Document Type

Honors Project


This study was completed with the guidance of Professor Erik Larson at Macalester College.


This study explores Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRCs) in post-conflict societies by testing three different theoretical explanations for their establishment. The first approach is grounded in functionalist theory in which the functional needs of the post-conflict society are seen as the most influential factor. The second approach emphasizes how institutional factors constrain the options available to post-conflict societies. The last approach argues that global culture determines whether or not a post-conflict society will establish a TRC. To determine which of these approaches is accurate I used qualitative comparative analysis to compare twenty different post-conflict societies on a number of variables. My study reveals that institutional factors are more influential than functionalist factors on a country’s decision to establish a TRC. Specifically, the need for power sharing proved especially influential in both political oppression and civil war conflicts. My research also shows that the effect of international third parties is not consistent; international third party involvement does not guarantee TRC establishment. This finding suggests a greater complexity in global culture than previously thought.



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