Law and the Politics of Memory: Confronting the Past

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Routledge, Jun 5, 2014 - Law - 162 pages

Law and the Politics of Memory: Confronting the Past examines law’s role as a tool of memory politics in the efforts of contemporary societies to work through the traumas of their past. Using the examples of French colonialism and Vichy, as well as addressing the politics of memory surrounding the Holocaust, communism and colonialism, this book provides a critical exploration of law’s role in ‘belated’ transitional justice contexts.

The book examines how and why law has become so central in processes in which the past is constituted as a series of injustices that need to be rectified and can allegedly be repaired. As such, it explores different legal modalities in processes of working through the past; addressing the implications of regulating history and memory through legal categories and legislative acts, whilst exploring how trials, restitution cases, and memory laws manage to fulfil such varied expectations as clarifying truth, rendering homage to memory and reconciling societies.

Legal scholars, historians and political scientists, especially those working with transitional justice, history and memory politics in particular, will find this book a stimulating exploration of the specificity of law as an instrument and forum of the politics of memory.


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The recent legalization of colonialism in France
Memory claims and their legal regulation in the European Union
Towards accepting collective responsibility for Vichy crimes
Torture during the Algerian war
5 Memory laws and the politics of victimhood
Why law?

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About the author (2014)

Stiina Löytömäki is a post-doctoral researcher at the Eric Castren Institute of International Law and Human Rights, University of Helsinki.

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