Tahir Abbas & Parveen Akhtar(University of Birmingham, UK)
Helen Anderson (Queen´s University, Canada)
Reclaiming Agency in the Wake of Sexual Violence
This paper will examine the possible effects of sexual violence on an individual´s sense of agency, and also explore what kind of personal understanding is necessary for the restoration of agency post sexual trauma. Rape is often understood in one of two ways: either as a random act of violence, or as the result of the victim´s actions, both interpretations being harmful to the survivor. Interpreting rape as a random act fails to offer an explanation of the event, making it difficult for a survivor to feel that she has any control over the occurrence of such assaults. Conversely, victim-blaming may provide reasons for the traumatic event, although at a high cost: the distinction between right and wrong. Understanding rape as a social phenomenon, however, not only explains how such an event could occur, but also gives a survivor power over her life and over the future of sexual violence. The majority of rapes are perpetrated by someone known to the victim, suggesting that not only mentally disturbed individuals rape, but also normal, functioning members of society. Characterizing rape as the product of societal attitudes towards women allows an assault survivor to reclaim a sense of agency by adopting forward-looking responsibility. In taking responsibility to change the attitudes that contribute to the perpetuation of sexual violence, not only do we gain the ability to impose meaning on the events that occur in our lives, but also gain the power to change our own futures and the future of our society.
Cafer Tayyar Ari (Uludag University, Turkey)
At the Crossroads of Systemic Transformation: Security or Democracy
Collapse of Soviet Union and the end of the cold war caused for all of us that the world will be more secure and stable place to live together in accordance with the rules of international law thought as the base of rights and responsibilities for a common world. In this climate, the students of theories of international relations began to discuss that liberalism would be the main criteria to advance the peace and cooperation to solve the problems which may arise and to cope with potential questions such as ethnic and religious based nationalism, proliferation of nuclear weapons and poverty causing many problems in many countries. In the first hand, the collective behavior which demonstrated against the Iraqi invasion of Quwait consolidated our solidarity for other similar situations such as using power and military means to reach foreign policy aims and trying to be a hegemonic power. Unfortunately, after a very short time the silence and ineffectiveness of international society and the failure to enhance the collaboration to overcome the facing problems disappointed the world society and increased the suspicions about the expectation of liberal and plural theories contemplated as a framework of promotion of cooperation and peace among international communities.
This concise article will try to discuss this dichotomy in terms of choice between realism and liberalism/pluralism in the context of increased security problems by taking power of Bush team in U.S., in the beginning of 2001, particularly aftermath of terrorist attacks to twin towers in New York and Pentagon in 9/11. We hope to share our anxieties about the developments in the international relations as a way that security problems will be basic agenda that none of us is willing to drag into.
Nirman Arora (University of Ghent, Belgium)
Violation of Human Rights of Women in India at Workplaces: Blazing and Banal Ubiquities
The gender violence is universal phenomenon which takes various shapes across culture, race and class. We view violence against women as any act, policy or attitude which in any way is a violation of our personhood as we perceive it, or which dehumanize us. On that basis, we consider violence against women carried out by any individual, group, institute or society as human rights violations. However, the human rights of women are judged in the light of the society we envision. And, it has been observed that human rights of women are being violated in many field of life in Indian society including workplaces. Against this backdrop, the object of this paper shall be to highlight the violence against women at workplaces in India, the role played by the State mechanism and NGOs and chalk out some general conclusions and strategies on empowerment of women.
Jessica Baños (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
Uncritical fundamentalism in political philosophy
In last years, some mayor political philosophers have endorsed cultural relativism. Specially, thinkers who try to answer questions about morality in international affairs, such as John Rawls and Michael Walzer, have assumed that liberal values are not accepted by other cultures and peoples and some kind of incomunicability between cultures is defended. Against this trend, the paper asks if this development in political philosophy is correct, or if it, rather, hides some kind of fundamentalism or racism against other peoples and cultures. It explains how cultures and civilizations have developed historically over time, how they have always exchanged values among them, and asks if it is really the case that the world is prepared to give up some of the enlightenement's most important values, such as the equal worth of human beings, or the priority of liberty and equality of all human beings.
