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Duty to Respond

Mass Crime, Denial, and Collective Responsibility

By Nenad Dimitrijevic

Publication Year: 2011

The subject of the book is responsibility for collective crime. Collective crime is an act committed by a significant number of the members of a group, in the name of all members of that group, with the support of the majority of group members, and against individuals targeted on the basis of their belonging to a different group. The central claim is that all members of the group in whose name collective crime is committed share responsibility for it. This book’s special interest is with analytical and normative defense of arguments that purport to explain reasons for, and the character of, responsibility of decent people. Those who did not intend, support, or committed wrong, are still accountable in a non-vicarious manner. The basis of their responsibility is the crime-specific relationship between group identity and personal identity.

Published by: Central European University Press

Title page

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Copyright page

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii-x


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pp. xi-xiv

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pp. 1-12

A disclaimer is due at the very beginning: the incentive for writing this book is non-academic. Its author is a member of a social group in whose name grave crimes were committed in the recent past. I am haunted by the ghosts of the innocent people who were killed in my name. This is perhaps one typical reaction to mass crime, experienced in different historical...

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Chapter One: Criminal Regime, its Subjects, and Collective Crime

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pp. 13-43

The central topic of this book is the distribution of responsibility among members of a social group in whose name mass crime was committed. Before addressing this question, a summary account of the criminal past is necessary...

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Chapter Two: Politics of Silence and Denial

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pp. 44-84

What happened yesterday is unchangeable. No structure, relationship, or action from the past can be altered or revoked. Still, we often come across expressions like “coming to terms with,” “working off,” and “mastering” the past,1 or, adversely, “closing the books,” “reaching forward instead of...

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Chapter Three: Culture, Knowledge, and Collective Crime: Reading Relativism

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pp. 85-132

In Chapter Two I explored some typical arguments against authoritative dealing with collective crimes. Some of them are formulated as specific policy concerns. In some other arguments references to culture play a prominent part. Most of those who oppose dealing with the atrocious past...

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Chapter Four: Moral Responsibility for Collective Crime

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pp. 133-196

In this chapter I will claim that dealing with collective crime in a morally proper way requires addressing the question of collective moral responsibility.
The question can be formulated in the following way: is it right to inquire about the responsibility of all persons who belong to a group in...


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pp. 197-206


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pp. 207-211

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9786155053085
Print-ISBN-13: 9786155053078

Page Count: 227
Publication Year: 2011