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Introductions and conclusions are important components of any essay. They work to book-end the argument made in the body paragraphs by first explaining.

Given the violent past of South Africa and Sierra Leone, a TRC was essential in order to restore the damage that have been afflicted by oppression and violence Better Essays words 3. Better Essays words 8. The major developments occurred over an extended period of time and were, arguably, brought on by many different factors. Previous literature and theories tell what helped the nation come to a state of development.

The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission | Bartleby

Additionally, an indigenous model employed in South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, also contributed to the transition from the old apartheid system of rule to the evenly applied democr Over the years, South Africa has either been through rough times in the traditional tribal part, or being descriminated because of their color of skin. Here, they have lived, worked on farms, and hunted for generations Better Essays words 2. With cotton fields requiring months to harvest and commodities like corn being grown the remainder of the year , slaves had very little time to themselves other than ensuring their own survival.

With the quick reinvigoration of labor demands, fugitive laws were enacted to keep slaves bound to their owners I have always heard of global warming, but have never taken the time to look at the available evidence and develop my own opinion. This documentary not only helped me achieve a greater understanding of the causes of global warming, but especially allowed me to comprehend the consequences humans face if nothing is done.

Mixed media. The work refers to the torture practices of police captain Jeffrey Benzien. Benzien claimed he had not received any instructions to torture and had invented and self-initiated his techniques of torture which included what is now known as water boarding. These omissions extended the structural deniability that had previously been embedded in the planning of state violence.

In cases in which political motivation was not demonstrated, a normative void framed the act of violence at issue. In the political culture of the state where contestation of the apartheid order was seen as advancing a global communist conspiracy, the project to indemnify violence based on political motivation assumed a decidedly phantasmatic contour. In reducing amnesty to political motivation intentionality and full disclosure, was the TRC setting the criteria for its own ultimate politico-ethical indemnification before the res publica of South Africa and the purview of transnational human rights consensus?

The TRC acted as if all parties in the conflict originated in a pre-existing liberal consensus hegemonic outside of the country and belatedly represented by the TRC itself and had then deviated from this norm for which they owed an apology and an amnesty application in order to return to the liberal contractual order. This was the logic in part imposed by negotiated settlement that had instituted the truth commission. In morally and juridically detaching the counterinsurgency waged in defense of apartheid from the structural violence of the racialized economy itself the TRC did little to explore how the material violence and violent ideologies of the racial economy had contributed to the etiology of state violence through material practices that were required to underwrite the threatened laws and rule of racialized labor and production.

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Could war and policing be treated as having no transformative effect on how economic-spatial apartheid was administered? Foucault has theorized that the political, including political economy, is war by other means and identified this logic as originating in racially polarized social formations Foucault The predicating and predicated violence of the state and its agents was never explicitly interrogated by the TRC for what light it could shed on the organizational mentalities and subject making practices of economic apartheid as a war machine in itself.

This opens, not the ethical question of means and ends, but rather the question of what autonomous political means does it take to impose and support subjugating economic media. Separating the violence of political economy from the political economy of violence historically and ethically divorced the limitless movement of capital under apartheid from the correlative infinitization of its violence against persons of color as the striated substance of this self-moving circulatory apparatus.

With the emerging threat posed to capitalist labor discipline by the struggle institutions economimesis evolved into a counterinsurgency theater of structural nostalgia that restaged subjugated bodies of color through pain and disfigurement. In this theater the now threatened political economy was violently reenacted through the allegorical re-inscription of labor discipline onto the recalcitrant black body, both individual and collective. I do not seek to pose racism as the reductive truth about the violence of the apartheid state but to stress that like the infinite productivity of apartheid capitalism, which entailed the capitalization of race and the racialization of capital, state terror was as committed to the re production of racial subjects as it was to securing the economy of racial exploitation.

Did the truth commissioners and amnesty adjudicators—comprised of human rights activists, judges, lawyers, clerics, social workers, psychologists, historians etc. That is hardly credible, given their credentials and professional-political biographies. Foucault identifies the performativity of truth telling, frank speech, as the singularized production of a parrhesia , the subject-constituting practice of speaking truth and the dramaturgy of that performance that refracted a bios, the relation between rational discourse, the logos , and a form of life; this ratio is described as basanos or "touchstone" that measures the rapport between a person's life and its principle of intelligibility.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission, South Africa

Parrhesia as refracted bios is irreducible to constantive and performative utterances, which in different ways can effectuate outcomes according to pre-existing conventions and agreements. Rather parrhesia may or may not bring about political change by naming the ethical void denied by a situation, but it does generate a truth-telling subject from a bios under ordeal producing an open situation of unknown effects and possibilities— parrhesia can be the igniting of the irruptive event to which the subject binds itself even at the risk of life Foucault , The silence around the disproportional separated both amnesty policy and adjudications from the bios of those commissioners and judges who had been mandated by their own witnessing of racial subjugation, constitutional legislation, funding and oath taking to perform parrhesia, to speak the truth about apartheid and to enable and witness such truth speaking by others.

