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Title: Ressentiment as Suffering: On Transitional Justice and the Impossibility of Forgiveness
Authors: Minkkinen, Panu
First Published: 2007
Publisher: The Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University
Citation: Law and Literature, 2007, 19 (3), pp.513-532
Abstract: 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.
DOI Link: 10.1525/lal.2007.19.3.513
ISSN: 1535-685X
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Article
Rights: Copyright © 2007 by The Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University
"Published as Law & Literature, 19 (3), pp. 513-532. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by The Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® on [JSTOR (] or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center,"
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