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Reenact, commemorate and make amends after storm Xynthia through a judicial dispositif

Abstract : This chapter focuses on an exceptional dispositif that emerged during a criminal trial relating to the 2010 Storm Xynthia in France, a disaster that killed 29 people in the town of La-Faute-sur-Mer. During the trial, the whole court, including the defendants, plaintiffs and their lawyers, was transported to the disaster scene for an organized walk through the affected area. Based on an ethnographic observation of the whole trial, the chapter analyzes this sequence as a reparation ritual aimed at reifying some of the elements of the written legal case. It suggests that the notion of reparation in a criminal trial can encompass different dimensions of the attempt to recover following a disaster, depending on the way in which participants make use of the judicial dispositif. Beyond the ‘qualification’ process, which is specific to the legal dispositif, the chapter shows that this walk can be understood in three different ways, namely as a judicial tool of reenactment, as a way to commemorate the disaster and as a ritual of making amends. The chapter concludes by showing that the judicial dispositif could not actually solve the moral crisis caused by the disaster. Some situations simply cannot be repaired, no matter how creative judges might be in producing innovative dispositifs.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, November 17, 2021 - 5:49:40 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 18, 2022 - 11:42:04 AM

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Sandrine Revet. Reenact, commemorate and make amends after storm Xynthia through a judicial dispositif. Laura Centemeri, Sezin Topçu, J. Peter Burgess. Rethinking Post-Disaster Recovery, Routledge, pp.185-203, 2021, ⟨10.4324/9781003184782-13⟩. ⟨hal-03433468⟩

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