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Reconciliation in Bloodlands

Assessing Actions and Outcomes in Contemporary Central-Eastern Europe


Edited By Jacek Kurczewski

Central-Eastern Europe, in the mid-20 th century, was a scene of Holocaust, mass killings, war, deportations and forced resettlements under the competing totalitarian invasions and afterwards. It was also the area where churches, politicians and citizens were engaged in reconciliation between antagonized religions and nations. This book presents several attempts to heal relations between Poles, Jews, Germans, Czechs, Ukrainians, Russians and Latvians as well as between Catholics, Protestants and Mariavites. Re-conciliatory practices of John Paul II and other Catholic leaders as well as Protestant churches are analysed in the first part of the book. Most of the remaining studies are focused on particular localities in Upper Silesia, Cieszyn Silesia, former Polish Livland and on the Polish-Ukrainian borderland. These detailed contributions combine sociological methods with anthropological insight and historical context. The authors are sociologists, psychologists and theologians and this leads to a fully interdisciplinary approach in the assessment of the recent state of inter-group relations in the region as well as in the proposed theory of peacebuilding and reconciliation.
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Love Speech as Action. John Paul II’s Teaching and Practice of Conciliation


Our late modern or postmodern Western development of empathetic attitudes and tenderness made us quite cautious against using the so called hate speech. Social concerns involving personal protection against abuses caused by speech acts reached the level of court sentences. The term “hate speech” has also been growing in popularity in social and legal discourse. While making detailed research of hate speech and other negative social phenomena is absolutely needed in social sciences for moral and practical reasons, equally necessary is the sociological concern with studying the positive speech and activities. Such research was pioneered in social sciences by Pitirim A. Sorokin, who effectively tried to balance sociological orientation towards studying negative phenomena with substantially innovative analysis of social virtues present in positive social activities (Sorokin 1950). It seems that the kind of speech which promotes socially needed positive interpersonal attitudes may be called love speech1 in opposition to hate speech which is socially destructive (though the external hatred does often increase internal integrity of communities and other social entities). Social research on both issues should probably be seen as complementary and equally essential for building an ever adequate picture of social life. Moreover, since the subjects of analyses do not leave the social world untouched, so the academic interest in love speech treated as action, as the communicative acts which inspire and promote certain social phenomena and social changes, may be strongly socially needed in order to contribute to positive social interactions and raise commonly diagnosed weak level of...

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