From Apartheid to Democracy: Deliberating Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa

Paperback | September 8, 2016

byKatherine Elizabeth Mack

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South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearings can be considered one of the most significant rhetorical events of the late twentieth century. The TRC called language into action, tasking it with promoting understanding among a divided people and facilitating the construction of South Africa’s new democracy. Other books on the TRC and deliberative rhetoric in contemporary South Africa emphasize the achievement of reconciliation during and in the immediate aftermath of the transition from apartheid. From Apartheid to Democracy, in contrast, considers the varied, complex, and enduring effects of the Commission’s rhetorical wager. It is the first book-length study to analyze the TRC through such a lens. Katherine Elizabeth Mack focuses on the dissension and negotiations over difference provoked by the Commission’s process, especially its public airing of victims’ and perpetrators’ truths. She tracks agonistic deliberation (evidenced in the TRC’s public hearings) into works of fiction and photography that extend and challenge the Commission’s assumptions about truth, healing, and reconciliation. Ultimately, Mack demonstrates that while the TRC may not have achieved all of its political goals, its very existence generated valuable deliberation within and beyond its official process.

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South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearings can be considered one of the most significant rhetorical events of the late twentieth century. The TRC called language into action, tasking it with promoting understanding among a divided people and facilitating the construction of South Africa’s new democracy. Other boo...

Katherine Elizabeth Mack is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:176 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:September 8, 2016Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271064986

ISBN - 13:9780271064987

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Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgements

Introduction: The Rhetoricity of Truth Commissions

Chapter 1: Localizing Transitional Justice in South Africa

Chapter 2: Ambivalent Speech, Resonant Silences

Chapter 3: Contesting Accountability

Chapter 4: Imagining Reconciliation

Conclusion

Bibliography

Editorial Reviews

“Just as the [Truth and Reconciliation Commission]’s ambiguities and complexities opened opportunities for productive debate, so too does From Apartheid to Democracy create openings and invite rhetorical scholars to participate in an ongoing engagement with the TRC and other truth commissions. On the whole, the rhetorical nuance of Mack’s analysis adds much to existing scholarship on the TRC and transitional justice more generally, and her multigenre analysis deftly illustrates the utility of expanding the scope of rhetorical studies on civic deliberation.”—Lindsay Harroff, Rhetoric & Public Affairs