Book synopsis: Philosopher, cultural critic, and agent provocateur Slavoj Žižek constructs a fascinating new framework to look at the forces of violence in our world. Using history, philosophy, books, movies, Lacanian psychiatry, and jokes, Slavoj Žižek examines the ways we perceive and misperceive violence. Drawing from his unique cultural vision, Žižek brings new light to the Paris riots of 2005; he questions the permissiveness of violence in philanthropy; in daring terms, he reflects on the powerful image and (...) determination of contemporary terrorists. Violence, Žižek states, takes three forms--subjective, objective, and systemic --and often one form of violence blunts our ability to see the others, raising complicated questions. Does the advent of capitalism and, indeed, civilization cause more violence than it prevents? Is there violence in the simple idea of "the neighbour"? And could the appropriate form of action against violence today simply be to contemplate, to think? Beginning with these and other equally contemplative questions, Žižek discusses the inherent violence of globalization, capitalism, fundamentalism, and language, in a work that will confirm his standing as one of our most erudite and incendiary modern thinkers. (shrink)
In the popular misconception fostered by blockbuster action movies and best-selling thrillers--not to mention conventional explanations by social scientists--violence is easy under certain conditions, like poverty, racial or ideological hatreds, or family pathologies. Randall Collins challenges this view in Violence, arguing that violent confrontation goes against human physiological hardwiring. It is the exception, not the rule--regardless of the underlying conditions or motivations. -/- Collins gives a comprehensive explanation of violence and its dynamics, drawing upon video footage, cutting-edge (...) forensics, and ethnography to examine violent situations up close as they actually happen--and his conclusions will surprise you. Violence comes neither easily nor automatically. Antagonists are by nature tense and fearful, and their confrontational anxieties put up a powerful emotional barrier against violence. Collins guides readers into the very real and disturbing worlds of human discord--from domestic abuse and schoolyard bullying to muggings, violent sports, and armed conflicts. He reveals how the fog of war pervades all violent encounters, limiting people mostly to bluster and bluff, and making violence, when it does occur, largely incompetent, often injuring someone other than its intended target. Collins shows how violence can be triggered only when pathways around this emotional barrier are presented. He explains why violence typically comes in the form of atrocities against the weak, ritualized exhibitions before audiences, or clandestine acts of terrorism and murder--and why a small number of individuals are competent at violence. (shrink)
This book pursues the problem of whether violence can be understood to be constitutive of its own sense or meaning, as opposed to being merely instrumental. Dodd draws on the resources of phenomenological philosophy, and takes the form of a series of dialogues between figures both inside and outside of this tradition. The central figures considered include Carl von Clausewitz, Carl Schmitt, Hannah Arendt, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernst Jünger, and Martin Heidegger, and the study concludes with an analysis of the (...) philosophy of Jan Patocka. (shrink)
Violence and the Remaking of a Self Susan J. Brison. Political activism (including lobbying for new legislation, speaking out, educating others, helping survivors) can also help to undo the double bind of self-blame versus helplessness.
This volume sets out to give a philosophical "applied" account of violence, engaged with both empirical and theoretical debates in other disciplines such as cognitive science, sociology, psychiatry, anthropology, political theory, ...
Is violence senseless or is it at the origin of sense? Does its destruction of meaning disclose ourselves as the origin of meaning? Or is it the case that it leaves in its wake only a barren field? Does it result in renewal or only in a sense of dead loss? To answer these questions, I shall look at James Dodd’s, Hegel’s, and Carl Schmitt’s accounts of the creative power of violence—particularly with regard to its ability to give (...) individuals and groups their sense of self-identity. I shall also follow up on Peg Birmingham’s suggestion that Socrates’ defense at his trial points to an alternate source of our self-identity—one that is ultimately less barren. (shrink)
This book traces the theory of violence from nineteenth-century symmetrical warfare through today's warfare of electronics and unbalanced numbers. Surveying such luminaries as Walter Benjamin, Frantz Fanon, Hannah Arendt, Paul Virilio, and Jacques Derrida, Avelar also offers a discussion of theories of torture and confession, the work of Roman Polanski and Borges, and a meditation on the rise of the novel in Colombia.
I argue that silencing (the act of preventing someone from communicating, broadly construed) can be an act of both interpersonal and institutional violence. My argument has two main steps. First, I follow others in analyzing violence as violation of integrity and show that undermining someone’s capacities as a knower can be such a violation. Second, I argue that silencing someone can violate their epistemic capacities in that way. I conclude by exploring when silencing someone might be morally justifiable, (...) even if doing so is an act of violence. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 57 - 76 The aim of this article is to address the question of the anthropological difference by focusing on the intersubjective relation between the human and the animal in the context of a phenomenological analysis of violence. Following some Levinasian and Derridian insights, my goal is to analyze the structural differences between interspecific and intraspecific violence by asking how the generic phenomenon of violence is modalized across various levels: from (...) human to human, from human to animal, from animal to human, from animal to animal. I will address questions of incarnated vulnerability and altered states of affectivity, and I will relate the various forms of violence emerging in the context of the anthropological difference to the question of territoriality, arguing that violence is structurally modified in relation to particular articulations of our worldly spatiality. (shrink)
Violence has become a prominent topic in recent phenomenological investigations. In this paper, I wish to contribute to this ongoing discourse by looking at violence in a literal sense as violation of experiential structures, insofar as it is intentionally, purposefully, and strategically imposed on a subject by another agent. Phenomenology provides the descriptive methodology for elucidating such structures. The violation can take the form of a radicalization, in which one of the aspects of polar experiential spectra becomes predominant, (...) i.e. the balance between them is shifted to one extreme. I focus on the relationship between self and other on the one hand, and the relationship between body-as-subject and body-as-object on the other, as prominent topoi in the phenomenological literature. With regard to torture and solitary confinement as forms of extreme violence, I analyze how these structures are disturbed. (shrink)
Why do some national movements use violent protest and others nonviolent protest? Wendy Pearlman shows that much of the answer lies inside movements themselves. Nonviolent protest requires coordination and restraint, which only a cohesive movement can provide. When, by contrast, a movement is fragmented, factional competition generates new incentives for violence and authority structures are too weak to constrain escalation. Pearlman reveals these patterns across one hundred years in the Palestinian national movement, with comparisons to South Africa and Northern (...) Ireland. To those who ask why there is no Palestinian Gandhi, Pearlman demonstrates that nonviolence is not simply a matter of leadership. Nor is violence attributable only to religion, emotions or stark instrumentality. Instead, a movement's organizational structure mediates the strategies that it employs. By taking readers on a journey from civil disobedience to suicide bombings, this book offers fresh insight into the dynamics of conflict and mobilization. (shrink)
In this paper, our goal is to survey some of the legal contexts within which violence risk assessment already plays a prominent role, explore whether developments in neuroscience could potentially be used to improve our ability to predict violence, and discuss whether neuropredictive models of violence create any unique legal or moral problems above and beyond the well worn problems already associated with prediction more generally. In Violence Risk Assessment and the Law, we briefly examine the (...) role currently played by predictions of violence in three high stakes legal contexts: capital sentencing, civil commitment hearings, and sexual predator statutes. In Clinical vs. Actuarial Violence Risk Assessment, we briefly examine the distinction between traditional clinical methods of predicting violence and more recently developed actuarial methods, exemplified by the Classification of Violence Risk software created by John Monahan and colleagues as part of the MacArthur Study of Mental Disorder and Violence . In The Neural Correlates of Psychopathy, we explore what neuroscience currently tells us about the neural correlates of violence, using the recent neuroscientific research on psychopathy as our focus. We also discuss some recent advances in both data collection and data analysis that we believe will play an important role when it comes to future neuroscientific research on violence. In The Potential Promise of Neuroprediction, we discuss whether neuroscience could potentially be used to improve our ability to predict future violence. Finally, in The Potential Perils of Neuroprediction, we explore some potential evidentiary, constitutional, and moral issues that may arise in the context of the neuroprediction of violence. (shrink)
