Settling Accounts: Violence, Justice, and Accountability in Postsocialist Europe

Settling Accounts: Violence, Justice, and Accountability in Postsocialist Europe

by John Borneman
     
 

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ISBN-10: 069101681X

ISBN-13: 9780691016818

Pub. Date: 11/03/1997

Publisher: Princeton University Press

As new states in the former East bloc begin to reckon with their criminal pasts in the years following a revolutionary change of regimes, a basic pattern emerges: In those states where some form of retributive justice has been publicly enacted, there has generally been much less of a recourse to collective retributive violence. In Settling Accounts, John

Overview

As new states in the former East bloc begin to reckon with their criminal pasts in the years following a revolutionary change of regimes, a basic pattern emerges: In those states where some form of retributive justice has been publicly enacted, there has generally been much less of a recourse to collective retributive violence. In Settling Accounts, John Borneman explores the attempts by these aspiring democratic states to invoke the principles of the "rule of law" as a means of achieving retributive justice, that is, convicting wrongdoers and restoring dignity to victims of moral injuries. Democratic regimes, Borneman maintains, require a strict form of accountability that holds leaders responsible for acts of criminality. This accountability is embodied in the principles of the rule of law, and retribution is at the moral center of these principles.

Drawing from his ethnographic work in the former East Germany and with select comparisons to other East-Central European states, Borneman critically examines the construction of categories of criminality. He argues against the claims that economic growth, liberal democracy, or acts of reconciliation are adequate means to legitimate the transformed East bloc states. The cycles of violence in states lacking a system of retributive justice help to support this claim. Invocation of the principles of the rule of law must be seen as a chance for a more democratic, more accountable, and less violent world.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691016818
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
11/03/1997
Series:
Princeton Studies in Culture/Power/History Series
Pages:
216
Product dimensions:
5.95(w) x 9.11(h) x 0.47(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Pt. 1Framing, Comparing, Historicizing1
Ch. 1Framing the Rule of Law in East-Central Europe3
Ch. 2Comparing: Decommunization - Recommunization - Reform?26
Ch. 3Historicizing the Rule of Law40
Pt. 2Ethnography of Criminality57
Ch. 4The Invocation of the Rechtsstaat in East Germany: Governmental and Unification Criminality59
Ch. 5Accountability on Trial80
Pt. 3Ethnography of Vindication97
Ch. 6Democratic Accountability: Results, Evaluations, Ramifications99
Ch. 7Justice and Dignity: Victims, Vindication, and Accountability111
Pt. 4Legitimacy137
Ch. 8The Rule of Law and the State: Violence, Justice, and Legitimacy139
Notes167
Bibliography177
Index187
Name Index195

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