The Expressive Burden of Reparations: Putting Meaning into Money, Words, and Things
Contribution to Book
Format of Original
Justice, Responsibility and Reconciliation in the Wake of Conflict
Original Item ID
doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-5201-6; Shelves: BJ 1476 .J87 2013, Memorial Level 1
I propose a novel account of the essentially expressive nature of reparations. My account is descriptive of new practices of reparations that have emerged in the past half-century, and it provides normative guidance on conditions of success for reparative attempts. My account attributes to reparative attempts a dual expressive function: a communicative function that requires the gesture to carry a vindicatory message to victims; and an exemplifying function that requires the gesture to model the right relationship that was absent or violated in the wrongdoing to which reparations respond. This account is able to explain the breadth and variety of measures now recognized as reparations; how reparative attempts can fail in two distinct ways; and why material compensation is never sufficient and not always necessary to reparations.