The Patriarchy of Internationalized Transformative Justice?
: EU Support for Gender Justice in Tunisia and Ukraine

  • Elise Ketelaars

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


One of the aims of feminist transitional justice scholarship is to identify remedies for international transitional justice actors’ tendency to use support for gender justice in transition to advance other foreign policy goals. A feminist transformative justice agenda, which emphasizes the need to address the continuum of violence, has been put forward as a potential antidote. This thesis examines the extent to which this agenda is equipped to fulfil this aim through an analysis of EU support for past and future focused gender justice efforts in Tunisia and Ukraine embedded in in-depth knowledge of the local (gender) politics that are shaping both countries transitions.
It finds that while the EU’s engagement with gender justice in both countries has been shaped by ulterior political considerations, the EU has actually prioritized support for efforts that address ‘everyday’ Gender-Based Violence instead of politically motivated Sexual and Gender-Based Violence. As such, this thesis questions the merit of a feminist definition of transformative justice around a predetermined set of harms. Instead it argues for the adoption of a diversified theory of ‘the patriarchy of internationalized transitional justice’, and the embrace of a definition of ‘transformative’ that is centred around the notion of challenging vested interests of powerful elites.
In light of recent developments in the field of transitional justice itself and global politics, these theoretical goals require methodological innovation. Case study selection needs to reflect that today a broader range of transitions falls within the remit of internationalized transitional justice practice than fifteen years ago. Moreover, reliance on analysis of policy documents as the core tool to identify international actors’ priorities in the realm of gender justice in transition should be reduced. This will safeguard reliability of data about international actors’ support for gender justice in transition in a context where these actors are adopting ever more sophisticated WPS rhetoric while simultaneously embracing more ‘pragmatic’ overarching foreign policy agendas.
Date of AwardJul 2020
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRory O'Connell (Supervisor), Louise Mallinder (Supervisor) & Eilish Rooney (Supervisor)


  • Transformative justice
  • European Union

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