Cover image for Violence, identity, and self-determination
Violence, identity, and self-determination
Vries, Hent de.
Publication Information:
Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 1997.
Physical Description:
xii, 401 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
"Proceedings of an international workshop held during the summer of 1995 in Amsterdam"--P. v.
Violence and testimony: on sacrificing sacrifice / Hent De Vries -- Monastic violance / M.B. Pranger -- Characteristic violence; or, The physiognomy of style / Marian Hobson -- Wartime / Samuel Weber -- The camp as the Nomos of the modern / Giorgio Agamben -- Enlightenment and Paranomia / Stathis Gourgouris -- Cannibals all: the grave wit of Kant's Perpetual peace / Susan M. Shell -- Otherwise than self-determination: the mortal freedom of Oedipus Asphaleos / Michael Dillon -- The victim's tale: memory and forgetting in the story of violence / Peter Van der Veer -- Eroticism, colonialism, and violence / Ali Behdad -- Traumatic awakenings / Cathy Caruth -- Habeas corpus: the law's desire to have the body / Anselm Haverkamp and Cornelia Vismann -- On the politics of pure means: Benjamin, Arendt, Foucault / Beatrice Hanssen -- Marx, mourning, Messianicity / Peter Fenves -- Violence, identity, self-determination, and the question of justice: on Specters of Marx / Peggy Kamuf -- One 2 many multiculturalisms -- Werner Hamacher -- ...and pomegranates / Jacques Derrida.

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HM281 .V4923 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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With the collapse of the bipolar system of global rivalry that dominated world politics after the Second World War, and in an age that is seeing the return of "ethnic cleansing" and "identity politics," the question of violence, in all of its multiple ramifications, imposes itself with renewed urgency. Rather than concentrating on the socioeconomic or political backgrounds of these historical changes, the contributors to this volume rethink the concept of violence, both in itself and in relation to the formation and transformation of identities, whether individual or collective, political or cultural, religious or secular. In particular, they subject the notion of self-determination to stringent scrutiny: is it to be understood as a value that excludes violence, in principle if not always in practice? Or is its relation to violence more complex and, perhaps, more sinister?
Reconsideration of the concepts, the practice, and even the critique of violence requires an exploration of the implications and limitations of the more familiar interpretations of the terms that have dominated in the history of Western thought. To this end, the nineteen contributors address the concept of violence from a variety of perspectives in relation to different forms of cultural representation, and not in Western culture alone; in literature and the arts, as well as in society and politics; in philosophical discourse, psychoanalytic theory, and so-called juridical ideology, as well as in colonial and post-colonial practices and power relations.
The contributors are Giorgio Agamben, Ali Behdad, Cathy Caruth, Jacques Derrida, Michael Dillon, Peter Fenves, Stathis Gourgouris, Werner Hamacher, Beatrice Hanssen, Anselm Haverkamp, Marian Hobson, Peggy Kamuf, M. B. Pranger, Susan M. Shell, Peter van der Veer, Hent de Vries, Cornelia Vismann, and Samuel Weber.

Author Notes

Hent de Vries holds the Chair of Metaphysics and its History in the Department of Philosophy of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam, and is Professor of Modern European Thought in the Humanities Center of the School of Arts and Sciences at The Johns Hopkins University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This collection of essays by 18 scholars from six countries derives from a 1995 conference in the Netherlands. The violence theme stems from Eric Weil, whose remarks were given great prominence by Levinas and reechoed by Derrida. Identity and self-determination (whether individual or collective) are achieved by differentiation from the Other; this often seems to require violence. Such dominant aspects of society as government and business are generally regarded as forms of violence, and some of the authors explore the thesis that even such seemingly benign actions as generalizing, articulating, characterizing, and sacrificing are themselves forms of violence. Kant, Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, Sorel, Kafka, Benjamin, Heidegger, and others are also discussed. The essays vary in length, discipline, and quality. This reviewer found Hanssen's discussion of Schmitt, Benjamin, Arendt, and Foucault particularly stimulating. The final essay is by Derrida, though he did not participate in the conference. Extensive notes but no index. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through faculty. N. Garver SUNY at Buffalo