Abstract

In a way, the Western tradition of political theorizing has been defined, with very few exceptions (say, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels or Niccolò Machiavelli), by a strategy of disavowal in dealing with the pervasiveness of violence in political life. Arguably, it is only with the onset of modern politics in the West, from the French Revolution onward, that this conceit has been partially undermined and that violence and terror have become central to theoretical discussions. But even in these discussions, violence is presented as accidental or disordered, as an exception that is often embodied in specific actors and/or presented as a pathology, as an excrescence, or as the antipode of sanitized conceptions of power rather than as constitutive of power relations. And rather than excrescent, the afterlives of these violent origins are regularized and normalized by liberal-capitalist civilization, while those perceived to be exceptional are vehemently criticized. Yet what most thinkers had tried to occlude literary accounts of violence have unconcealed. At least this is one of the insights that emerges in the thought-provoking reflections found in Moira Fradinger's Binding Violence (2010), her absorbing account of literary representations of political origins, which offers an important theoretical elucidation of violence and its figures.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2157-4189
Print ISSN
0026-5667
Pages
pp. 95-103
Launched on MUSE
2012-06-14
Open Access
No
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