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Sing the RageListening to Anger after Mass Violence$
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Sonali Chakravarti

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226119984

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226120041.001.0001

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The First Skeptic

The First Skeptic

Hannah Arendt and the Danger of Victim Testimony

(p.79) Chapter Three The First Skeptic
Sing the Rage

Sonali Chakravarti

University of Chicago Press

Hannah Arendt’s theoretical writings, particularly in The Human Condition and On Revolution, provide a rich foundation for thinking about the political significance of victim testimony. Most interestingly, her writing appears to both support and deny its political potential. This chapter elaborates upon two strands of Arendt’s thinking that seem to be working in opposite directions when applied to the case of victim testimony at truth commissions. On the one hand, Arendt depicts action in the public sphere as the highest form of politics, which suggests that testimony in public has the potential to usher in something truly new for politics. On the other, she argues that certain emotions, such as love, compassion, and pain, are inappropriate for public life and have a destructive impact on the important work of action.

Keywords:   Hannah Arendt, Human Condition, Victim testimony, Public, Private, Social, Truth commission

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