Ethical loneliness is the experience of being abandoned by humanity, compounded by the cruelty of wrongs not being acknowledged. It is the result of multiple lapses on the part of human beings and political institutions that, in failing to listen well to survivors, deny them redress by negating their testimony and thwarting their claims for justice.
Jill Stauffer examines the root causes of ethical loneliness and how those in power revise history to serve their own ends rather than the needs of the abandoned. Out of this discussion, difficult truths about the desire and potential for political forgiveness, transitional justice, and political reconciliation emerge. Moving beyond a singular focus on truth commissions and legal trials, she considers more closely what is lost in the wake of oppression and violence, how selves and worlds are built and demolished, and who is responsible for re-creating lives after they are destroyed.
Stauffer boldly argues that rebuilding worlds and just institutions after violence is a broad obligation and that those who care about justice must first confront their own assumptions about autonomy, liberty, and responsibility before an effective response to violence can take place. In building her claims, Stauffer draws on the work of Emmanuel Levinas, Jean Améry, Eve Sedgwick, and Friedrich Nietzsche, as well as concrete cases of justice and injustice across the world.