ressentiment as suffering On transitionaljustice and the impossibility of forgiveness.pdf (242.9 kB)
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Ressentiment as Suffering: On Transitional Justice and the Impossibility of Forgiveness

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journal contribution
posted on 08.12.2009, 16:20 by Panu Minkkinen
This essay examines the politics of transitional justice through the notion of forgiveness. Conventional notions of forgiveness and justice, as they have been adopted for and utilized in the numerous truth commissions around the world as well as in the theories supporting the work of the commissions, corrupt the transitional process into what Derrida aptly calls the conditional forgiveness of "social therapy." One major shortcoming in these theories has been their inability to adequately deal with the issue of resentment, i.e., the victim who refuses to forgive. Through a closer investigation into the phenomenology of ressentiment (Nietzsche, Max Scheler, Jean Améry), the essay proposes to interpret resentment as a continuation of the suffering that the victim has originally endured. Juridified and subjected to the therapeutic rationalizations of truth commissions, resentment coagulates into a suffering with a utilitarian value. Finally, this essay discusses the possible ways in which a theory of transitional justice could appropriately address the victim's resentment thus rendering his suffering "just" and making unconditional forgiveness possible.

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Citation

Law and Literature, 2007, 19 (3), pp.513-532

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Law and Literature

Publisher

The Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University

issn

1535-685X

Copyright date

2007

Available date

08/12/2009

Publisher version

http://www.jstor.org/stable/info/10.1525/lal.2007.19.3.513

Language

en

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