1932

Abstract

This review surveys the philosophical underpinnings, conceptual frames, and methodological choices informing the scholarship on truth commission impact to examine whether, how, how much, and why truth commissions influence policy, court decisions, and social norms. It focuses on three areas: () truth commission impact as the product of complex interactions between politicians, civil society activists, and truth commissions; () conceptual and methodological debates and disagreements in studies of impact; and () normative visions guiding expectations and assessments. The findings of empirical scholarship range from partial confirmation of bold and at times vague expectations to damning accounts of commissions’ failure to deliver. In addition to conceptual and methodological choices, scholars’ normative assumptions and expectations also explain divergent accounts of truth commission impact. Three sets of normative frameworks set the expectations in particular: building liberal democratic institutions; transforming socioeconomic, gendered, and racialized hierarchies; and reflecting local values, norms, and power dynamics.

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2021-10-13
2024-06-13
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