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African, American and European Trajectories of ModernityPast Oppression, Future Justice?$
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Peter Wagner

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781474400404

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474400404.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

An Unsettled Past as a Political Resource

An Unsettled Past as a Political Resource

(p.197) 9 An Unsettled Past as a Political Resource
African, American and European Trajectories of Modernity

Svjetlana Nedimović

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines recent debates about transitional justice and argues against attempts at ‘overcoming the past’ or ‘settling the past’. Drawing on Cornelius Castoriadis's theory of the social-historical, it shows that engaging with the past is an inescapable dimension of societal existence and its self-creative process. It contends that such past is not necessarily a burden but can become a political resource in the (re)construction of political community. The resourcefulness of the past, however, is contingent upon standing or permanent political institutions and normative frameworks. The unsettled past, the chapter suggests, becomes a valuable political resource only if it remains unsettled and, as such, a vital part and live matter of everyday political processes through the interconnected workings of collective political responsibility and political imagination.

Keywords:   transitional justice, Cornelius Castoriadis, social-historical, political resource, political community, unsettled past, collective responsibility, political imagination

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