Pascale Barrette Brisson (École nationale d'administration publique, Canada)
Managing Violence: The Myth of "Zero Tolerance"
This paper presents results from a case study of a policy of non-violence in place in a hospital in Montreal, Canada. This study uses a social constructionist perspective to understand how violence among hospital employees is interpreted and managed. Documents constituting "official complaints" were analysed, and interviews were conducted with hospital officials responsible for writing and implementing the policy. My argument is threefold: 1)In spite of the official discourse on "zero-tolerance," investigators choose which cases merit treatment, and hence interpret, define, construct and judge the violent nature of acts described in the complaints. This arbitrary policy application contributes to the social construction of a discourse in which certain violent behaviours are tolerated, while others are not. 2)For each act labelled "violent", the policy prescribes particular sanctions. The paradox between the "zero-tolerance" discourse and the prescribed sanctions is such that the investigators use coercive, even violent (yet legitimate) means in an attempt to eliminate violence. 3)The arbitrary management of violence and the use of certain sanctions contribute to individualizing violence and therefore denying its social and organizational character. Moreover, prevention is absent from both the policy and the investigators' discourse. To summarize, the official discourse of "zero-tolerance" articulated in the policy of non-violence is a myth. As currently implemented, the hospital's non-violence policy tolerates forms of violence and fails to endorse preventive measures.
Christian Büger (Institut für Sozialforschung, Frankfurt am Main)
Bridge over Troubled Water: Social Studies of Science and the Securitizing Effects of International Relations Research
As highlighted by the Copenhagen school of security studies constructions of security issues and threats are the result of a speech act of “securitization”. While research has shown the value of this approach, one securitizing actor has been largely neglected: science or International Relations research, itself. While academia is usually being considered as disconnected from (or only loosely connected to) policy discourse, the paper argues that International Relations Research plays several significant roles in discourses of violence.
The paper takes the research program of the social studies of science as point of departure. Not only does this strand of social science provide key conclusions about science-policy interactions but furthermore an empirical focus, alternative to poststructural or critical theory approaches. Following this line of research, the paper argues that there are at least three crucial functions of IR Research in security policy discourses: 1) researchers are directly involved as “scientific experts”, 2) the interpretative knowledge (theories, concepts, prognosis, metaphors, facts) is used in discourse, 3) the academic norms and rules of proper behaviour (rationality criteria) serve as standards of judgement in policy.
The paper takes democratic peace research as an example, demonstrating 1) the mutual inter-relationships between the academic discourses on democratic peace and the policy discourses on a new world order, 2) the utilization of the “scientific democratic peace” as argument in policy discourse and 3) the effects of utilization leading to the “securitization of democracy and democratizing policy”.
The paper concludes with laying out future paths for the dialogue between social studies of science and IR, as for research on the science-policy nexus in international relations and the (intended and un-intended) effects of International Relations research.
Steven Corcoran (The University of New South Wales, Australia)
Thinking Politics outside Sovereign Biopower
Agamben's book Homo Sacer purports to take up a point logically implied by Foucault's work, but which nonetheless remains singularly in the shadow: a unitary centre of power, a locus between the objective mechanisms of power which appropriate bare life as a principal preoccupation and the subjective mechanisms by which an individual attaches to a conscience and thus to an external locus of control. This point Agamben claims is sovereignty. In his reworking of the concept, sovereignty is not constituted through contractual relations between individuals, nor as an effect of a more or less permanent state of war; but through a relation of exception to bare life. As Agamben puts it, "the implication of bare life in the political sphere constitutes the original kernel - albeit occulted - of sovereign power".
Indeed, Agamben suggests that if Foucault had tried to account for the mechanisms of exclusion particular to the camp he would have encountered a logic different to the one pertaining to the internment of the mad, delinquents and so on. At least, this is the direction Agamben's own research pursues: the camp refers to a logic of exception which forces us once more to problematise the nature of sovereignty. Of course, it is not a matter of simply reviving traditional questions of political philosophy concerning the limits of sovereign power, its legitimacy, etc. It is rather matter of showing how sovereign power per se implicates bare life, and how this implication constitutes the essential kernel of sovereign power-a relation which, having always been there, has only become visible during the modern period. It is the suspension of the Law and not a change in the nature of political power as such which renders this essential link visible.
