Hannes Bajohr (ed./eds.)

Judith N. Shklar: Verpflichtung, Loyalität, Exil
[Judith N. Shklar: Obligation, Loyalty, Exile]

Fröhliche Wissenschaft Vol. 130
Verlag Matthes & Seitz, Berlin 2019, 88 pages
ISBN 978-3-95757-570-8

During the Second World War Judith Shklar’s family had fled to Canada via Sweden and Japan. Shklar went on to teach political philosophy at Harvard until her retirement. In her last project, she returned to her childhood experiences and investigated the basic conditions of exile and the situation of exiles. She identified the relationship between loyalty and obligation as a key differentiator for all refugees, whether economic, war or political refugees: If “loyalty” is an affective attachment to a group, a country or an idea, then “obligation” is bound, rather, to the logic of rules and laws. If one wants to talk about refugees and their situation, then, according to Shklar, one has to address the problem of “divided loyalty.” The fugitive is not at home in either world: If, on the one hand, he still retains loyalty to his old homeland, he has lost the feeling of obligation towards this old homeland; reciprocally, this applies to the new homeland. According to Shklar, the dilemma that inevitably leads to political problems is most likely to be solved by legal obligations in the new homeland.