Separate but equal: urban spatial organization and transitional justice in Bosnia and South Africa
Sargeant, Madison L.
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Transitional justice regimes emerged in the 20th century as a tool for states transitioning from conflict and authoritarianism to democracy and peace. Among other goals, societal reconciliation between previously hostile groups is a critical objective of these regimes. However, transitional justice regimes often fail to narrowly and tangibly address societal circumstances that influence conflict, leaving societies that adopt them vulnerable to suboptimal returns. Urban spatial organization is one such circumstance. While there is considerable evidence that urban issues are related to ethnic and racial conflict, this relationship has not yet been explored in the context of transitional justice. In this study, I examine Sarajevo and Johannesburg through both the mechanisms that define their respective states’ transitional justice regimes and each city’s demographic development. I find that there is a discernable disconnect between the expectations of transitional justice regimes and urban planning policies and realities that inhibits the success of the former by underutilizing the latter. This complicates the peacemaking process and can provide pretext for further conflict—at the very least, the disruption between the two agendas fails to be a net positive for societal reconciliation and resilience. As such, it would be mutually beneficial to urban planners and political leaders to understand the restraints political and spatial realities place on one another.
Honors thesis. B.A. in International Relations, Spring 2021, Boston University.
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