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Bearing Witness: Women and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa (Anthropology, Culture, and Society)

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Bearing Witness: Women and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa (Anthropology, Culture, and Society) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

People who witness acts of terror and violence are often called after the event to bear witness to what they saw. In cases where this violence is inflicted by the state upon its own people, the process of bearing witness is both politically complex and traumatic for the individual involved. Independent trials and commissions have become important mechanisms through which the truth of past violence is sought in democratising states, but to date there has been little close attention to the processes and complexity of the work of such institutions.Fiona Ross's fascinating study of the process of bearing witness is the first book to examine the gendered dimensions of this topic from an anthropological and ethnographic viewpoint. Taking as a key example the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, Ross explores women's relationships to testimony, particularly the extent to which women avoid talking about or are silent about certain forms of violence and suffering. Offering a wealth of first-hand examples, Ross approaches a more subtle understanding of the achievements and the limitations of testimony as a measure of suffering and recovery generally. Is it, she asks, the panacea it is usually seen as? Or do conventional discourses on human rights, suffering and reconciliation oversimplify an altogether more complex and problematic process?

Book News Annotation:

Examining the practices of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Ross (social anthropology, U. of Cape Town, South Africa) presents an ethnographic account of the operation of gender in the Commissions activities. She argues that the Commission's focus on "gross violations of human rights" elided the experience of women under the apartheid regime. She explores how women, in their testimonies, alluded to their own experiences and examines the meanings of everyday activities of women activists under apartheid. Distributed by Stylus. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

' ... a powerful work...the author's empathy with the plight of black South African women helps to illuminate the pain ... of ordinary lives ...' --International Affairs

About the Author

Fiona Ross lectures in Social Anthropology at the University of Cape Town. In addition to her work on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, she is engaged in research in an urban shanty-town on Cape Town's periphery.

Table of Contents

Glossary
Introduction
1. Making The Subject
2. Testimonial Practices
3. The Self In Extremity
4. Narrative Threads
5. Considerations Of Harm
6. In Pursuit Of The Ordinary
7. Epilogue
Appendix A: South African Security Laws
Appendix B: Detention Data
References
Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780745318912
Author:
Ross, Fiona C.
Publisher:
Pluto Press (UK)
Location:
London
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Social Services & Welfare
Subject:
Feminism & Feminist Theory
Subject:
Social perception
Subject:
Human Rights
Subject:
Oral communication
Subject:
Apartheid
Subject:
Anthropology - General
Subject:
Public Policy - Social Services & Welfare
Subject:
Women social activists
Subject:
Women -- Crimes against -- South Africa.
Subject:
Women political activists - South Africa -
Subject:
Africa - General
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Series:
Anthropology, Culture, and Society
Series Volume:
00-289
Publication Date:
20021231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8.4 x 5.5 x 0.7 in

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Anthropology » General
History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Children and Family

Bearing Witness: Women and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa (Anthropology, Culture, and Society) New Trade Paper
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Product details 240 pages Pluto Press (UK) - English 9780745318912 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
' ... a powerful work...the author's empathy with the plight of black South African women helps to illuminate the pain ... of ordinary lives ...' --International Affairs
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