Narrowing the Micro and Macro

Brandon Hamber

in The Handbook of Reparations

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780199291922
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603716 | DOI:
Narrowing the Micro and Macro

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This paper focuses on the relationship between the individual (micro) and the collective (macro) dimensions of reparations, highlighting the gaps and confluences between the two by focusing on symbolic reparations. It argues that massive reparations programs leave a disparity between the individual and the collective dimensions of reparations, i.e., between the needs of victims dealing with extreme trauma, and the social and political needs of a transitional society. Through reparations, the victim seeks some sort of reparation, i.e., a psychological state in which they feel adequate amends have been made. However, whether reparation at an individual level has taken place is difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain. The individual (psychological) and the collective (political) always stand in tension with one another when granting reparations. This dilemma is central to the reparations debate. It is argued that the gap between the micro and macro can be narrowed through a better understanding of the impact of extreme political trauma. Steps can be taken at the social and political level to potentially increase the impact of reparations on individuals as well as the context, process, and discourses surrounding their delivery.

Keywords: individual; collective; amends; reparations program; transitional states

Chapter.  13588 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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