Reconciling Community and Subjective Life: Trauma Testimony - download pdf or read online

By Magdalena Zolkos

Examines problems with transitional justice and reconciliation from a severe, political concept point of view hardly ever utilized during this sector of study.>

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Extra resources for Reconciling Community and Subjective Life: Trauma Testimony as Political Theorizing in the Work of Jean Améry and Imre Kertész

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The psychic operation of homelessness is that of discontinuity and shuttering of one’s temporal self-understanding and self-experience. It ruptures the subject’s situatedness within his personal and family history. Améry argues that with aging, we become “dependent to an increasing degree on the memory of the past,” our “horizon presses in on [us], [our] tomorrow and day-after-tomorrow have no vigor and no certainty” (1986: 57 & 58). Here again Iris Marion Young’s insight is helpful because for her the idea of home is connected to remembrance.

Resentment and Trauma Subjectivity 35 One such question is the titular inquiry of how much home a person needs. Its quantitative logic is admittedly rather peculiar. I argue that what the question reveals, however, is an unacknowledged but central anxiety that operates as an animating force of the unfolding of the text. ” Améry differentiates the exile experiences of the German-speaking Jewish populations living in Germany or Austria from two other situations of expatriation—that of a self-imposed and politically-motivated migration of German intellectuals on the one hand, and that of the displacement of the East European Jewry from their home territories during the war on the other hand.

Zolkos 2009a). 17 Resentment and Trauma Subjectivity 41 For Améry the trauma of homelessness and its wounding of the psychic life encapsulate therefore the experience of being dispossessed from the possibility of plural living and of being denied of one’s situatedness in (maternal) language. This wounding acquires then a quality of an irreversible and “incurable sickness” partly because it denotes a mode of dispossession, or deprivation, that is incurred by another person. The testimonial address of that essay demands of its recipient to recognize that relational modality of the subject’s catastrophic injury and suffering.

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