On July 4, 1990, while on a morning walk in southern France, Susan Brison was attacked from behind, severely beaten, sexually assaulted, strangled to unconsciousness, and left for dead. She survived, but her world was destroyed. Her training as a philosopher could not help her make sense of things, and many of her fundamental assumptions about the nature of the self and the world it inhabits were shattered.At once a personal narrative of recovery and a philosophical exploration of trauma, this (...) book examines the undoing and remaking of a self in the aftermath of violence. It explores, from an interdisciplinary perspective, memory and truth, identity and self, autonomy and community. It offers imaginative access to the experience of a rape survivor as well as a reflective critique of a society in which women routinely fear and suffer sexual violence.As Brison observes, trauma disrupts memory, severs past from present, and incapacitates the ability to envision a future. Yet the act of bearing witness, she argues, facilitates recovery by integrating the experience into the survivor's life's story. She also argues for the importance, as well as the hazards, of using first-person narratives in understanding not only trauma, but also larger philosophical questions about what we can know and how we should live.Bravely and beautifully written, Aftermath is that rare book that is an illustration of its own arguments. (shrink)
Too often, identifying practices of silencing is a seemingly impossible exercise. Here I claim that attempting to give a conceptual reading of the epistemic violence present when silencing occurs can help distinguish the different ways members of oppressed groups are silenced with respect to testimony. I offer an account of epistemic violence as the failure, owing to pernicious ignorance, of hearers to meet the vulnerabilities of speakers in linguistic exchanges. Ultimately, I illustrate that by focusing on the ways (...) in which hearers fail to meet speaker dependency in a linguistic exchange, efforts can be made to demarcate the different types of silencing people face when attempting to testify from oppressed positions in society. (shrink)
The paper starts from a phenomenology of violence that reconsiders the phenomenal contours of the seemingly opposed concepts of violence, on the one hand physical violence and on the other hand structural violence. We argue that the implied definiteness of their reciprocal separableness is not given. Instead, violence should be understood as the negation of sociality. As such, it is closely related to a basic form of trust in relation to people’s self-awareness, and their relation (...) to others and to the world. It operates as a background assumption that can only be grasped ex negativo. Shattered trust is induced by interpersonal violence. That is why we focus on traumatizing and traumatic experiences and its social implications. We argue that such an analysis is only rarely done within the discipline of sociology and we therefore suggest a systematic heuristic to study the social implications of traumata. Researching those implications in turn helps us to understand the phenomenon of violence and (basic) trust alike. (shrink)
This article makes the case for the necessity of a multi-focal conception of violence in religion and peacebuilding. I first trace the emergence and development of the analytical concepts of structural and cultural violence in peace studies, demonstrating how these lenses both draw central insights from, but also differ from and improve upon, critical theory and reflexive sociology. I argue that addressing structural and cultural forms of violence are concerns as central as addressing direct (explicit, personal) forms (...) of violence for purposes of building just and sustainable peace. Moreover, religiously informed and/or motivated peacebuilders are especially well-appointed and equipped to identify and address violence in its structural and cultural manifestations. I the examine how concepts of structural and cultural violence, in effect, centrally inform the efforts of Martin Luther King and Cornel West to cultivate just and sustainable peace in a context as putatively peaceful and prosperous as the United States. (shrink)
Shame is most frequently defined as the emotion we feel when we fail to live up to standards, norms, or ideals. I argue that this definition is flawed because it cannot explain some of the most paradigmatic features of shame. Agents often respond to shame with violence, but if shame is the painful feeling of failing to live up to an ideal, this response is unintelligible. I offer a new account of shame that can explain the link between shame (...) and violence. On my view, shame arises out of a tension between our identity and our self-conception: those things about which we feel shame are part of our identities, but they are not part of our self-conception. I conclude by arguing that this account of shame is a valuable moral emotion. (shrink)
It is widely recognized that universities all around Europe have taken on a more market-oriented approach that has changed the core of academic work life. This has led to a precarious situation for many junior scholars, who have to seek research funding to cover their own wages in an increasingly fierce competition over scarce resources. Thus, at present, research funding is a Gordian knot that must be cut by each individual researcher. As a response to this situation, some Swedish universities (...) provide guidance to junior scholars on how to navigate in an increasingly entrepreneurial academia through open lectures by senior and successful professors. In this paper, I study these lectures as socialization processes and the role of symbolic violence in the justification of a competitive academic work ethos as well as a pragmatic acceptance of the prevailing funding conditions. The aim is to explore the role of a subtle form of power wielding that is not immediately understood or recognized as power, but that nonetheless reproduces a market-like behavior and legitimizes a career system marked by uncertainty, shortcomings and contradictions. (shrink)
Introduction: divine violence and political fetishism -- The political theology of sovereignty -- In the maw of sovereignty -- Benjamin's dissipated eschatology -- Waiting for justice -- Forgiveness, judgment and sovereign decision -- The Hebrew republic -- Conclusion : the anarchist hypothesis.
