Bearing Witness: Women and the Truth and Reconciliation by Fiona C. Ross

By Fiona C. Ross

Those who witness acts of terror and violence are usually referred to as after the development to undergo witness to what they observed. In circumstances the place this violence is inflicted by means of the kingdom upon its personal humans, the method of bearing witness is either politically complicated and annoying for the person concerned. autonomous trials and commissions became vital mechanisms in which the reality of earlier violence is sought in democratising states, yet to this point there was little shut awareness to the approaches and complexity of the paintings of such institutions.Fiona Ross's attention-grabbing examine of the method of bearing witness is the 1st ebook to ascertain the gendered dimensions of this subject from an anthropological and ethnographic point of view. Taking as a key instance the reality and Reconciliation fee in South Africa, Ross explores women's relationships to testimony, fairly the level to which girls steer clear of conversing approximately or are silent approximately definite types of violence and discomfort. supplying a wealth of first-hand examples, Ross ways a extra refined figuring out of the achievements and the constraints of testimony as a degree of agony and restoration in general. Is it, she asks, the panacea it's always visible as? Or do traditional discourses on human rights, agony and reconciliation oversimplify an altogether extra advanced and not easy method?

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Sample text

She explained, The harassment and pain [we experienced] did not start when my child died. It started in 1985, when he began to be harassed by police as a student activist. He was harassed at school; the police and Defence Force went to the school and the headmaster would hide him with other children ... The house was petrol-bombed. I suffered a lot and my mother nearly died ... The police used to come in and out of my house and told me to tell my son not to be political. In response to their warnings she said that she did not know what they were talking about, and that she knew nothing about politics.

786), resting on the assumption that a subject’s own account of personal experience must be true (p. 777). Experience becomes the bedrock for political claims but at the same time may have the effect of naturalising categories and obviating the historical processes through which people are constituted as subjects. Scott proposes: [W]e need to attend to the historical processes that, through discourse, position subjects and produce their experiences. It is not individuals who have experiences, but subjects who are constituted through experience.

Proposing that ‘every testimony is a field of forces incessantly traversed by currents of subjectification and desubjectification’ (p. 121), and that it occurs at the point where there is no possibility of ‘conjoining the living being with language’ (p. 130), he sees testimony as ‘the disjunction between two impossibilities of bearing witness ... If there is no articulation between the living being and language, if the “I” stands suspended in this disjunction, then there can be testimony. The intimacy that betrays our non-coincidence with ourselves is the place of testimony.

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