Transforming problematic commemorations through vandalism

Journal of Global Ethics 16 (3):414-421 (2020)
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Abstract

ABSTRACT In recent years, progressive activists around the world have fought to remove ‘problematic’ commemorations – typically, monuments commemorating and honoring individuals responsible for injustice, or even unjust events. Many of these problematic commemorations are vandalized before they are eventually removed. In this essay, I consider how the vandalism of problematic commemoration can transform the public honoring of a target, to a public repudiation or humiliation of that target. I discuss four obstacles to realizing the transformative potential of vandalism, and how they may be mitigated or overcome.

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Chong-Ming Lim
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore