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The Barren sacrifice : an essay on political violence / by Paul Dumouchel ; translated by Mary Baker.

By: Dumouchel, Paul, 1951- [author.].
Contributor(s): Baker, Mary [translator.].
Material type: TextTextSeries: Studies in violence, mimesis, and culture: Publisher: East Lansing, MI : Michigan State University Press, [2015]Copyright date: ©2015Description: 1 online resource.Content type: text Media type: computer Carrier type: online resourceISBN: 9781609174705; 1609174704.Uniform titles: Le sacrifice inutile. English Subject(s): Political violence | State, The | Legitimacy of governments | Human rights | War | Terrorism | State-sponsored terrorismGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: No titleDDC classification: 320.1 Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
Introduction -- 1. Solidarity and enmity -- 2. The state, violence, and groups -- 3. Territory and war -- 4. The traitor and reason -- 5. Indifference and charity -- 6. Social justice and territory -- Epilogue.
Summary: According to political theory, the primary function of the modern state is to protect its citizens--both from each other and from external enemies. Yet it is the states that essentially commit major forms of violence, such as genocides, ethnic cleansings, and large-scale massacres, against their own citizens. In this book Paul Dumouchel argues that this paradoxical reversal of the state's primary function into violence against its own members is not a mere accident but an ever-present possibility that is inscribed in the structure of the modern state. Modern states need enemies to exist and to persist, not because they are essentially evil but because modern politics constitutes a violent means of protecting us against our own violence. If they cannot--if we cannot--find enemies outside the state, they will find them inside. However, this institution is today coming to an end, not in the sense that states are disappearing, but in the sense that they are increasingly failing to protect us from our own violence. That is why the violent sacrifices that they ask from us, in wars and even in times of peace, have now become barren.
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Item type Current location Call number URL Status Date due Barcode
Electronic Book UT Tyler Online
Online
JC328.6 .D8613 2015 (Browse shelf) https://ezproxy.uttyler.edu/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.14321/j.ctt16t8z6p Available ocn945975184

Online resource; title from PDF title page (EBSCO, viewed April 7, 2016).

Introduction -- 1. Solidarity and enmity -- 2. The state, violence, and groups -- 3. Territory and war -- 4. The traitor and reason -- 5. Indifference and charity -- 6. Social justice and territory -- Epilogue.

According to political theory, the primary function of the modern state is to protect its citizens--both from each other and from external enemies. Yet it is the states that essentially commit major forms of violence, such as genocides, ethnic cleansings, and large-scale massacres, against their own citizens. In this book Paul Dumouchel argues that this paradoxical reversal of the state's primary function into violence against its own members is not a mere accident but an ever-present possibility that is inscribed in the structure of the modern state. Modern states need enemies to exist and to persist, not because they are essentially evil but because modern politics constitutes a violent means of protecting us against our own violence. If they cannot--if we cannot--find enemies outside the state, they will find them inside. However, this institution is today coming to an end, not in the sense that states are disappearing, but in the sense that they are increasingly failing to protect us from our own violence. That is why the violent sacrifices that they ask from us, in wars and even in times of peace, have now become barren.

English.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Dumouchel (Ritsumeikan University, Japan) persuasively develops an explanation of why modern states abandon their primary duty to protect citizens from outside enemies and instead increasingly employ violence, even extermination, against their own citizens. As so many have experienced in the last 100 years, citizens feared the violence of state power more than external threats in places such as Armenia, Rwanda, Cambodia, Iraq, the Soviet Union, and Nazi-controlled Europe. Part of the reason, Dumouchel argues, is the loss of the sacrificial victim as an outlet for state violence. But more disturbing is his argument that states have flipped the friend-foe distinction. Even modern democratic states, fully participating in the bureaucratic-humanist revolution, see enemies everywhere amid an atomized and impersonal modern mass culture. Thus, humanism itself as a rational and skeptical mode of knowledge may be partly responsible for 20th-century totalitarianism and inward-directed state violence. Because protection from violence is the justification for state power in modern political thought, the tendency toward violent aggression transgresses the terms of the social contract in a way that undercuts political legitimacy. This excellently argued book is indispensable reading. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. --Jerry E. Herbel, Kennesaw State University

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Paul Dumouchel is Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan.

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