Agency and Ownership in Reconciliation

Youth and the Practice of Transitional Justice

By Caitlin Mollica

Subjects: Peace, Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, Adolescent Studies
Hardcover : 9781438497440, 298 pages, April 2024
Paperback : 9781438497433, 298 pages, October 2024
Expected to ship: 2024-10-02

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Table of contents


Introduction: Hearing and Seeing Young People in Peace and Conflict: Lessons from and for the Practice of Reconciliation

1. Contextualizing Transitional Justice for Meaningful Youth Participation

2. Locating Young People in Peace and Conflict: The Development of Scholarship for Children and Youth

3. Establishing Visibility: A Human Rights Approach to the Involvement of Young People at the TRC in South Africa

4. Claiming Ownership? Contrasting Narratives of Agency and Participation at the Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste TRCs

5. Seeing and Hearing Youth: The Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Process

Conclusion: Considering the Legacy of Young People's Participation and Adopting a Way Forward


Drawing on the cases of South Africa, East Timor, Sierra Leone, and the Solomon Islands, examines how Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRCs) have engaged with youth in ways that represent their stories and reflect their substantive participatory capacity as political stakeholders.


The importance of youth's substantive participation for the realization of inclusive reconciliation practices has rarely been acknowledged. Agency and Ownership in Reconciliation provides a comprehensive, nuanced, and empirical account of the contribution of young people's voices to the success of transitional justice and peacebuilding practices. Caitlin Mollica illustrates the role of political will and agency in the development of transitional justice mechanisms that are substantively inclusive of those traditionally marginalized by post-conflict institutions, most notably youth. In doing so, she highlights the importance of youth to lasting peace and meaningful justice. She does so by looking specifically at how truth and reconciliation commissions from South Africa to the Solomon Islands engage with the voices of youth and the meanings youth self-ascribe to their experiences during truth and reconciliation commission processes. In a field which traditionally prioritizes stories about youth, Agency and Ownership in Reconciliation looks to center stories by youth.

Caitlin Mollica is Lecturer in Politics at the University of Newcastle, Australia.


"Mollica offers a critical reflection on a still marginal, yet very important, subject in international politics: the concept of youth's agency and participation in peace and conflict situations. Clearly argued and well-written, her analysis of the case studies provides an enriching dialogue between theory and practice." — Jana Tabak, author of The Child and the World: Child-Soldiers and the Claim for Progress