Notes on violence: Walter Benjamin's relevance for the study of terrorism

Journal of Global Ethics 6 (2):167-178 (2011)
This article uses Walter Benjamin's theoretical claims in the 'Critique of violence' to shed light on some current conceptualisations of terrorism. It suggests an understanding of terrorism as an essentially contested concept. If the theorist uncritically adopts the state's account of terrorism, she occludes an important dimension of the phenomenon that allows for a rethinking of the state's claim to a monopoly on legitimate violence. Benjamin's essay conceptualises the state as resulting from a conjunction of violence, law, legitimacy and power that rests on mythical ideas about nature and history. It shows why the state claims to be justified in taking exceptional measures when this link is challenged and when its prerogative to the legitimate use of force is called into question. This, I argue, is what terrorism does. Thus, Benjamin's essay adds to a more nuanced and less one-sided understanding of both terrorism and state violence
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,357
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    23 ( #63,349 of 1,088,616 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,601 of 1,088,616 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

    Start a new thread
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.