Agamben declares than one of the stakes of his research is that resistance to power should no longer be thought through the figure of an overcoming of the current regimes of bodies and pleasures. No new constellation of bodies and pleasures would shake the pretensions of sovereign power and the relation of ban in which it holds bare life. Nor, for that matter, would any recourse to citizen's rights be capable of undoing sovereign power's constitutive act, that is, the production of a biopolitical body. My question then is: How then are we to think politics outside of sovereign power? And what would constitute a veritable site of resistance to sovereign biopolitics?
Jason Daigle (University of Windsor, Canada)
The violence of terror: Canada's response to terrorism and the constitutional ramifications
Since the devastating attacks of September 11th the threat of violence in North America has escalated exponentially. In Canada, the perceived threat of a similar attack fueled a public outcry for a governmental response. The Canadian Parliament has a responsibility to protect Canadians from actual and potential human rights abuses. However, the government must strike a delicate balance between collective security and individual rights of all Canadians. The introduction of Bill C-36 (The Anti-Terrorism Bill) was created to combat terrorism and minimize domestic violence. Bill C-36 amends the current Canadian Criminal Code and makes terrorist activity a serious crime punishable by between 10 years and life imprisonment. The debate over Bill C-36 has focussed on two key themes that will be discussed at length throughout this paper. First, the constitutional tensions between the collective security of the nation and the individual rights of the citizen, and second, the actual impact of the Bill to the criminal justice system. This paper seeks to explain if these are prominent themes in Canada's response to the threat of violence. The study will focus on Canada's reaction post September 11th, the potential constitutional encroachments of the bill, the court's response to these tensions, and the effectiveness of the bill as an end to violence. In short, it is the contention of this study that Bill C-36 was a reactionary response to a public demand. However, the constitutional barriers to successful implementation may leave the Canadian public vulnerable to future violence
Arne De Boever (Columbia University, USA)
W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz and "Deconstructivist Architecture"
There is an emphatic attention in Sebald's last novel Austerlitz to architecture. Through a reading of Sebald's description of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, I try to understand the architectural debate that Austerlitz takes part in. Drawing from the work of the American philosopher Mark C. Taylor, I compare Sebald's project to the project of "deconstructivist archictecture" (Philip Johnson), and to works by Bernard Tschumi and Daniel Libeskind in particular. From the issues that my discussion of deconstructivist architecture raises, and from my discussion of the dematerialisation of modernist architecture (of the violence done to the body by the emphatic attention to surface), I move into post-Levinasian philosophy. I consider the relation between violence and the body, and between violence and bare life, in the work of the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben. On the basis of my reading of Agamben, and of my discussion of the distinction that Jacques Derrida has recently suggested should be made between bare life and the body in Agamben, I try to understand the relation between Austerlitz, deconstruction, and the law. How can the dematerialization of modern literature be overcome not by its dialectical opposite, but by a non-dialectical mean between which the two extremes of the body and of language can be suspended? I close by commenting on two pictures by Jeff Wall, and on recent work by Paul D. Miller (also known as "DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid").
Chelsea Gabel (University of Windsor, Canada)
Judicial Options for Counterattacking Terrorist Violence
The violent attacks by the Al Qaeda organization on September 11th, 2001 shocked the United States. Even though the direct perpetrators died, the attacks resulted in an intense desire to bring to justice those who were involved in planning them, and to apply pre-emptive justice to those considered likely to be involved in future terrorist violence. The United States launched its "war on terrorism", in the process raising fundamental moral, legal, and political questions about how a country subject to terrorist attack can balance international law and human rights with the need to protect their populations. The challenge is compounded by the fact that the war on terror is against a group of individuals and organizations spread across several countries, rather than against a specific country. Several options exist for trying the accused, including international tribunals and federal criminal trials. Recognizing that available options may not be sufficiently legitimate or expedient, George Bush issued a Military Order on November 13, 2001 providing for the creation of special military tribunals to try alleged terrorists. The selection of an option is based on various factors that determine its legitimacy, such as individual rights, jurisdictional issues, the protection of intelligence sources, rules of evidence, and political acceptability. This paper analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of the available options, drawing upon certain basic principles of international human rights and humanitarian law.
Ivan Gololobov (University of Essex, UK)
The Construction of Social Antagonism as a Way to Supress Violence
The paper is devoted to the problem of social antagonism and its role in restricting of social violence. Drawing on the ideas of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, and employing the debates held within the Moscow-Tartu Semiotic School the author argues that social antagonism is a profoundly positive instrument in combating social tensions. This conclusion appears to be grounded by the analysis of principles of systematic organisation of society and the role of the Other for the constitution of intelligible society which is assumed to be the only environment of adequate restricting and reducing tensions within the society . The author argues for the denial of the very idea of happy non-antagonistic society and stands for the recognition of antagonism as the only way of constructing the system preventing the 'state of nature' governed by the right of the might.
Jens Greve (Universität Bielefeld)
Perspectives on the global field
Although theories of world society have already been elaborated during the 1970s the notion of world society only recently aroused broader interest, often in the context of discussions centred on globalization. The purpose of this paper is threefold. In the first part the question is posed why it is only now that theories of world society are attracting attention to a greater extent. The second part addresses the difference between the globalization approaches and the world society perspectives. Firstly, globalization theories mainly conceive the world as a field of transactions becoming denser in the process of globalization but offer no comprehensive notion of what makes the world an emergent entity with properties of its own. Secondly, whereas the globalization outlook is primarily looking at the world as a sum of interactions spreading across the globe, the world society perspective rather looks from above and explains the structures of the world by the “Eigenstructures” (Stichweh) of the world as a whole. The third part of the paper offers a critique of both globalization approaches and theories of world society. Beyond the perspective developed by globalization approaches it is assumed that the global field is marked by emergent institutional structures. In contradistinction to the theories of world society, however, these structures are considered as social forms which are given only in a fragmented way. Consequently, the paper pleads for a perspective that doesn’t presuppose a closed world society but rather examines to what degree the world is already shaped by structures of an emerging world society (“Verweltgesellschaftung”).
Steffen Hantke (Sogang University, Seoul)
AbstractTitel: Fond Memories of Alienation: Images of the City in Contemporary Victoriana
Postmodern rewritings of the Victorian, exemplified by runaway bestsellers as Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White or mainstream blockbusters like the Hughes' Brothers' From Hell, have focused largely on images of 19th century urbanity. The single recurring theme of such evocations of the city in postmodern Victoriana is that of the urban as a space of violence: on the one hand, of violence as a trope of modern experience (informational density, coexistence of radically opposed or discontinuous elements, shock and alienation-themes dominating the discourse in Simmel or Benjamin); on the other hand, of violence as a literal component of city life (urban crime, secrecy and anonymity, etc.). Strikingly enough, however, the contemporary city, conceptualized within the paradigm of the postmodern, bears little resemblance to the London from which the British Empire was ruled, or the Paris that Benjamin famously nicknamed the "capital of the 19th century." At first glance, Fredric Jameson's or Edward Soja's discussions of postmodern urbanity, popularized by Mike Davis' City of Quartz, seem to describe a city cleaner, safer, and more disciplined than Faber's or the Hughes' Brothers' London. But the popularity of postmodern Victoriana suggests that readers would readily trade in suburban calm for 19th century squalor. Instead of searching for historical origins or tracing trajectories of development of contemporary urbanity, postmodern Victoriana largely emphasize historical discontinuity in their use of visual and experiential tropes of the 19th century city. Dissociated from present experience, the city becomes a space for the projection of nostalgia, driven by a desire to recuperate authentic experience, even if it comes in the form of violence. It is hardly surprising that, in the light of this historical counter-mythology, the urban slum or inner city violence, which regimes like that of Rudi Giuliani in New York City claimed to have eradicated, suddenly return in a positive light. The crucial question is whether this counter-mythology comments critically on contemporary urbanity, positing the shock of the modern as preferable to the calm postmodern surface, or whether it legitimizes the disciplinary measures enabling postmodern urbanity by treating urban violence in all its facets as a thing of the (mythic) past.
Terri He (Linköping Universitet, Sweden)
Utopianism and Social Violence: extending thoughts from Elin Frykman's "The Cutting Edge"
Ideas and notions are powerful and determining. This statement serves as the undercurrent in Elin Frykman's (now known as Bommenel) essay "The Cutting Edge: A Sterilisation Campaign in Sweden." According to Frykman, 62,888 swedish people, from 1935 to 1975, were sterilised for the betterment of society, and 93% of them were female, considered not worthy of their motherhood. this piece of historical fact raises a host of questions, and requires further examination, debates and discussions. I intend to take advantage of this opportunity to share this article from frykman with people in this forum, as well as to evoke a rethinking over this long-lasting and yet often-too-readily-philosophical social theory of utopianism, which in this case manipulated people's belief of society and daily life over forty years, and probably in many discursive ways, has silently survived and thrived in our minds.
Elin Frykman, "The Cutting Edge: A Sterilisation Campaign in Sweden" in James Kaye & Bo Stråth (eds.), Enlightenment and Genocide, Contradictions of Modernity, Bruxelles, 2000.
Anil Jain (München)
»Terror« or The Language of Fear
Terror has many faces. It manifests in the horrors of war, in the violence of dictatorship – and in the acts of terrorism. Are the shock and the attention that it creates the only »appealing« aspects of terror? Does it by necessity display the »evil«, the dark side of power(lessness)? Or may it also lead to something further (as at least the terrorists seem to believe)? Anyway, by its destructive effects, it irritates our everyday life experiences and, sometimes, even ends up in a complete collapse of (the symbolic) order. Yet, terror is not the exception, it is: the rule. Violence and fear are at the core of our culture – as (driving) forces that we flee, but also as means of forceful adoption and integration. This violence is, however, barely visible, it works below the surface, stays hidden. Were it carries the name of terror, it just becomes seizable and conceivable. Terror is thus a revealing sign. It does not tell a story of salvation (rather a story of failure); no purification and no catharsis is created by the victims and in the sacrifice of terror(ism), but it exposes a reality that we otherwise easily tend to ignore: the reality of violence, of oppression and of exclusion. Accordingly, in this »reflection«, terror shall be read as a sign in which the »other side« of the movement of modernity is disclosed – imaginary reflected by its »others«.
Noella Jeo (Brigham Young University, USA)
Joe's Comics: Escapist and Catalytic Texts in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
In The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon explores the comic book genre and its industry from the 1930s through the 1950s. Post-modern culture, perhaps because many have grown up reading comics, has taken to the collusion of texts and pictures when dealing with historical trauma. Once thought to be exclusively child's play, comic books also address mature themes and have received literary recognition as both Art Spiegelman and Michael Chabon have both won Pulitzers for their texts which lend credibility to the genre. Adorno's well-known comment about the barbarity of writing poetry after Auschwitz is compelling in relation to comic books dealing with Holocaust trauma. By stretching our conceptions about comics and the appropriateness of topics examined, specifically those relating to the Holocaust, we are able to vicariously experience one of the most traumatic histories of the twentieth century anew, freed from the shackles of highly commodified genres. I will show how comics, the quintessential pop cultural icon, enable trauma's portrayal to be more authentic than either writing or pictures alone. Comics are initially a medium for Josef Kavalier to work through the horrors of the Holocaust, which he experiences vicariously through the suffering of his family. Additionally, they allow him to create the figure of a superhero, first the Escapist and later the golem, for which he so desperately yearns. However, the comics eventually transform Joe and act as an unexpected catalyst that brings about a more violent reality in which he seeks deliverance and absolution.
Manivillie Kanagasabapathy (Carleton University, Canada)
Articulating the Oppressed and Imagined Homeland: Discourses of Violence as a means
of Homogenizing Tamil Canadian Cultural Identity
How has the Canadian Tamil diasporic identity been constituted through discourses of violence-both the civil war in Sri Lanka and the violence that is implicated in the diasporic placement? I argue that the Sri Lankan Tamil culture is maintained in Canada through discourses that re-entrench sites of Tamil oppression in the Tamil diasporic imagination. As part of the Tamil diasporic population in Canada, I feel connected to the oppression of Tamils in Sri Lanka, though I have spent my whole life abroad; first in Nigeria and then in Canada. How can I feel a connection to the suffering and abuses of Tamil people living in Sri Lanka, when I have never experienced any fear of similar treatment? How do I know all the stories of Tamil suffering when I live in a country that is free of such suffering? By examining the role that discourses of violence played in the way I have understood my sense of cultural self, I realized that these narratives were foundational to Tamil identity in Canada. The visual and oral discursive articulation of violence aids the diaspora to maintain a feeling of communitas with Tamils in Sri Lanka. Mass media, Bollywood films, Tamil nationalist organizations, web-pages and Tamil newspapers are crucial disseminators of these discourses. The Tamil diaspora solidifies and homogenizes notions of Tamil cultural identity through discourses of violence, which in turn creates new sites for violence; embodied, for example, in the nationalist fervor of Tamil youth living in the diaspora.
Dilek Kantar (Mersin University, Turkey)
Biblical Roots of the Discourse of Mass Destruction in Las Casas' Devastation of the Indies
Since its first publication in 1552, Las Casas' "Devastation of the Indies" has been treated as one of the first eyewitness accounts of the massacre of Indians in the New World. The book was put to use by the Europeans, especially by the English, to define and justify their "good" colonization as opposed to the horrific Spanish practices described in it. The discourse of mass destruction in "The Devastation" bears a striking resemblance to Biblical apocalyptic discourse (we shall limit our analysis mainly to the apocalyptic discourse in Ezekiel), which lets us raise questions about the accuracy of Las Casas' account. Was Las Casas using/abusing the power of religious discourse to build a strong case against certain mass murderers or were the conquistadors themselves trying to fulfill God's will on earth in the most literal sense? In any case, a closer study of the discourse of mass destruction in Casas' book in relation to historical/political and religious contexts will reveal similarities between the earthly and Godly means of legitimization of the implementation of excessive force against the infidel. As Foucault puts it: "The relations of power cannot themselves be established, consolidated nor implemented without the production, accumulation, circulation, and functioning of discourse." The fact that The Devastation was almost immediately translated into every major European language after it was published, and was kept very much alive through repetitive publications throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries shows its importance as a text shaping colonial consciousness at the time.
Petra Kuppinger (Monmouth College, USA)
Dominance and Control: Servants and Workers in Colonial Cairo
Dinner parties, afternoon teas, visiting days and horse races are but a few social events that marked the busy schedules of colonizers and their guests during the Cairo social season in the winter around the turn of the 20th century. These events were meticulously planned and orchestrated, participants hand-picked, and settings wisely chosen in order to create, maintain and enhance social distinction. In addition to recreating colonial social hierarchies, such events also served the purpose of illustrating in 'elegant' and subtle manners colonial dominance over the colonized. Egyptian servants, cooks, waiters and musicians, in addition to providing material comforts for colonial socialites, stood to represent the colonizers' complete control over the colony and its residents. Total control over the colonized was best illustrated in face-to-face interactions where the colonized were made to wear costumes/uniforms and were compelled to act out scripts written in their most minute details by the colonizer. Drawing on newspaper reports, travelogues, ethnographies and biographies, this paper identifies such staged performances at various social events or scenarios where the colonizers represented to themselves and the colonized that the latter were indeed pacified and disciplined. I argue that such demonstrations of dominance and control to the colonial elite, in the context of their social lives, were central to the maintenance of the colonizers' subjectivities. Through these demonstrations of native obedience and servitude, colonizers exorcised their (not openly acknowledged) anxieties about the colonial project, and reassured themselves that they had indeed transformed the colonized into docile and compliant beings who did not challenge colonial control.
Wesley Metham (University of Sydney)
Obscenity, Seduction, and the Internet.
If, for Agamben, the coming politics will be a politics of people who "co-belong without a representable condition of belonging", this is so because "the state can recognize any claim for identity." The state's power is infinitely appropriative, and so contest can only come from a politics that somehow withdraws that which can be appropriated. In understanding this situation, we should recognize that the state's appropriative potential is a function of its institutionalized legitimation of violence.
