By W. Schinkel

ISBN-10: 023025134X

ISBN-13: 9780230251342

ISBN-10: 0230535585

ISBN-13: 9780230535589

ISBN-10: 1349366951

ISBN-13: 9781349366958

This publication offers a unique method of the social medical learn of violence. It argues for an 'extended' definition of violence to be able to keep away from subscribing to commonsensical or kingdom propagated definitions of violence, and will pay particular awareness to 'autotelic violence' (violence for the sake of itself), in addition to to terrorism.

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Extra info for Aspects of Violence: A Critical Theory

Example text

In fact, one could just as easily come up with the definition of 'non-violence' as 'pathways around confrontational tension and fear'. Collins therefore indeed seems to opt for a strategy of non-definition, building on the commonsensical definitions of violent situations. Problems of empirical definition of violence But each empirical definition of violence, whether logically sound or not, is necessarily one-sided. As an extended example, I shall discuss David Riches' definition of violence as 'an act of physical hurt deemed legitimate by the performer and illegitimate by (some) witnesses' (Riches, 1986: 8).

First of all, the question becomes which acts count as 'violence'. To take the simple case of physical violence, when two persons fight, one can ask what actions one wishes to call violence. Does a blow delivered by a 'performer' to a 'victim' count as violence? But where does the action of that blow begin and end? Does only the moment the performer's fist hits the victim's face qualify for being 'violence'? After all, a movement of the performer's arm that is in all but one respect exactly like such a blow, but which stops right before the arm would hit the victim's face, cannot be called 'violence' according to Riches' definition, since it is not an act of 36 Aspects of Violence physical hurt.

The increasing appropriation of physical violence by the state has led to several paradoxes. To begin with, the appropriation by the state of a huge potential of violence has had enormous violent effects in the form of colonization and world wars. It is hard to maintain that, after having acquired a reservoir of violence, modern states didn't use it as well. In connection to this, sociologists like Giddens (1984) and Bauman (1998) have justly observed that the decrease of private violence went hand in hand with a far-reaching militarization that has brought about a sophistication and a technique of violence.

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Aspects of Violence: A Critical Theory by W. Schinkel


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