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Victims' Stories and the Advancement of Human Rights$
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Diana Tietjens Meyers

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199930388

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199930388.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 12 May 2021

Two Victim Paradigms and the Problem of “Impure” Victims

Two Victim Paradigms and the Problem of “Impure” Victims

Chapter:
(p.26) Chapter 1 Two Victim Paradigms and the Problem of “Impure” Victims
Source:
Victims' Stories and the Advancement of Human Rights
Author(s):

Diana Tietjens Meyers

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199930388.003.0002

Amnesty International’s conception of a prisoner of conscience includes two victim paradigms, which are explicated and rejected in this chapter. As proof of innocence, the pathetic victim must be passive in the face of overwhelming power, and the heroic victim must act nonviolently in pursuit of a just cause. Acknowledged victims—e.g. Holocaust victims and Chinese dissident Liao Yiwu—don’t fit these paradigms. In addition, the paradigms obscure some forms of victimization. An account of warped action spaces defined by wrongful force, fraud, and coercion is presented as a basis for theorizing the innocence of victims as being constrained by a warped action space. The mark of victimhood is burdened agency, not suppressed agency or honorable dissent.

Keywords:   prisoner of conscience, pathetic victim, heroic victim, innocence, Amnesty International, action spaces, burdened agency, Holocaust, Liao Yiwu

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