What's so bad about slavery? Assessing the grounds for reparations

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Assessing historical injury in terms of reparative potential, Winter looks at some of the difficulties facing a reparative claim for slavery in the United States. The slavery reparations literature is traditionally divided between two understandings of slavery's injury: what Winter calls 'asset-based' and 'affect-based' accounts. In the corrective justice framework he assumes, both asset- and affect-based descriptions of historical injury face powerful liability-derived objections. After critiquing some recent work that attempts to meet these challenges, Winter sketches a hybrid account. Drawing on the divergent strengths of the asset- and affect-based understandings, he concludes by suggesting conditions for a reparatively relevant historical injury that answer several traditional liability objections.

Keywords: compensation; harm; historical injustice; injury; liability; reparations; slavery

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00313220701431484

Publication date: July 1, 2007

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