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A critical-theoretic study of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission : with reference to the work of Jurgen Habermas

By Eugene Nicholas Isaac

Abstract

By using the work of Jurgen Habermas as my central focus\ud the objective of this thesis was to judge whether the ideas that he has formulated in different bodies of work\ud illuminate the problems and prospects for sustained\ud democratic development in a country that has been \ud affected by the impact of a series of cumulative civilizing\ud offensives.I argue that the South African Truth and\ud Reconciliation Commission(TRC) must be judged in relation\ud to the outcomes that its commissioners attempted to promote.\ud \ud Following a reading of the works of Habermas I argue that it possible to specify the outcomes that would make it possible for the leaders of a new state to settle their\ud accounts with the violations of the past by paying the fullest settlement of damages. Through the use of a case\ud study methodology I was able to step outside of the realms\ud of pure theory by establishing how some of Habermass \ud ideas do enable us to acquire an understanding of the outcomes that the TRC was and was not able to influence.\ud \ud I use the ideas of Habermas in a critical way in order to judge the consequences of successive truth-telling \ud hearings and the settings in which they were constituted. My\ud methodology was also theoretic in so far as my goal was to establish whether it was possible to identify a characteristic or trait that differentiates a positive \ud and/or a full settlement of damages from a negative \ud and/or an empty settlement of damages.\ud \ud My analysis has demonstrated that the TRC was not able to establish an authoritative record of the perpetrators who committed violations during the mandate period. Therefore, the judgement that successive truth-telling processes made a decisive contribution to the revision of the country's political culture needs to be revised

Publisher: School of Sociology and Social Policy (Leeds)
Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:589

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