Compassion is not a simple sentiment, especially in the modern world. Today the term invokes ideas of individual and collective obligation to respond actively to suffering; compassion becomes a complex response involving the state, the military, economic factors, and of course ethical and moral issues. In "Compassion," ten scholars draw on literature, psychoanalysis, and social history to provide an archive of cases and genealogies of compassion. Together these essays demonstrate how "being compassionate" is shaped by historical specificity and social training, and how the idea of compassion takes place in scenes that are anxious, volatile, surprising, and even contradictory.
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