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Speaking of ViolenceThe Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution$
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Sara Cobb

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199826209

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826209.001.0001

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Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes

Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes

Chapter:
(p.169) 6 Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes
Source:
Speaking of Violence
Author(s):

Sara Cobb

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826209.003.0007

This chapter offers a theory of “witnessing” building on critical narrative theory. Following Foucault’s notion that subjectivity is regulated by discursive regimes, narrative regimes will be described and discussed re their relation the speaking subject. In contrast to existing approaches to conflict resolution that presume that identity is a form of internalized culture, anchored through personal experience, this discussion examines the nature of subjectivity that is constructed in conflict narrative and their dynamics. To rescue “subjectivity” from structuralism, this chapter draws on Oliver’s (2001b) critique of “recognition” which is reformulated as “witnessing”. This practice is described as a process for materializing the “concrete other” (Benhabib, 1992), which has, in turn, its own narrative regime. Illustrative cases will include refugee and immigrant narratives.

Keywords:   witnessing, recognition, subjectivity, suffering

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