One of Philpott’s goals in Just and Unjust Peace is to challenge both sorts of reactions to the role of religion in debates on ethics and justice: the polite, but perhaps patronizing, stance of detachment, as well as the presumption that religion is essentially incompatible with democratic freedoms. He proposes bridging the two as a way to broaden and better ground an ethical debate on the central question that animates the book: What does justice consist of “in the wake of its massive despoliation?” (3). This is the question that has been at the center of ongoing debates on transitional and international justice, but Philpott goes about addressing it in a wholly original way. Instead of grounding the inquiry in a preliminary engagement with prevailing international legal standards, he begins by articulating a general theoretical approach to justice and reconciliation, and then uses it to examine contemporary institutions and practices.Read the rest of Janus-faced justice.
Bronwyn Leebaw is associate professor of political science at the University of California, Riverside, where she also serves on steering committees for the Peace and Conflict Studies Program and the Global Studies Major. Her book, Judging State-Sponsored Violence, Imagining Political Change, was recently published by Cambridge University Press. She has published writings on transitional justice, human rights, and restorative justice in journals such as Perspectives on Politics, Human Rights Quarterly, and Polity.