The global proliferation of the reconciliation language in the context of the transitional justice discourse
in Discourse, normative change and the quest for reconciliation in global politics
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In the years after the South African transition, these constructions of reconciliation began to proliferate beyond the borders of South Africa. Chapter 3 reconstructs this process and examines how the South African transition and reconciliation discourse were part of and fed into another discourse that emerged on the global level at the time, namely the discourse on transitional justice. Chapter 3 argues that it was in the context of this emerging global discourse that the reconciliation ideal gained authority beyond the South African confines from the late 1990s onwards, and the South African constructions of reconciliation diffused around the globe. The global spread of the reconciliation language, as argued in chapter 3, performed in global politics by authorizing the truth commission as a legitimate institution in the context of transition. While the truth commission was no new institution at the time, it was hitherto seen as a ‘second-best’ response to human rights violations, and it was through the rise of global reconciliation discourse that this institution gained normative authority on its own.

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