Part 1. Spaces within spaces -- 1. Extremes -- 2. Nature abhors a vacuum -- 3. Space travel -- 4. Learn to say -- 5. Metaphysical habitats -- 6. Departures -- 7. Plumage and talismans -- 8. Inner space -- Part 2. Snares for the eyes -- 9. The fallen giant -- 10. The stone -- 11. The voices of things -- 12. Nature and art -- 13. Nature -- 14. In touch -- Part. 3. The sacred -- 15. Sacrilege (...) -- Part 4. Violence -- 16. Material culture -- 17. Orders -- 18. Filth -- 19. Fake fetishes, disrobed mannequins -- 20. Wallowing in glory -- 21. The art of war -- Part 5. Splendor -- 22. The face of death -- 23. The emergence of dance -- 24. Collective performances -- 25. War and splendor. (shrink)
Cyber warfare has changed the scenario of war from an empirical and a theoretical viewpoint. Cyber war is no longer based on physical violence only, but on military, political, economic and ideological strategies meant to exploit a state’s informational resources. This means that a deeper understanding of what cyber war is requires us to adopt an informational approach. This approach may enable us to account for the two-dimensional nature of cyber war, to revise the notion of violence on (...) which war is premised and to understand to what extent the traditional ideas of ‘just war’ may apply to the scenario of cyber warfare. This point is crucial, since it concerns whether a cyber war is meant to restore a broken international political and legal order or to participate in its construction. (shrink)
I argue for two theses. First, many arguments against violent gaming rely on what I call the contamination thesis, drawing their conclusions by claiming that violent gaming contaminates real world interactions. I argue that this thesis is empirically and philosophically problematic. Second, I argue that rejecting the contamination thesis does not entail that all video games are morally unobjectionable. The violence within a game can be evaluated in terms of the values the game cultivates, reinforces, denigrates, or disrespects. Games (...) which present violence in ways that disrespect objects of values are more objectionable than violent games that reinforce or cultivate those values. The resulting analysis evaluates games on a case-by-case basis and pays particular attention to the representational context of the violence. (shrink)
This paper offers a critique of ‘powerful knowledge’ – a concept in Education Studies that has been presented as a just basis for school curricula. Powerful knowledge is disciplinary knowledge produced and refined through a process of ‘specialisation’ that usually occurs in universities. Drawing on postcolonial, decolonial and Indigenous studies, we show how powerful knowledge seems to focus on the progressive impulse of modernity while overlooking the ruination of colonial racism. We call on scholars and practitioners working with the powerful (...) knowledge framework to address more fully the hegemonic relations of disciplinary specialisation and its historical connections to colonial-modernity. This, we argue, would enable curriculum knowledge that is ‘powerful’ in its interrogation of racial violence, rather than in its epistemic reproduction of it. (shrink)
Can exposure to media portrayals of human violence impact an individual’s ethical decision making at work? Ethical business failures can result in enormous financial losses to individuals, businesses, and society. We study how exposure to human violence—especially through media—can cause individuals to make less ethical decisions. We present three experiments, each showing a causal link between exposure to human violence and unethical business behavior, and show this relationship is mediated by an increase in individual hostility levels as (...) a result of exposure to violence. Using observational data, we then provide evidence suggesting that this relationship extends beyond the context of our experiments, showing that companies headquartered in locations marked by greater human violence are more likely to fraudulently misstate their financial statements and exhibit more aggressive financial reporting. Combined, our results suggest that exposure to human violence has significant and real effects on an individual’s ethical decision making. (shrink)
This chapter proceeds in two ways. First, I argue that Fanon’s structural witnessing of racism yields important insights about the nature of violence that challenges the settler colonial concept of violence as the extra-legal use of force. Second, I argue that his analysis of violence is insufficient for combating colonial racism and violence because, using the terms of his own analysis, it leaves intact logics and mechanisms that allow racism to structurally renew itself in perpetuity: (...) class='Hi'>violence against women. Without a critical feminism that tracks the alterities of structural violence against women, and women of color in particular, Fanonianism is just another lifeline of colonialism. I thus caution against uncritical uses of Fanon’s structural account of violence for any emancipatory social theory that fails to acknowledge the attendant alterities, asymmetries, and axes of coordinated subordination involved in racialized violence against women. (shrink)
