Yemen in the Shadow of Transition
Pursuing Justice Amid War
Offers a persuasive rethink of methodologies for true transitional justice in Yemen and for a truly post-conflict state, drawing on history, fieldwork and policy analysis.
Responding to a diplomatic stalemate and a catastrophic humanitarian crisis, Yemen’s civil actors work every day to build peace in fragmented local communities across the country. This book shows how their efforts relate to longstanding justice demands in Yemeni society, and details three decades of alternating elite indifference toward, or strategic engagement with, questions of justice.
Exploring the transformative impact of the 2011 uprising and Yemenis’ substantive wrestling with questions of justice in the years that followed, leading Yemen scholar Stacey Philbrick Yadav shows how the transitional process was ultimately overtaken by war, and explains why features of the transitional framework nevertheless remain a central reference point for civil actors engaged in peacebuilding today. In the absence of a negotiated settlement, everyday peacebuilding has become a new site for justice work, as an arena in which civil actors enjoy agency and social recognition. Drawing on seventeen years of field research and interviews with civil actors, Yadav positions Yemen’s non-combatants not–or not only–as victims of conflict, but as political agents imagining and enacting the justice they wish to see.
‘[Yadav] unearths the vibrant debates that have taken place beneath the drama of high politics, carnage, and destruction, offering remarkably perceptive critiques of international peace-building and humanitarian aid efforts, which have neglected local priorities and failed to address questions of justice.’ — Foreign Affairs
‘The book is a true window into Yemeni society, providing readers with an intimate knowledge of the long-running personal and political conflicts that have paralysed the country.’ – International Affairs
‘Highly recommended.’ — Middle East Journal
‘[W]ell-researched and original… [T]he projects and people Yadav writes about offer a glimpse into Yemen’s current reality that goes beyond the hunger and destruction we are sadly more accustomed to.’ — Informed Comment
‘Yemen in the Shadow of Transition… sets important benchmarks for forthcoming contributions to the transitional justice and political sciences fields in Yemen.’ — Jemen-Report
‘A refreshing and incisive reconceptualization of Yemen’s wars.’ — Abu Aardvark’s MENA Academy
‘Remarkable. The only book of its kind on Yemen and its conflict, from one of the world’s leading experts. Ambitious, original and reflective, this is a significant advance over existing works on the country and an innovative approach to justice issues in war.’ — Jillian Schwedler, Professor of Political Science, CUNY, and author of Protesting Jordan: Geographies and Power of Dissent
‘Undoubtedly an original contribution to the literature, deepening and extending knowledge not only on Yemen but on peacebuilding more generally. The author’s primary research is a rare commodity. This is the first text of its kind, and very impressive.’ — Vincent Durac, Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin, and author of Politics and Governance in the Middle East
‘An ambitious exploration of the intricacies of civil and political demands for justice in contemporary Yemen. The book is theoretically innovative, profoundly informative and paves ways for multiple comparisons. No doubt its approach, which focuses on a wide variety of local initiatives, will inspire well beyond specialists of the Arabian Peninsula.’ — Laurent Bonnefoy, Researcher in International Studies, Sciences Po, and author of Yemen and the World
‘This astute, empirically rich book charts grassroots mobilisation for justice and inclusive government since Yemen’s unification. Using a transitional justice framework, Yadav explains why, after the “Arab Spring”, national reconciliation was ill-fated. Essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the road to war.’ – Gabriele vom Bruck, Emeritus Reader in Anthropology & Sociology, SOAS University of London, and author of Mirrored Loss: A Yemeni Woman’s Life Story
Stacey Philbrick Yadav is Associate Professor of International Relations at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, and the author of Islamists and the State. Since 2019, she has been working with Yemeni colleagues on internationally sponsored projects for everyday peacebuilding in Yemen.