The concept of reconciliation has emerged as a central term of political discourse within societies divided by a history of political violence such as South Africa, Chile, Australia and Northern Ireland. Although reconciliation is at odds with politics insofar as it is directed towards closure, harmony and consensus while politics tends towards openness, conflict and dissent, it has been promoted as a way of reckoning with the legacy of past wrongs while opening the way for community in the future.
This book examines the issues of transitional justice in the context of contemporary debates in political theory concerning the nature of the political. Drawing on the work of Hannah Arendt, the author argues that if we are to talk of reconciliation in politics we need to think about it in a fundamentally different way-as agnostic rather than restorative. This argument is developed in relation to four key aspects of the politics of reconciliation: the constitution of a polity, the possibility of forgivenessin politics, collective responsibility of citizens for state wrongs and remembrance of a painful past.
This book will be of interest to students and researchers with a particular interest in transitional justice and those in the fields of political theory, peace and conflict studies, international relations, philosophy and ethics.