The question of the imperatives induced by the Gandhian concept of non-violence towards animals is an issue that has been neglected by specialists on the thinking of the Mahatma. The aim of this article is to highlight the systematic – and significant – character of this particular aspect of his views on non-violence. The first part introduces the theoretical foundations of the duty of non-violence towards animals in general. Gandhi's critical interpretation of cow-protection, advocated by Hinduism, leads (...) to a general reflection on the duty of non-violence towards animals, the cow being transformed into the representative of all dumb creation. The approach adopted by Gandhi to solving the problem of cow-protection focuses on its practical dimensions and is based primarily on reforming animal husbandry. What limits should be imposed on the exploitation of farm animals within the framework of non-violence? Gandhi devoted nearly 30 years to elaborating an animal husbandry system that would be both economically viable and in conformity with the universal ethical principles he drew from religions (especially Hinduism). The interdiction to kill is absolute, since Gandhi not only rejects the breeding of farm animals for the purposes of butchery but also the slaughtering of animals that are no longer capable of providing the services required of them. He therefore concentrated his efforts on drawing up a scheme to reorganize this activity on a national scale while taking into consideration these constraints, which are less contradictory than they may seem to be at first sight. Reviewing the age-old activity of animal husbandry in the light of non-violence is clearly based on the specific nature of Hindu traditions. However, it goes far beyond cultural or religious relativism, since it is also founded on universal ethical principles. (shrink)
In an effort to think through possible impossibilities, and enfold current problems within Catholicism into the luminous darkness of the cloud of the im/possible, this response to Catherine Keller's Cloud of the Impossible considers what might happen should Keller's cloud of mindful unknowing and nonseparable difference billow over and through one particular Catholic conundrum: how to respond to the terrifying reality of domestic violence in the context of a marriage defined as indissoluble, imperishable—inescapable.
The purpose of this article is to use René Girard’s mimetic theory in order to rethink the thorny relationship between religion, culture and violence and to relate it to some of the key issues in international relations theory. In doing this, I will examine the concept of the ‘ambivalence of the sacred’, which underlies much scholarly research on religion and international relations – what factors, under which conditions, does religion contribute to peace or to violence. As I will (...) show, mimetic theory questions, or at least reconfigures, the mainstream construction of the problem of religion and violence – the violent eruptions that disturb social peace and social cohesion – to critically examine the sources of the unveiled, hidden, violence and the scapegoat ideology that operates in domestic society and in foreign policy to maintain any society’s cultural and political order. (shrink)
While the various forms of violence have been the subject of special studies, we lack a paradigm that would allow us to understand the different forms of violence (physical, social, cultural, structural, and so on) as aspects of a unified phenomenon. In this article, I shall take violence as destructive of sense or meaning. The relation of violence to embodiment arises through the role that the body plays in our making sense of the world. My claim (...) is that violence is destructive of this role. It undoes the role of the bodily “I can” in making sense of our surrounding world - be this its physical, cultural, or socialsignificance. (shrink)
Is it ever morally wrong to enjoy fantasizing about immoral things? Many video games allow players to commit numerous violent and immoral acts. But, should players worry about the morality of their virtual actions? A common argument is that games offer merely the virtual representation of violence. No one is actually harmed by committing a violent act in a game. So, it cannot be morally wrong to perform such acts. While this is an intuitive argument, it does not resolve (...) the issue. -/- Focusing on why individual players are motivated to entertain immoral and violent fantasies, Video Games, Violence, and the Ethics of Fantasy advances debates about the ethical criticism of art, not only by shining light on the interesting and under-examined case of virtual fantasies, but also by its novel application of a virtue ethical account. Video games are works of fiction that enable players to entertain a fantasy. So, a full understanding of the ethical criticism of video games must focus attention on why individual players are motivated to entertain immoral and violent fantasies. -/- Video Games, Violence, and the Ethics of Fantasy engages with debates and critical discussions of games in both the popular media and recent work in philosophy, psychology, media studies, and game studies. (shrink)
