Magdalena Zolkos, Restitution and the Politics of Repair. Tropes, Imaginaries, Theory (EUP: 2020)

This book analyses the social imaginary of undoing, repair and return underpinning the international norm of restitution-making. 

Challenging assumptions about restitution in the Western legal and political tradition, where it has become nearly synonymous with reacquisition of property and where legal studies focus on material objects and claims to their ownership, this book argues that the development of restitutive norms has been auxiliary to the emergence of modern state sovereignty, and excavates the restitutive tradition’s mythical-religious substrate.

Bringing together texts from within and outwith the Western canon of political theory and philosophy, including the writings of Grotius, Durkheim, Freud, and Klein, as well as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the book undertakes a dual task: reading literary texts as a political theorising of restitution, and reading political or sociological texts as literary narratives with distinctive ‘restitutive tropes’ of repair, undoing and return.

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