Reconciliation as Ideology and Politics
Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory
Against the critique of reconciliation as an irredeemably ideological concept, I want to retrieve the concept of reconciliation for a popular politics. As a term of political discourse, reconciliation has been objected to for being: too vague, illiberal, question-begging, assimilative, quietist and exculpatory. Each objection draws attention to the tendency of every state-sanctioned project of reconciliation to become ideological in the Marxist sense. In contrast, a politics of reconciliation would: be enabled by the contestability of what ‘real’ reconciliation requires; refer to human rights in their constitutive political sense; invoke moral community to politicise the terms of political belonging; acknowledge the risk that the beginning it seeks to enact in the present may not come to pass; be predicated on a gratitude that a willingness to forgive makes reconciliation available as political opportunity in the first place, and; conceive collective responsibility in terms of an ongoing responsiveness to the legacy of past wrongs that might unite the community-to-be-reconciled.
Vol. 15, Issue 2, pp. 249 - 264
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