In this essay, Houle focuses in on the ways in which a Foucauldian-framed account of violence, such as the one Gail Mason offers in Spectacles of Violence, rattles liberal (theoretical and 'common-sensical') understandings of culpability and lawfulness. Mason's analysis dares to suggest that violence is constitutive, not simply destructive of selves, of lives. Asking after the ways in which that constitution is asymmetrical in events of violence, Houle reintroduce some cautions and concerns about drawing from a poststructuralist perspective. This, in turn, raises the question as to which ontology of the self such a rebalancing requires. The essays ends by making use of Mason's own distinction between our selves as 'who' and 'what,' to give a modified reading of the ways these aspects of selfhood are constituted or made possible in events of violence, which does not fall back upon the liberal conception of the self.


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pp. 184-195
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2009
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