There seems to be a pervasive trend towards public apologies, forms of national introspection and appeals to grant forgiveness. Archbishop Tutu’s motto that “there is no future without forgiveness” is well known. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission has become an important model and source of inspiration for many other countries that want to deal with their past grievances and internal conflicts.
This book discusses the role of forgiveness within processes of peace building and transitional justice. Does ‘forgiveness’ enable a public or political use of the term? Is it possible to forgive on behalf of others, and if so, under what conditions? These conceptual questions are related to reflections on the cultural and religious contexts of expressing forgiveness. Do forgiving words promote a willingness to look ahead and prevent a relapse into conflicting views on the poisonous past? Or do they bring along aversion? Maybe the ‘push’ towards forgiveness is experienced as highly unfair.
Public forgiveness: Theoretical and practical perspectives (p. 1)
Countries emerging from long periods of authoritarian rule must often confront a legacy of gross human rights abuses perpetrated over many years. During the past two decades, these age-old issues have been termed “problems of transitional justice”, both by academics and policy makers around the world. Given the frequency with which these problems arise, as well as the complexity of the issues involved, it is striking that no book series has taken the issue of transitional justice as its point of focus.
The Series on Transitional Justice offers a platform for high-quality research within the rapidly growing field of transitional justice. This research is, of necessity, inter-disciplinary in nature, drawing from disciplines such as law, political science, history, sociology, criminology, anthropology and psychology, as well as from various specialised fields of study such as human rights, victimology and peace studies. It is furthermore international in outlook, drawing on the knowledge and experience of academics and other specialists in many different regions of the world.
The series is aimed at a variety of audiences who are either working or interested in fields such as crime and justice; human rights; humanitarian law and human security; conflict resolution and peace building. These audiences may include academics, researchers, students, policy makers, practitioners, non-governmental organisations and the media.
- Prof. S. Parmentier (University of Leuven, Belgium)
- Prof. Elmar Weitekamp (University of Tübingen, Germany)
- Prof. Jeremy Sarkin (NOVA University of Lisbon School of Law) and
- Mina Rauschenbach (Université de Lausanne and University of Leuven) (Associate editor)
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