Postcolonial and decolonial differences

Amid academic fondness for embracing trends and ‘turns’, it is reasonable to ask about the actual difference between post- and decolonial perspectives and to consider whether this difference warrants our attention. This lemma seeks to provide some answers, engaging critically with key arguments by decolonial scholars on how their work differs from postcolonial perspectives. I argue that we should pay attention to the key debates sparked by the ‘decolonial turn’ while avoiding the use of buzzwords and strawman arguments. Additionally, I demonstrate the synergies and frictions between post-/decolonial writings within peace and conflict studies, focusing specifically on the deconstruction and reconstruction of human rights.

Inter-Subaltern Hierarchies

This entry aims to shed light on inter-subaltern hierarchies as a conceptual framework for examining conflict-prone power relations within the postcolonial political space. While postcolonial and decolonial studies have revealed enduring colonial legacies in global polity formation, they have somewhat overlooked hierarchical power relations among historico-social groups and political entities. Inter-subaltern hierarchies disentangle the West/non-West dichotomy and provide insight into conflict-prone hierarchies stemming from colonial continuities in nation- and state-formation.

Transitional Justice and Decolonisation

This entry outlines the key debates with respect to transitional justice (TJ), a range of processes that a society may undertake to reckon with the legacies of gross and large-scale violations of human rights and humanitarian law in the past. Although the literature on transitional justice and postcolonialism is emerging, this entry explains why transitional justice might not sufficiently address the complex issue of decolonisation. The entry argues that true decolonisation requires a more radical approach to the future of the field. Transitional justice should not only engage more with genealogies of decolonial thinking; it also needs to be decolonised in itself.

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