March 22, 2017

Special Issues


April 2022, Volume 28, Issue S1 | Guest Editor: Nayanika Mookherjee

Issue Abstract

Irreconciliation focuses on the less examined but frequent ethnographic instances when survivors refuse to forgive in response to persistent impunity for past injustices, particularly in the face of the absence-presence of the rule of law and staged processes of justice which serve the powerful. In most instances of post-confl ict transitional justice and ‘positive’ reconciliatory exercises, it is incumbent upon survivors to forgive, reconcile, and seek closure as a demonstration of peacefulness, even in the aftermath of processes that claim to address injustice but are compromised. Various anthropologists have criticized reconciliation and related forms of ‘alternative justice’ extensively but within the framework of maintaining social bonds and the rule of law.

This volume is an ethnographically informed, interdisciplinary theorization which makes irreconciliation visible in the contexts of Papua New Guinea, Mozambique, Bangladesh, Canada, Argentina, Sri Lanka, Colombia, the United States, Northern Ireland, and the wider United Kingdom. Irreconciliation allows an important examination of the rule of law within processes of unresolved genocidal injustices and debates relating to slavery, Black Lives Matter, and institutional responses. It is a vigilance against impunity, against a ‘window-dressed’, symbolic performance of redress. Contributors demonstrate the relationship of irreconciliation with law, aesthetics, temporality, resistance, and identify the limits of the concept. This volume wishes to make a theoretical and ethnographic case for irreconciliation as both a social and a political phenomenon. We propose an understanding of the past based on a positive commitment to ‘irreconciliation’ which might interest anthropologists, historians, philosophers, critical legal and political theorists, and scholars of peace, conflict resolution, and transitional justice.

Find the full issue here.

Competition Details

The JRAI runs a yearly competition for Special Issues. For details of the current competition, please click here.

Enquiries relating to the special issue should be sent to the RAI’s publications officer: