The Impossible Machine
A Genealogy of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Michigan Press
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About the Author, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Denken ist danken; no attempt at thinking is complete unless it includes some attempt at thanking. This is particularly true for a book such as this, whose thinking came into being through an especially long and circuitous path. This book originated in a dissertation written under the direction of John Mowitt in the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative ...
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Whatever else it has accomplished, South Africa’s Truth and Reconcilia-tion Commission (TRC) has succeeded in eluding the scholarship that has attempted to take it as an object of knowledge. Perhaps because of its unusual mix of public testimony, psychotherapy, political theology, and ju-ridical procedure, which for some endowed it with an intrinsically elusive ...
Chapter 1. Indemnity and Amnesty
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...1.1 One of the main concerns of transitional justice has been the question of why and how South Africa’s TRC is unprecedented. The consensus within transitional justice is that the TRC is unprecedented because its am-nesties were not issued en masse but were individualized and conditional upon public, full disclosure of crimes.uniF6DC This consensus is reached by way of ...
Chapter 2. Indemnity and Sovereignty
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...2.1 Dicey often is said to be the main theoretical source of South African jurisprudence in the twentieth century. However, precisely what this means is by no means clear, for Dicey’s main text, his 1885 Introduction to the Law of the Constitution, has been the object of wildly divergent readings in the last century. uniF6DC The reading of Dicey in South Africa is no exception. On the one ...
Chapter 3. Indemnity in Crisis
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...3.1 In 1961, the South African right would realize one of its long- held as-pirations. South Africa would shed its mostly ceremonial status as a Brit-ish dominion and become an independent republic. The 1961 republican Constitution— the “high- point” of parliamentary sovereignty in South AfricauniF6DC— coincided, however, with a growing impotence on the part of the ...
Chapter 4. Indemnity in the TRC
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...4.1 Our detours complete, let’s return now to our point of departure, and formulate in succinct terms the understanding of the TRC that results.On the one hand, the apartheid state’s deployment of indemnity jurispru-dence not only put indemnity jurisprudence into crisis, but also produced the very conditions under which it became necessary to devise an institution ...
Chapter 5. What Is a Commission?
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...5.1.1 In addition to claims about its “individualized amnesties,” there is an-other feature of the TRC that often is considered unprecedented and that, as such, lays claim to our genealogical attention. “What we have tried to do in the Bill,” Johnny de Lange explained in his 1995 presentation of the PNR is to place the victims at the centre. Again I want to say that this is unique in ...
Chapter 6. The Rise and Fall of the Tumult Commission
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...6.1.1 In colonial Southern Africa, the Commission of Inquiry would operate much differently than it did in the nineteenth- century metropole. Begin-ning at least with the 1823– 35 Commission of Inquiry into the Condition and Treatment of Natives in Southern Africa, the purpose of the Commis-sion of Inquiry was to enable the emergence of colonial government within ...
Chapter 7. A Tumult Commission of a Special Type?
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...7.1.1 In its strongest iteration, the argument on behalf of Truth Commissions within transitional justice assumes a form at once dialectical and critical. Against those who would criticize Truth Commissions on the assumption that criminal prosecution is the only or best paradigm of justice, transitional scholars deploy two arguments. The first and most well known is equal parts ...
Chapter 8. Out of Commission: Salus or Ubuntu?
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...8.1.1 On the terms set forth by the TRC, the type of community we find enacted in Greig Coetzee’s Past Imperfect would have a very specific name: ubuntu. Translated sometimes as “humanity,” “compassion,” and “recogni-tion of the humanity of the other”uniF6DC and sometimes simply as “caring for the community,”uniF63A ubuntu is most often interpreted within transitional justice in ...
Epilogue: Toward a Critique of Transitional Justice
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In the closing paragraphs of the preface to his 1821 Philosophy of Right, G. W. F. Hegel offered a pithy and justly famous observation about the nonidentity between philosophy and the real present— the “actuality”— that philosophy desires to think. “The owl of Minerva,” wrote Hegel, “begins its flight only with the falling of the dusk.”uniF6DC If Hegel’s remark is not off the mark, then ...
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Page Count: 392
Illustrations: 1 figure
Publication Year: 2013