Breaking the Cycles of Hatred: Memory, Law, and Repair

Princeton University Press
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Violence so often begets violence. Victims respond with revenge only to inspire seemingly endless cycles of retaliation. Conflicts between nations, between ethnic groups, between strangers, and between family members differ in so many ways and yet often share this dynamic. In this powerful and timely book Martha Minow and others ask: What explains these cycles and what can break them? What lessons can we draw from one form of violence that might be relevant to other forms? Can legal responses to violence provide accountability but avoid escalating vengeance? If so, what kinds of legal institutions and practices can make a difference? What kinds risk failure?

Breaking the Cycles of Hatred represents a unique blend of political and legal theory, one that focuses on the double-edged role of memory in fueling cycles of hatred and maintaining justice and personal integrity. Its centerpiece comprises three penetrating essays by Minow. She argues that innovative legal institutions and practices, such as truth commissions and civil damage actions against groups that sponsor hate, often work better than more conventional criminal proceedings and sanctions. Minow also calls for more sustained attention to the underlying dynamics of violence, the connections between intergroup and intrafamily violence, and the wide range of possible responses to violence beyond criminalization.


A vibrant set of freestanding responses from experts in political theory, psychology, history, and law examines past and potential avenues for breaking cycles of violence and for deepening our capacity to avoid becoming what we hate. The topics include hate crimes and hate-crimes legislation, child sexual abuse and the statute of limitations, and the American kidnapping and internment of Japanese Latin Americans during World War II. Commissioned by Nancy Rosenblum, the essays are by Ross E. Cheit, Marc Galanter, Fredrick C. Harris, Judith Lewis Herman, Carey Jaros, Frederick M. Lawrence, Austin Sarat, Ayelet Shachar, Eric K. Yamamoto, and Iris Marion Young.

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About the author

Martha Minow is Professor of Law at Harvard University. Her books include Partners, Not Rivals, Between Vengeance and Forgiveness, Not Only for Myself, and Making All the Difference. She recently served on the Independent International Commission on Kosovo. Nancy L. Rosenblum is Professor of Government at Harvard University. She is the author of Membership and Morals, editor of Obligations of Citizenship and Demands of Faith, and coeditor of Civil Society and Government (all Princeton).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jan 10, 2009
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Pages
312
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ISBN
9781400825387
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / Jurisprudence
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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What is the legacy of Brown vs. Board of Education? While it is well known for establishing racial equality as a central commitment of American schools, the case also inspired social movements for equality in education across all lines of difference, including language, gender, disability, immigration status, socio-economic status, religion, and sexual orientation. Yet more than a half century after Brown, American schools are more racially separated than before, and educators, parents and policy makers still debate whether the ruling requires all-inclusive classrooms in terms of race, gender, disability, and other differences. In Brown's Wake examines the reverberations of Brown in American schools, including efforts to promote equal opportunities for all kinds of students. School choice, once a strategy for avoiding Brown, has emerged as a tool to promote integration and opportunities, even as charter schools and private school voucher programs enable new forms of self-separation by language, gender, disability, and ethnicity. Martha Minow, Dean of Harvard Law School, argues that the criteria placed on such initiatives carry serious consequences for both the character of American education and civil society itself. Although the original promise of Brown remains more symbolic than effective, Minow demonstrates the power of its vision in the struggles for equal education regardless of students' social identity, not only in the United States but also in many countries around the world. Further, she urges renewed commitment to the project of social integration even while acknowledging the complex obstacles that must be overcome. An elegant and concise overview of Brown and its aftermath, In Brown's Wake explores the broad-ranging and often surprising impact of one of the century's most important Supreme Court decisions.
Should a court order medical treatment for a severely disabled newborn in the face of the parents' refusal to authorize it? How does the law apply to a neighborhood that objects to a group home for developmentally disabled people? Does equality mean treating everyone the same, even if such treatment affects some people adversely? Does a state requirement of employee maternity leave serve or violate the commitment to gender equality?

Martha Minow takes a hard look at the way our legal system functions in dealing with people on the basis of race, gender, age, ethnicity, religion, and disability. Minow confronts a variety of dilemmas of difference resulting from contradictory legal strategies—strategies that attempt to correct inequalities by sometimes recognizing and sometimes ignoring differences. Exploring the historical sources of ideas about difference, she offers challenging alternative ways of conceiving of traits that legal and social institutions have come to regard as "different." She argues, in effect, for a constructed jurisprudence based on the ability to recognize and work with perceptible forms of difference.

Minow is passionately interested in the people—"different" people—whose lives are regularly (mis)shaped and (mis)directed by the legal system's ways of handling them. Drawing on literary and feminist theories and the insights of anthropology and social history, she identifies the unstated assumptions that tend to regenerate discrimination through the very reforms that are supposed to eliminate it. Education for handicapped children, conflicts between job and family responsibilities, bilingual education, Native American land claims—these are among the concrete problems she discusses from a fresh angle of vision.

Minow firmly rejects the prevailing conception of the self that she believes underlies legal doctrine—a self seen as either separate and autonomous, or else disabled and incompetent in some way. In contrast, she regards the self as being realized through connection, capable of shaping an identity only in relationship to other people. She shifts the focus for problem solving from the "different" person to the relationships that construct that difference, and she proposes an analysis that can turn "difference" from a basis of stigma and a rationale for unequal treatment into a point of human connection. "The meanings of many differences can change when people locate and revise their relationships to difference," she asserts. "The student in a wheelchair becomes less different when the building designed without him in mind is altered to permit his access." Her book evaluates contemporary legal theories and reformulates legal rights for women, children, persons with disabilities, and others historically identified as different.