The concept of basanos touchstone entails norms of fidelity, credibility and commensuration that underwrite parrhesia as a test or an ordeal. Page du Bois traces the semantic mutation of the concept of touchstone in Hellenic law, philosophy, literature and theater to the point where it coincides with the use of violence in political agon and juridical torture to differentiate the counterfeit from the true. Foucault does not speak of this relation to violence but states that the basanos enables the assessment of the reality of what is to be tested as a concordance or homologia, traversing a form of life bios , the discourse that stakes claims and the reality that is claimed.

Since slaves were ubiquitously represented as the tortured in Athenian democracy, torture as touchstone required the slave as subjugated difference who was beyond veridiction except under the witness of pain; this skewed the cultural production of truth in that society as the production of law from a violently discarded exteriority. The touchstone of violence prevails only by repressing a counter-touchstone, by being blind to the contamination inherent in its claim to set purity, to get to the bottom of things, to achieve the foundational through fear and pain which invariably entails counterfeiting an evidentiary body and voice and their legibility.

The aporia of the touchstone is the aporia of the medium—of what mediates mediation and whether truth or the counterfeit or both reside in the medium as Plato examined in his critique of the mimesis of writing as a toxin and cure for memory. Norgaard principles seek justice through calculability, advancing a realizable commensuration between justice and the means of war and the assertion that there is a measure for violence, be that political motivation or proportionality, which can adjudicate the unjust.

These commensurations installed a nonantagonistic ground for antagonism and its measurement. Political motivation established the reversibility between violence and discourse across political antagonisms as a closed circularity of presence that became the sub-stance of transitional justice.

The moralization of balance or proportionality can be traced back to premodern theological polities based on transcendental foundations that were rejected by democracy as a self-instituting immanent politics. Once secularized, the political principle of balance had to be mined from the internal relations of force, opposition, and mediation. The paradox inherent in this is that in Norgaardian justice balance becomes the touchstone of violence and proportionate violence the touchstone of amnesty as a post-violent installation of balance; their relation is structured by harmony as an emblem of the good—here the relation between harmony and homology bears consideration.

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Government by checks and balances regulates flows and circulation, in transitional justice this would be to measure and regulate the flow and circulation of force, damage, destruction as they intersect with ratios of discourse and action. Balance is posited as internal self regulation, yet balance produces itself by constituting an excess exteriority to be balanced, there is a politics of the surplus that is presumably outside law, justice and polity.


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Imbalanced political violence is a praxis and politics that over-performs and over-reaches beyond the constituted limits of the political-- it is a self-instituting violence and politics. There is a spatial and structural homology between this government from a harmonizing center and the proscenium dramaturgy of the truth commission that stages a literal topology of the middle place where political actors appear in order to generate their reconciliation, their harmonization at a central locus of originating justice. This immanence of balance is predicated on a morality of sufficiency that engages the question of how and when violence is sufficient in the absence of transcendental judgment.

Is sufficient violence identical with the completion of ends, with the appropriation of the essence of the end as the unity of the finite the means, medium, and mediacy with the infinite as the on-going permanence and closure of the end without which it cannot be a sustainable point of sufficiency?

Violence construed as medium contains the means of its own abolition for the appearance of the end is correspondingly the disappearance and finitude of the mediate in the entelechy of sufficiency. What then is the insufficiency of the paradigm of sufficiency as applied to the political? Under Norgaard protocols violence either carries, transports, circulates and materializes the sense of the prescriptive program or it does not.

Now that which conveys sense—that is constitutive of sense—is inherently sense-less in itself, for it does not belong to the field that it makes possible; the medium presents but in itself mediacy is not represented. When viewed as detached from the imputed intentionality and sufficiency of political program ex-mediate violence becomes non-sense, irrational, imbalanced, and thus non-indemnifiable.

The Norgaardian measure of the proportional is haunted and dislocated by the real prospect that acts of violence can be in excess of the political field they structure and enclose, rendering such violence a political force beyond what has been institutionalized and performed as the political. The TRC, despite dropping disproportionality, salvaged this Norgaardian relation between history and reason by anchoring amnesty to demonstrated political motivation and the transparency of full disclosure, which guarded against the fall into the inchoate, the latter was assigned to the individualized, depoliticized, and psycho-pathologized perpetrator by the TRC and a significant section of South African media.

Amnesty was a key inception point for the museumification of apartheid, but that conservation required a certain aesthetics of exhibition as regards violence that, like many aestheticizing gestures, banished the disproportionate. The ethical coupling of the proportionate and disproportionate must acknowledge that the latter term escapes full presentation—the priority of the proportional can only re-present the disproportionate as its lack, superfluity and as incommensurable. As a theorem of the measurable, proportionality requires and produces the open, infinite non-ground of the incommensurable as a violence beyond balanced violence.

