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The Politics of Repressed Guilt

The Tragedy of Austrian Silence

Claudia Leeb

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A philosophical investigation of dealing with guilt and its impact on democracy, in the case of Austrian Nazis

Drawing on the work of Hannah Arendt and Theodor W. Adorno, this book illustrates the relevance and applicability of a political discussion of guilt and democracy. It appropriates psychoanalytic theory to analyse court documents of Austrian Nazi perpetrators as well as recent public controversies surrounding Austria’s involvement in the Nazi atrocities and ponders how the former agents of Hitlerite crimes and contemporary Austrians have dealt with their guilt.

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1. Introduction
2. Rethinking Embodied Reflective Judgment with Adorno and Arendt
3. “Ich fühle mich nicht schuldig (I do not feel guilty)”: From Doubts to Murder
4. Roma and Sinti as Homo Sacer
5. Defense of Repressed Guilt: The Staging of Thomas Bernhard’s Heldenplatz
6. An Austrian Haus der Geschichte? The Drama Continues
7. Conclusion: Towards a Politics of Guilt Feeling
8. References.

About the Author

Claudia Leeb is Assistant Professor in the School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs at Washington State University.

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