Here is a powerful voice for change, speaking to issues that permeate our daily lives and form a central part of the work of law. By illuminating the many ways in which people differ from one another, this book shows how lawyers, political theorist, teachers, parents, students—every one of us—can make all the difference,

What is the legacy of Brown vs. Board of Education? While it is well known for establishing racial equality as a central commitment of American schools, the case also inspired social movements for equality in education across all lines of difference, including language, gender, disability, immigration status, socio-economic status, religion, and sexual orientation. Yet more than a half century after Brown, American schools are more racially separated than before, and educators, parents and policy makers still debate whether the ruling requires all-inclusive classrooms in terms of race, gender, disability, and other differences. In Brown's Wake examines the reverberations of Brown in American schools, including efforts to promote equal opportunities for all kinds of students. School choice, once a strategy for avoiding Brown, has emerged as a tool to promote integration and opportunities, even as charter schools and private school voucher programs enable new forms of self-separation by language, gender, disability, and ethnicity. Martha Minow, Dean of Harvard Law School, argues that the criteria placed on such initiatives carry serious consequences for both the character of American education and civil society itself. Although the original promise of Brown remains more symbolic than effective, Minow demonstrates the power of its vision in the struggles for equal education regardless of students' social identity, not only in the United States but also in many countries around the world. Further, she urges renewed commitment to the project of social integration even while acknowledging the complex obstacles that must be overcome. An elegant and concise overview of Brown and its aftermath, In Brown's Wake explores the broad-ranging and often surprising impact of one of the century's most important Supreme Court decisions.
Should a court order medical treatment for a severely disabled newborn in the face of the parents' refusal to authorize it? How does the law apply to a neighborhood that objects to a group home for developmentally disabled people? Does equality mean treating everyone the same, even if such treatment affects some people adversely? Does a state requirement of employee maternity leave serve or violate the commitment to gender equality?

Martha Minow takes a hard look at the way our legal system functions in dealing with people on the basis of race, gender, age, ethnicity, religion, and disability. Minow confronts a variety of dilemmas of difference resulting from contradictory legal strategies—strategies that attempt to correct inequalities by sometimes recognizing and sometimes ignoring differences. Exploring the historical sources of ideas about difference, she offers challenging alternative ways of conceiving of traits that legal and social institutions have come to regard as "different." She argues, in effect, for a constructed jurisprudence based on the ability to recognize and work with perceptible forms of difference.

Minow is passionately interested in the people—"different" people—whose lives are regularly (mis)shaped and (mis)directed by the legal system's ways of handling them. Drawing on literary and feminist theories and the insights of anthropology and social history, she identifies the unstated assumptions that tend to regenerate discrimination through the very reforms that are supposed to eliminate it. Education for handicapped children, conflicts between job and family responsibilities, bilingual education, Native American land claims—these are among the concrete problems she discusses from a fresh angle of vision.

Minow firmly rejects the prevailing conception of the self that she believes underlies legal doctrine—a self seen as either separate and autonomous, or else disabled and incompetent in some way. In contrast, she regards the self as being realized through connection, capable of shaping an identity only in relationship to other people. She shifts the focus for problem solving from the "different" person to the relationships that construct that difference, and she proposes an analysis that can turn "difference" from a basis of stigma and a rationale for unequal treatment into a point of human connection. "The meanings of many differences can change when people locate and revise their relationships to difference," she asserts. "The student in a wheelchair becomes less different when the building designed without him in mind is altered to permit his access." Her book evaluates contemporary legal theories and reformulates legal rights for women, children, persons with disabilities, and others historically identified as different.

Here is a powerful voice for change, speaking to issues that permeate our daily lives and form a central part of the work of law. By illuminating the many ways in which people differ from one another, this book shows how lawyers, political theorist, teachers, parents, students—every one of us—can make all the difference,

What is the legacy of Brown vs. Board of Education? While it is well known for establishing racial equality as a central commitment of American schools, the case also inspired social movements for equality in education across all lines of difference, including language, gender, disability, immigration status, socio-economic status, religion, and sexual orientation. Yet more than a half century after Brown, American schools are more racially separated than before, and educators, parents and policy makers still debate whether the ruling requires all-inclusive classrooms in terms of race, gender, disability, and other differences. In Brown's Wake examines the reverberations of Brown in American schools, including efforts to promote equal opportunities for all kinds of students. School choice, once a strategy for avoiding Brown, has emerged as a tool to promote integration and opportunities, even as charter schools and private school voucher programs enable new forms of self-separation by language, gender, disability, and ethnicity. Martha Minow, Dean of Harvard Law School, argues that the criteria placed on such initiatives carry serious consequences for both the character of American education and civil society itself. Although the original promise of Brown remains more symbolic than effective, Minow demonstrates the power of its vision in the struggles for equal education regardless of students' social identity, not only in the United States but also in many countries around the world. Further, she urges renewed commitment to the project of social integration even while acknowledging the complex obstacles that must be overcome. An elegant and concise overview of Brown and its aftermath, In Brown's Wake explores the broad-ranging and often surprising impact of one of the century's most important Supreme Court decisions.
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