However, since the proportional predicates the disproportionate as a conditioning and required subtraction can this subtraction be understood as sense-making, as a delimitation and ethical figuration of the dissembling artifice of commensurated violence? Buried within the Norgaard concept of a requisite proportionality between acts and reasons of violence is another call to ethicality. Moving beyond the positivism or arbitrary historical priority of the proportionate means admitting an ethical reversibility: that the just measure of proportionate and commensurated violence is a violence without measure.

Why this reversal of criteria? Because neither the proportional nor the disproportional are historically prior to the other but in each lies the condition of possibility for the other. My stress on a surplus immanence, a transcendental materiality of violence, is not a claim that transitional justice should be grounded on a sublime stasis of terror beyond all history, reason and representation—attributes that are often assigned to the Holocaust.

Here I must disagree with Alain Badiou who only associates immeasurable violence with the dehistoricizing hypostasis of the Holocaust, which in his view with which I concur evades the Holocaust as a political sequence , Evaluation of proportioned force by disproportional violence explodes the artificial compression and commensuration between moralized ideological codes and their violent instantiation. Incommensurate violence measures those moments and tendencies when relations of antagonism the means and transactions of conflict collapse into the ever-expanding conditions of antagonism : when a plethora of ideological phantasmata spring forth from within a material practice, imploding its emplacement as a technically subjacent and iterable medium; when interrogators torture not for information but to imperially extract power, self-identity, sovereignty and even democracy from the disembodied pain of the other; when the state dissociates from its own praxis at the levels of self representation and pragmatic command and control through black ops and the deployment of proxies and surrogates overt and covert; and when ideologues bind themselves to their justified and moralized programs but not to the ethical excess and durable gestating damage of their violence beyond all program, mandated outcome, and terminus.

Foucault infers that neither originating subjects nor intentionality may survive this implantation of self-altering and constitutive power effects. The disproportional here is also the system-derived singularity that threatens a maximalizing political program as its self-engendered obverse in the sense of shadowing, being turned against, located on the other or further side of the program; it is a depleting truth event that leaks out from under the common nouns of formal political ideology and covering excuse that can and should be turned against these edifices through popular mobilization, diverse modes of counter-witnessing and counter-memory and by transitional justice fora.

The imbricated asymmetry between measurable and immeasurable violence questions the constitution of the political subject by political program. This is intentionalist teleology enshrined as the performative continuum and temporal linearity of justified violence. Disproportionality overthrows the moral and epistemological priority of the purposive subject commensurated to political reason in all its actualizations. At the level of spatio-temporal action, the moralized model of performativity is a compressed structure where all associated elements metaphorically express the intentionalist centration, whereas modalized incommensurate violence, with all of its rippling effects and errant kinesis, freely unfolds as a dissociative metonymy—the distention, dispersal, fragmented syntax, and decompression of the elements of intentionalized action—the subject, the media, and the actualization.

This dissociative metonymy is the pathway of the broken and plural subject of the political who is also a self-altering subject, including the subject that remakes itself through violence—that is to say, through the coercive alteration of the bodies of others.


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  5. Ethical assessment based on incommensurate violence does not abandon the ethical responsibility of the subject. Under this criteria the perpetrator becomes ethically accountable not just for declared bona fides but for the consequential non-ostensive references, and atonalities of practicopoietical action as the return of the action onto the actor. This is a form of dissembling. We know each action as the exercise of duty, and we refuse to know its actuality in the phenomenal world… Rose , The ethics of the real cannot reside in the model of the subject as calculable, as an executive axis from which other calculables like prescribed moral judgment derive.

    It regulates itself neither on the principle of reason, nor on any sort of accountancy […] I believe there is no responsibility, no ethico-political decision that must not pass through the proofs of the incalculable or the undecidable. From this ethical judgment proceeds as a mode of de-subjectivization, irreducible to the concept of subjective freedom, which still calculates a sub-stance and stasis of the subject.

    Instead it negates this stance of the subject and unfolds as a labor of separation and expropriation that comes after the subject of violence, that arrives in the wake of the subject, and that wakes the subject of violent reason in the sense of both grieving and coming into cognition. Ethicality arrives as separation from the subject of violence and as a self-partitioning within that subject, as the acceptation of desubjectivization and multiplicity. The subject appears not only as manifold, as in Kant, but as nonsystematically, irreducibly so.

    Nietzsche's locus is anti- subjectivist inasmuch as his discovery of forces in conflict originates in 'my hypotheses: the subject as multiplicity. Performativity as the medium of intentionalist continuity is the grammatization of the subject. Derrida critiques this grammatization in which speech acts and extra-linguistic acts are theorized as sustaining plenitude, understood as the identity of the intending subject with itself across actualization.