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Lustration and Truth Claims: Unfinished Revolutions in Central Europe

Maria L̵oś
Law & Social Inquiry
Vol. 20, No. 1 (Winter, 1995), pp. 117-161
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Bar Foundation
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/828859
Page Count: 45
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Lustration and Truth Claims: Unfinished Revolutions in Central Europe
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Abstract

This article focuses on discourses conducted in Central/East European countries, and Poland in particular, with respect to the issue of participation of former secret agents in the new power structures. It exposes the reader to the range, style, content, and variety of lustration discourses. It explores their relevance for the ongoing power struggle, paying special attention to their focus on and contribution to the processes of construction and control of truths about the past. Given that the procedural and legal-institutional issues occupy a marginal place in the debate, it is inferred that the main sources of discord are more ideological and political than legal. The two main strains within the global lustration discourse are identified as: (1) dystopian discourses that paint a frightful picture of a lustrated society and imply that the upheaval of lustration would ruin the chance for democratic evolution, and (2) affirmative discourses that assert the need for lustration and portray the refusal to implement it as a barrier to successful transition to democracy. The article elaborates on assumptions and beliefs, which tend to link the dystopian opposition to lustration with the left-wing political affiliation or self-identification and the affirmative discourse with the right-wing orientation.

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