The neurosciences challenge the ‘standard social science’ model of human behaviour particularly with reference to violence. Although explanations of violence are interdisciplinary it remains controversial to work across the division between the social and biological sciences. Neuroscience can be subject to familiar sociological critiques of scientism and reductionism but this paper considers whether this view should be reassessed. Concepts of brain plasticity and epigenetics could prompt reconsideration of the dichotomy of the social and natural while raising questions about (...) the intersections of materiality, embodiment and social action. Although violence is intimately bound up with the body, sociologies of both violence and the body remain on the surface and rarely go under the skin or skulls of violent actors. This article argues for a non-reductionist realist explanation of violent behaviour that is also interdisciplinary and offers the potential to generate nuanced understandings of violent processes. It concludes that sociology should engage critically and creatively with the neuroscience of violence. (shrink)
In contrast to political realism's equation of the `political' with domination, Hannah Arendt understood the `political' as a relation of friendship utterly opposed to the use of violence. This article offers a critique of that understanding. It becomes clear that Arendt's challenge to realism, as exemplified by Max Weber, succeeds on account of a dubious redefinition of the `political' that is the reverse image of the one-sided vision of politics she had hoped to contest. Questioning this paradoxical turn leads (...) to a critique of Arendt's separation of violence and power and, consequently, her attempt to insulate a politics of friendship from one of hostility and coercion. However, political realism is not thereby affirmed. What is required, instead, is a view of the `political' that accepts the interwoven-ness of violence and power but also emphasizes the normative ideals of moderation and care. Key Words: Hannah Arendt enmity friendship moderation the `political' power realism violence Max Weber. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to explore the emotional dimensions involved in the phenomenon of interpersonal violence, identifying various modalizations of affectivity occurring in the architectonics of this phenomenon. I will first concentrate on symmetrical violence, namely, on the emergence of irritation, annoyance, anger, and fury leading to fierce confrontation. Next I will explore asymmetrical violence, where the passive pole experiences the imminence of the other’s violence in fear and in being terrified. I will then (...) focus on the experience of the third in the face of violence, showing that here the affectivity is differently constituted each time, depending on the various situations of symmetrical and asymmetrical violence that the third witnesses. Finally, I will contrast the experience of real violence with the experience of violence-as-image, and I will pose several questions regarding the modifications of the affective experience of the third in the face of depicted violence. (shrink)
Whether man is predisposed to lethal violence, ranging from homicide to warfare, and how that may have impacted human evolution, are among the most controversial topics of debate on human evolution. Although recent studies on the evolution of warfare have been based on various archaeological and ethnographic data, they have reported mixed results: it is unclear whether or not warfare among prehistoric hunter – gatherers was common enough to be a component of human nature and a selective pressure for (...) the evolution of human behaviour. This paper reports the mortality attributable to violence, and the spatio-temporal pattern of violence thus shown among ancient hunter–gatherers using skeletal evidence in prehistoric Japan (the Jomon period: 13000 cal BC–800 cal BC). Our results suggest that the mortality due to violence was low and spatio-temporally highly restricted in the Jomon period, which implies that violence including warfare in prehistoric Japan was not common. (shrink)
How can black feminist and women of color feminist theoretical interventions help create frameworks for discerning agentic action in the context of power, oppression, and violence? In this paper, I explore the social dimension of agency and argue that intention is not just authored by the agent as a function of practical reasoning, but is also socially authored through others' discernment and translation of her action. Further, when facilitated by reasoning designed to reinforce and rationalize systems of domination, social (...) authoring systematically distorts the intentions of some agents. Although some theorists have argued that those agents whose intentions are not recognized by others are forced to exercise a diminished agency, I contend that this account obscures agency that is practiced despite or through conditions of oppression. As an alternative, I propose that feminist of color theory that examines the structural and existential erasures of women of color maps a conceptual space to help us better discern agentic action that is practiced by those subjects whose acts are defined away from them. (shrink)
