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The demonic genius of politics? Social action and the decoupling of violence and politics

Pearce, Jenny (2017) The demonic genius of politics? Social action and the decoupling of violence and politics. International Journal of Conflict and Violence, 11. pp. 1-11. ISSN 1864-1385

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Identification Number: 10.4119/UNIBI/ijcv.624


This paper explores the way violence is simultaneously absent and present in our everyday understanding of politics and the State. It argues that politics does not have to be an arena inherently and unavoidably reliant on the tools of violence. Indeed, politics could be seen as primarily an arena for violence reduction. Social action on violence is one route towards realizing such a goal. However, the ontological assumptions about human violence behind, for instance, the Weberian approach to the modern State remain a conceptual limit to such social action. They have provided an apparently intuitive foundation for why violence and its monopoly must be coupled to our understanding of politics and the State. While there have been philosophical challenges to this, they ultimately fail, it is argued, to provide a focus on violence as a phenomenon with its own distinctions. Social action on violence raises new consciousness about its lived experiences and multiple forms, including state violence. Such action can influence and be influenced by an emergent epistemological leap in the study of violence, made possible by the interdisciplinary potential of new knowledge. Over time, there is a source for a new foundation for the State and Politics, which does not rely on the tools of violence.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 The Author © CC BY-NC 4.0
Divisions: Institute of Global Affairs
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2017 16:09
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 15:53

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