We locate Arendt’s and Shklar’s political and legal writings within what Ira Katznelson has identified as an attempt to create a new language for politics and society after the cataclysm of the twentieth century, and Mark Greif has called the new ‘maieutic’ discourse of ‘re-enlightenment’ in the ‘age of the crisis of man’. More specifically, we compare and contrast two related, but in many ways also differing, ways of thinking about totalitarianism and its legal repercussions. To this end, we examine Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem: A report on the banality of evil (1963) and Shklar’s Legalism: An essay on law, morals, and politics (1964). Both the Eichmann book and Legalism dealt with the question of whether and how justice is possible after the extreme experience of totalitarianism. We argue that the maieutic impulse led Arendt and Shklar to find distinct routes to address a common concern. Our paper ends with a discussion of some of the surplus meaning that was generated by the different maieutic performances of the two thinkers. Our discussion of Arendt and Shklar aims beyond a potential application to politics and is not limited to legal aspects either. It aims at the heart of what it means to live together and what can reasonably be expected in terms of safeguarding institutions after the totalitarian experience.
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Justice after the Holocaust: Hannah Arendt’s and Judith N. Shklar’s political-legal reflections in historical and theoretical perspective
VeranstalterIn:GSU (Gesellschaft für Soziologie an der Universität Graz)
Kontaktperson:Mag. Edith Lanser
Institut für Soziologie
Telefon: 0316 380 3540
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