ReconTrans – Trading Justice for Peace?
Reconciliation as a Transformative Concept in TRC Processes

ReconTrans (2019-2023) is an international comparative research project coordinated by KUN/VID Tromsø (Norway) in collaboration with the University of Western Cape (South Africa) and Vancouver School of Theology (Canada). The project monitors the ongoing TRC process in Norway (2018-2023) and facilitates comparative research across the South African, Canadian, and Norwegian / Nordic TRC experiences.

ReconTrans examines how and to what extent ‘reconciliation’ as a transformative concept and practice takes place in association with truth and reconciliation commissions (TRCs). The project is rooted in a transformative research paradigm committed to social justice and human rights. Asymmetric power relations are typically integral to injustices and traumas caused by the political violence addressed by TRCs. Mindful of this, ReconTrans understands ‘reconciliation’ as a transformative concept addressing and renegotiating such power relations grounded in values such as truth, justice, peace, etc.

ReconTrans takes a multidisciplinary approach, informed by research fields as transitional justice, Indigenous research, and theology. Grounded on a collaboration among researchers at VID Specialized University (Tromsø and Oslo, Norway), the University of the Western Cape (Cape Town, South Africa), and Vancouver School of Theology (Vancouver, Canada), the project also involves contributions from a broader network.

The ReconTrans research network was established through research conferences in Cape Town, South Africa, on 31 May 2019 and in Tromsø, Norway, in 29-30 October 2019.

The ReconTrans research monitoring the ongoing TRC process in Norway examines (1) the meanings of ‘reconciliation’ negotiated in the political pre-TRC phase; (2) the political, social and healing aspects of reconciliation emerging, expressed and negotiated in the encounter between the TRC and civil society in the commission phase; and (3) the negotiation of reconciliation in the interface between politics and civil society in the initial post-TRC phase after the submission of the TRC’s final report.