The article discusses sexual violence by ISIS against women in Iraq, particularly Yezidi women, against the historical background of broader sexual and gender-based violence. It intervenes in feminist debates about how to approach and analyse sexual and wider gender-based violence in Iraq specifically and the Middle East more generally. Recognizing the significance of positionality, the article argues against dichotomous positions and for the need to look at both macrostructural configurations of power pertaining to imperialism, neoliberalism and globalization (...) on the one hand, and localized expressions of patriarchy, religious interpretations and practices and cultural norms on the other hand. Finally, the article reflects on the question of what a transnational feminist solidarity might look like in relation to sexual violence by ISIS. (shrink)
The claim of this article is that the perpetrators of violence are “liminal” figures, being inside and yet outside of the world in which they act. It is this liminality, this existing on the border, that makes their violence senseless. Because of it, their actions can be understood in terms neither of the actual reality of their victims nor of the imagined reality that the perpetrators placed them in. Sense, here, fails, for the lack of a common frame. (...) Liminality exists in a number of forms: economic, religious, and political—each with its potential for violence. What distinguishes political liminality is the scale of its violence. As Carl Schmitt shows, the liminal sovereign or ruler is both inside and outside the state, employing its means for violence even as he is unconstrained by its laws. I contend that this sovereign exists in a continuum with the practitioners of terrorist violence, who are also liminal figures. To analyze this liminality, I explore the intertwining between the self and the world that sets up the common frame that gives sense to actions. I then examine the causes of its breakdown. (shrink)
Violence for Equality, first published in 1989, questions the morality of political violence and challenges the presuppositions, inconsistencies and prejudices of liberal-democratic thinking. This book should be of interest to teachers and students of philosophy and politics.
René Girard’s breakthrough consists in uncovering the mechanism of violence, namely the mimesis and rivalry it permits. Yet, mimetic violence still leaves the very origin of evil and murder unquestioned. Here Lévinas plays a decisive role: the call to murder only becomes possible as one of the versions of the call of the face, the call of the other. This is what Girard should have taken up in order to clarify his final allusions to a “good mimesis”—this other, (...) properly Christic, possibility of the call of the face. (shrink)
Susan Hurley has argued against a well known argument for freedom of speech, the argument from autonomy, on the basis of two hypotheses about violence in the media and aggressive behaviour. The first hypothesis says that exposure to media violence causes aggressive behaviour; the second, that humans have an innate tendency to copy behaviour in ways that bypass conscious deliberation. I argue, first, that Hurley is not successful in setting aside the argument from autonomy. Second, I show that (...) the empirical data are irrelevant to statutory regulation of media violence. They do not yield a sufficiently strong correlation between exposure to media violence and non-autonomously copied criminal violence, and they do not yield a way ex ante to individuate the viewers who will be affected by media violence. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to explore the relationship between revolution and violence in Marxism and in a series of texts drawing on Marxian theory. Part 1 outlines the basic normative frameworks which determine the outer limits of permissible violence in Marxism. Part 2 presents a critical analysis of a series of later discussions - by Sorel, Fanon and Žižek - which transformed the terms in which violence was discussed by developing one particular aspect of Marxist (...) thought. By teasing out the implications of revolutionary theory for the commission and permission of violence, it is possible to specify those points at which it tends towards excess. This in turn points towards limits that an adequate normative theory of revolutionary violence should establish. (shrink)
