Problematising Symbolic Reparation: 'Complex Political Victims', 'Dead Body Politics' and the Right to Remember

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In light of the increasing importance of commemoration and memorialisation within the study of transitional justice, this article attempts to stimulate further critical discussion on the right to remember in societies transitioning out of prolonged conflict. Located within a wider exploration of the problematic overlap between the ‘politics of reparations’ and ‘dead body politics’ commonly found in transitioning societies, it argues that any prospective right to remember creates a tension between competing collective rights held by various constituencies. On the one hand, there emerges the right of remembrance owed to certain constituencies, yet at the same time this must be balanced against the right of acknowledgment owed to other constituencies. Despite this tension, the article posits that affording a right to remember in the case of ‘complex political victims’ is necessary for reparative imbalance to be avoided, for a fuller insight into the causes and consequences of past violence to be gained and for movement towards the goal of non-recurrence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334
JournalSocial and Legal Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2019


  • Transitional justice
  • Reparations
  • Victimhood
  • Collective Memory
  • Memorialisation


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