Source: (2002) Cambridge Studies in Law and Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Using ethnographic perspectives and research, Wilson examines the status and impact of a restorative justice approach – as seen, for example, in the language and processes of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission – on the transition from an apartheid state to a post-apartheid state in South Africa. He considers in particular the effects this approach had or did not have on the administration of justice in local communities and on popular ideas of justice as retribution. This book-length study covers a number of challenging topics: after an opening chapter on human rights and nation-building, Wilson organizes his material under two broad categories – Part I on human rights and truth; and Part II on reconciliation, retribution, and revenge. Based on his research, Wilson argues that the societal consequences of human rights talk are ambiguous and paradoxical.