience to future shocks and stressors. Transposing the concept of ecological memory to the novel context of transitional justice can ultimately foster a new alignment between memory and transitional justice that is more conducive to the realization of the latter’s core goals. Drawing on empirical data, the article seeks to demonstrate that transitional justice processes can contribute to fostering ecological memory by giving attention to the ecological legacies of war crimes and human rights violations.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
JournalMemory Studies
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2020