Hannes Bajohr (ed./eds.)

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

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

During the Second World War, Judith Shklar’s family fled to Canada via Sweden and Japan. Shklar went on to teach political philosophy at Harvard until retirement. In her last project, she returned to her childhood experiences and investigated the basic conditions of exile as well as the situation of exiles. She identified the relationship between loyalty and obligation as an essential distinguishing characteristic for all refugees, be it economic refugees, political refugees, or refugees of war: If “loyalty” is seen as an affective attachment to a group, a country, or an idea, then “obligation” is rather bound to the logic of rules and laws. According to Shklar, a discussion on refugees and their situation presupposes a reflection on the problem of “divided loyalty.” The refugee can call neither world their home: if, on the one hand, they retain their loyalty to their former homeland, they have, on the other hand, subsequently lost their feeling of obligation towards this old home. This mutually applies to the new home. According to Shklar, the solution to this dilemma that inevitably leads to political problems lies most likely in the legal obligations within the new homeland.