Beyond Recognition: The Politics of Encounter

  • Stephen FroshEmail author
Part of the Studies in the Psychosocial book series (STIP)


The question of how to find ways of responding to suffering and injustice in the context of being an ‘implicated witness’, raised at the end of Chap.  1, runs through this book. How do we make ourselves open to the experiences of others who have been wronged partly ‘in our name’, in the sense of in circumstances – current or historical – with which we are connected even if we have no direct responsibility for them or do not wish to be identified with them? This is different from being a perpetrator, although as Jessica Benjamin (2016) points out the two positions can merge together in the experience of the victim of oppression if it turns out that the ‘witness’ refuses to take responsibility. In a paper focused on the situation in Israel-Palestine, she writes about what happens when a witness entrusted with the narrative of suffering somehow fails to respond adequately to it, for instance by not recognising its significance or truth, or by backing away from it by becoming caught up in ‘only one can live’ competitive victimhood. She writes,


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychosocial Studies BirkbeckUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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