Law and the Politics of Memory
Confronting the Past
Routledge – 2014 – 192 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. 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. 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. 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.
Chapter I: Introduction, Chapter II: European Memory: Memory Claims and their Legal ‘Regulation’ in the European Union, Chapter III: France and Challenges to French Universalism: Towards Accepting Collective Responsibility for Vichy Crimes, Chapter IV: Trial About Discourse: Torture During the Algerian, Chapter V: Memory Laws and the Politics of Victimhood, Chapter VI: Conclusion: Why Law?, Bibliography, Index
Stiina Löytömäki is a post-doctoral researcher at the Eric Castren Institute of International Law and Human Rights, University of Helsinki. She defended her PhD in 2010 at the European University Institute. She has also been a visiting researcher at the Birkbeck school of law. Her main research interests include memory, transitional justice, history of international law, post-colonial studies and law’s relationship to history and other social sciences.