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Fictions of Justice


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By taking up the challenge of documenting how human rights values are embedded in rule of law movements to produce a new language of international justice that competes with a range of other formations, this book explores how notions of justice are negotiated through everyday micropractices and grassroots contestations of those practices. These micropractices include speech acts that revere the protection of international rights, citation references to treaty documents, the brokering of human rights agendas, the rewriting of national constitutions, demonstrations of religiosity that make explicit the piety of religious subjects, and ritual practices of forgiveness that involve the invocation of ancestral religious cosmologies – all practices that detail the ways that justice, as a social fiction, is made real within particular relations of power.


Introduction: the rule of law and its imbrications - justice in the making; Part I. Multiple Domains of Justice: 1. Micropractices of justice making: the moral and political economy of the 'Rule of Law'; 2. Crafting the victim, crafting the perpetrator: new spaces of power, new specters of justice; 3. Multiple spaces of justice: Uganda, the international criminal court and the politics of inequality; Part II. The Politics of Incommensurability: 4. 'Religious' and 'secular' micropractices: the religious roots of secular law, the political content of radical Islamic beliefs; 5. 'The hand will go to hell': Islamic law and the crafting of the spiritual self; 6. Islamic Sharia at the crossroads: human rights challenges and the strategic reworking of vernacular imaginaries.


"Kamari Clarke’s Fictions of Justice is a sprawling, challenging work that is part of an emerging anthropological literature on international criminal justice and that builds upon and extends the last two decades of anthropological literature on human rights … Fictions of Justice has a great deal of merit; the theoretical scope is ambitious, the data are fascinating, and the analysis is incisive. These qualities make the book a must-read in the anthropology of human rights and humanitarianism."
Niklas Hultin, University of Virginia and University of Cambridge, American Anthropologist

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