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Living the Law: Transitional Justice in Colombia

Periodic Report Summary 1 - JUSTCOLOMB (Living the Law: Transitional Justice in Colombia)

The program is intended to foster and develop interdisciplinary research activities and help the researcher disseminate research results both within and beyond the academic community.
The purpose of the training is to advance the scholar’s expertise through specific training and opportunities for knowledge acquisition in socio-legal studies. The training objectives include training through research, developing new lines of research and training through participation in seminars, events and meetings.

The main goal of this research project is to describe Colombia’s transitional justice arrangements from a socio-legal perspective, and in so doing, to establish the researcher as an interdisciplinary scholar. More specifically, the research’s objective is to characterise Colombia’s arrangements as one particular form of transitional justice, examining a number of interconnected (legal, political and institutional) disputes over the role that the law should play in a society in transition (Bell et al., 2004, 305). In order to grasp these connections, the researcher aims to recover an account of the subjective experiences of a range of different players involved in transitional justice (indigenous leaders, lawmakers, policy-makers, UN staff, demobilized soldiers and victims) through ethnographic fieldwork. The research takes a particular interest in participants’ ‘everyday interpretations’ and subjective understandings of justice. It will then try to make sense of these fragmentary experiences in the context of some broader, socially and legally committed characterization of justice through quantitative data. To this end, fieldwork in Colombia has been conducted to contextualize the legal, political and social correlates of the transitional justice program in Colombia; the researcher conducted interviews and participated in various events organized by state and non-state entities in Popayan and Bogota, Colombia. The researcher has started to analyse the fieldwork data.

The researcher has also attended several seminars, meetings and events to gain an understanding of socio-legal theories and methods at various universities in the US. First reflections on the topic of justice have already been disseminated within and beyond academia through formal and informal meetings.