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Manic reparation: A psychoanalytic discussion of apology and residential schooling in Canada.

Greenberg, Barbara
June 4, 2015

Source: (2010) Bulletin for the Study of Religion. 39(1):7-12.

My work asks whether apologies are effective in their attempt to make amends for past injustices, or are they examples of what Klein calls “manic repara-tion”? For Klein, the mending of a relationship must be preceded by the presence of feelings of guilt for the destruction of the other, as well as love and admiration for the other. It is these emotions that give way to true reparation. Reparation, for Klein, refers to the psychological need to make things good, to mend and repair relationships with others. Manic reparation, on the other hand, is a defence mechanism that aims to repair relationships in such a way that guilt, admiration, and love are never really experienced. Klein’s theories are particularly interesting for discussions of apology because of the implied reparative aims of public apologies. (excerpt)


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