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    The persistence of collective guilt

    Ashenden, Samantha (2014) The persistence of collective guilt. Economy and Society 43 (1), pp. 55-82. ISSN 0308-5147.

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    This paper asks why, despite the obvious difficulties entailed, the notion of ‘collective guilt’ continues to feature in discussions of the responsibilities of one group towards another. The aim is to clarify how it is that the partial success of repeated attempts to distinguish individual from collective guilt and to confine the latter to a pre-modern moment reveals something of our present. The key contributions to this discussion made by Hannah Arendt and Karl Jaspers in relation to Nazi Germany are examined for their ambivalences in this regard, as are some recent developments in international law and politics. The suspicion is that collective guilt is a notion that modern political reason cannot embrace and yet which it cannot entirely disavow: ‘collective guilt’ and the element of fate that it implies is central to our understanding of citizenship, nationhood and political commitment. The paper thus attempts an analysis of the durability of the concept of collective guilt; it is not an evaluation of its usefulness, but an exploration of its persistence.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): collective guilt, Arendt, Jaspers, Kant, moral luck, genocide, nation, reparations, community
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Moving Image, Birkbeck Institute for the (BIMI)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 11:44
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:09


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