Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Sergio Alloggio and Kylie Thomas
African Yearbook of Rhetoric
Forgetting responsibility : Hannah Arendt and the work of (undoing) psychic resistance post-apartheid
Optional Fields
Apartheid; South Africa; Hannah Arendt; Nazism; Germany; social justice; education; responsibility
This paper engages with some of the writings of Hannah Arendt in order to draw a political parallel between the complex nexus of responsibility, judgement and sociality in post-war Germany and post-apartheid South Africa. In her writings on post-war Germany Arendt described the failure on the part of the German public to recognise and respond to what she terms "the horror" of Nazism. In her report on the aftermath of war, written on her return to Germany from the United States in 1949, Arendt recounts how she found "an inability to feel", "absence of mourning for the dead" and a "general lack of emotion" in those she encountered in Germany at that time. In this paper we connect her insights on post-war Germany to her later work on the difficulties of judging; this allows us to cast light on the problem of the evasion of responsibility in contemporary South Africa.
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