This paper will address Foucault’s analysis of the Hebrew and Christian pastor and argue that Foucault’s analysis of pastoral power in Security, Territory, Population neglects an important characteristic of the shepherd/pastor figure: violence. Despite Foucault’s close analysis of the early development of the Hebrew pastor, he overlooks the role of violence and instead focuses on sacrifice. However the sacrificial pastor does not figure in the Hebrew Scriptures. The Hebrew pastor is called to lead, feed and protect the flock, (...) not sacrifice for them. This is not to suggest that the theme of sacrifice is absent in the Hebrew Scriptures but that sacrifice is not a role attributed to the pastor until Jesus’ reinterpretation of the “good shepherd” in Chapter 10 of The Gospel of John.4 In distinguishing the Hebrew and Christian formulations of the pastor, the roles of violence and sacrifice in each can be understood more clearly. Beginning with the Hebrew Scriptures I will demonstrate the importance of violence in the figure of David as the first “shepherd of men”. I will argue that violence and the ability to protect the flock was a significant and determining characteristic of the Hebrew pastor. Contrary to Foucault’s assertion I will demonstrate that sacrifice was not a role attributed to the Hebrew pastor. While the words and life of Jesus provide a new sacrificial paradigm for understanding the “shepherd of men,” it is Paul who provides the foundation on which the practice of the Christian pastor is established in the Church. Therefore I will examine the writing of Paul to demonstrate the way violence operates in the Christian pastorate. I will argue that sacrifice does not replace violence but violence is subsumed in the sacrificial pastor and continues to operate. Finally I will suggest that the introduction of violence into Foucault’s analysis establishes a deeper connection between pastoral power and biopower. Thus, this connection engenders a richer understanding of the tension in Foucault’s work between care and violence in the poles of biopower: to make live and let die. (shrink)
In this article I will show why and how it is useful to exploit the hexagon of opposition to have a better and new understanding of the relationships between morality and violence and of fundamental axiological concepts. I will take advantage of the analysis provided in my book Understanding Violence. The Intertwining of Morality, Religion, and Violence: A Philosophical Stance. Springer, Heidelberg/Berlin, 2011) to stress some aspects of the relationship between morality and violence, also reworking some (...) ideas by John Woods concerning the so-called epistemic bubbles, to reach and describe my own concept of moral bubbles. The study aims at providing a simple theory of basic concepts of moral philosophy, which extracts and clarifies the strict relationship between morality and violence and more, for example the new philosophical concept of overmorality. I will also conclude that this kind of hybrid diagrammatic reasoning is a remarkable example of manipulative explanatory abduction—through drawing—in the spirit of “conceptual structuralism”, promoted by Robert Blanché and further developed by Jean-Yves Béziau. (shrink)
The origins and consequences of warfare or largescale intergroup violence have been subject of long debate. Based on exhaustive surveys of skeletal remains for prehistoric hunter-gatherers and agriculturists in Japan, the present study examines levels of inferred violence and their implications for two different evolutionary models, i.e., parochial altruism model and subsistence model. The former assumes that frequent warfare played an important role in the evolution of altruism and the latter sees warfare as promoted by social changes induced (...) by agriculture. Our results are inconsistent with the parochial altruism model but consistent with the subsistence model, although the mortality values attributable to violence between hunter-gatherers and agriculturists were comparable. (shrink)
Habermas does not rule out the possibility of violence in language. In fact his account explicitly licenses a broad conception of violence as ‘systematically distorted communication’. Yet he does rule out the possibility that language simultaneously imposes as it discloses. That is, his argument precludes the possibility of recognizing that there is an antinomy at the heart of language and philosophical reason. This occlusion of the simultaneously world-disclosing and world-imposing character of language feeds and sustains Habermas’s legal and (...) political arguments, where he states that in order to achieve consensus rational deliberation must eliminate force. In this paper, I claim that this argument operates through a manoeuvre that leaves Habermas’s position curiously blind to its own predicament. To explain why, I turn to Kant’s treatment of the problem of evil in Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason. Here, as in the Western philosophical tradition more generally, evil has no separate existence: it is folded back into Kant’s philosophical scheme. Arendt notes that as soon as Kant identifies the problem of evil he rationalizes it into comprehensible motives. I will show how, through a move that is structurally similar to Kant’s rationalization of evil, Habermas rationalizes and attempts to eliminate violence from his consideration of law and language. In Habermas’s work, law and language appear as ciphers for reason. The case to be made here is that Habermas’s inability to recognize the paradoxical character of language and reason makes his work blind to the violence in which it is unavoidably implicated. (shrink)
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