JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004 Page: 314
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affective structure of identity that tends to be celebratory and divisive,
trials for administrative massacre, which place emphasis on the delibera-
tive-dialogic process for organizing memory, provide a "discursive
educative means" of reaching broader solidarity. Noting this, Osiel
contrasts a "mechanical solidarity," which compulsively circles around
affective exaltations of identity, with the "discursive solidarity" that is
hermeneutically instantiated when collective representations of the past
are commemorated through the constraints and opportunities made
available by thejuridical form ("Making Public" 226). But the pedagogi-
cal aspirations for nourishing and binding the communicative compe-
tence required for social deliberation, and certainly the implied "salubri-
ous" commemorative lesson that this process seeks to transmit, are
complexly and problematically imbricated with the norms and desires of
the present-desires that seek to bracket divisive memories and affects
that interrupt the integrity of the national imaginary or the instrumental
efficacy of the present. Hence, the apparent "soundness" of the need to
write and transmit a social traumatic event, through legal commemora-
tion, needs to be complicated.
Although critically aware of the "smoke and mirrors" and the "self-
conscious dramaturgy by prosecutors and judges," Osiel nevertheless is
explicit about the tradition and ends that must be served by the law's
performance (Mass 7). He states, "it is not too much to hope that courts
in a post-trauma society might "make full use of the public spotlight
trained upon them at such times to stimulate democratic deliberation
about the merits and meaning of liberal principles. [Such] trials must be
conducted with this pedagogical purpose in mind" (300, 2). I agree with
Osiel when he notes that in a post-trauma society the pedagogical
transmission of stories play a vital role in a society's (re)construction.
But, unlike Osiel, I am interested in how this apparently "sound" claim
becomes problematic when it metonymically evokes a telling (a continu-
ity) that reifies and instantiates the norms and conventions of the "we."
Although not simply endorsing tellings and retellings as benign or
neutral, Osiel nevertheless ends up celebrating an intertextual frame-
work, a hermeneutics, that ultimately continues and preserves the liberal
story (read the tradition of the "we"). Referring to the trial of the military
in Argentina, he solemnly observes, "The story of the litigants and their
immediate dispute is thereby woven into a larger story about the commu-
nity, its history, and its evolving normative commitments. ... In
recounting the tale of the crimes the Juntas had ordered, the obedience of
their underlings, and the suffering of their victims, the military trials in
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Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition (U.S.). JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004, periodical, 2004; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28644/m1/60/: accessed April 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .