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Guilt: A Force of Cultural Transformation
Edited by Katharina von Kellenbach and Matthias Buschmeier
Oxford University Press / Softcover / Jan 2022
9780197557440 (ISBN-10: 0197557449)
Emotions / Social & Political Issues
price: $43.95 (may be subject to change)
368 pages
Not in Stock, usually ships in 7-10 business days

Across the globe guilt has become a contentious issue in discussions over historical accountability and reparation for past injustices. Guilt has become political, and it assumes a highly visible place in the public sphere and academic debate in fields ranging from cultural memory, to
transitional justice, post-colonialism, Africana studies, and the study of populist extremism.

This volume argues that guilt is a productive force that helps to balance unequal power dynamics between individuals and groups. Moreover, guilt can also be an ambivalent force affecting social cohesion, moral revolutions, political negotiation, artistic creativity, legal innovation, and other forms of transformations. With chapters bridging the social sciences, law, and humanities, chapter authors examine the role and function of guilt in society and present case studies from seven national contexts. The book approaches guilt as a generative and enduring presence in societies and cultures rather than as an oppressive and destructive burden that necessitates quick release and liberation. It also considers guilt as something that legitimates the future infliction of violence. Finally, it examines the conditions under which guilt promotes transformation, repair, and renewal of relationships.

About the Editors:

Katharina von Kellenbach is Professor emerita of Religious Studies at St. Mary's College of Maryland and project coordinator at the Evangelische Akademie zu Berlin. She is the author of Anti-Judaism in Feminist Religious Writings, The Mark of Cain: Guilt and Denial in the Lives of Nazi Perpetrators, and Composting Guilt: The Purification of Memory after Atrocity.

Matthias Buschmeier is an Associate Professor (Akademischer Oberrat) of German Literature at Bielefeld University, Germany. He has published widely on German and European Literature and the History of Knowledge from the 18th to 20th centuries. His areas of research include the relation between literature and politics, cultural theory, hermeneutics and pragmatism, philology, the historiography of world literature, and discourses of knowledge.

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