However, in this coming politics of the whatever identity, in this politics that seems to hide from the state by taming the order of the real, is there any place for culture, and for cultural discourse?
Taking the Internet as a metaphor for 'the obscene society', the society in which all culture and information is immediately made available, I look for those moments in which seduction is contained within the obscene mass-production of cyber-identity. I use this as an attempt to begin to understand how Agamben's 'whatever' politics might be thought of as a seductive politics and, by analogy, how the possibility of 'a seductive culture' might represent the possibility of the coming community.
Klaus Müller (Free University Berlin)
The Globalisation of Democracy – Progress and Paradoxes
Since globalisation and democracy are omnipresent in the media, in politics and in the social science discourse, one might think to know the meaning and the implications of both processes, especially how globalisation will work out in the long run. Unfortunately this is not the case. Especially the relation between globalisation and democracy remains ambivalent and is essentially contested. Broadly speaking, there are two opposed camps. The liberalist camp makes the flourishing of democracy dependent on economic growth and general prosperity. If globalisation is “spreading the wealth”, as David Dollar and Aart Kraay from the World Bank suggest, then globalisation promotes liberty, democracy and democratic institutions, too. When, on the other hand, Branko Milanovitch, another World bank economist, is right, then globalisation aggravates inequality on the national, regional and global level. Under these conditions, as most critiques conclude, globalisation may lead to political instability, a backlash against free trade, slowed economic growth, right wing nationalism and, therefore, to a breakdown of democratic consolidation. Thus, the future of liberalist capitalist ideology may not be as radiant as it seems.
Claire Potter (Université Denis Diderot Paris VII)
In the Looking Glass: The Mythical Foundations of Domestic Violence
Positing the Mirror Stage as the primary context in which the terms 'discourse' and 'violence' are first encountered, this paper examines the traces of this primary scene upon the subject as adult. Beginning with Freud's essay the 'Mystic Writing-Pad' (1924), in which, as evidenced by Derrida, Freud's desire for a surface both marked and virginal manifests, this paper argues that the machinations of such desire - to account for the present as well as the absent - are also at work in many critical accounts of women living domestic violence. I will examine three well known domestic violence texts, each of which reinforce these two notions: that domestic violence is a phenomenon hidden from public eye (an absence), and that via writing of/on domestic violence (a presence) the 'mythicality' of domestic harmony can be debunked. Deliberately avoiding the neutral position, this paper will confer that these discourses institute a form of neutral apothecary which in the least eclipses entirely the seriousness of the subject of domestic violence, and at worst promotes explicitly the notion of having contributed to a 'transgressive' body of knowledge, whilst promulgating implicitly a disavowed (Foucaultian) obsession based in the surveillance of (sexual) bodies, other than one's own. Deviating from such ambitions, this paper proposes that if domestic violence exists as concealed, as it is argued by certain authors, then at an earlier time it must have once existed as revealed, since a thing cannot be concealed without having been revealed: following Freud, an idea cannot be repressed without it have being thought - the erasure effected by the 'Mystic Writing-Pad' cannot take place without something having been written.
Clara Ramirez Barat (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
The role of forgiveness in transitions to democracy
The main target that guides a process of transition to democracy in a country after years of governmental repression, civil war or any other form of violent conflict, is what we could vaguely call democratic consolidation. What does this exactly means and, in consequence, which are the specific policies that should be implemented in order contribute to bring it about are, nevertheless, questions that depend very much in the particular case and its policy-makers.
When it comes about to deal with transitional processes there is always a tension raised between forward-looking policies that seek stability, and backward-looking ones, which stress the importance of justice being done. Among other issues which are at stake in this transitional justice debates, I believe that this tension reflects another one- deeply connected with the particular understanding of what democratic consolidation means-between those who defend a conception of justice that has mainly a retributive character; and those who strongly stress its restorative aspect.
This last conception was specially defended during the South African transition (Desmond Tutu). Nonetheless its first sight attractiveness, it has been hardly criticized by people such as David Crocker, who have put into question the reality of the societal healing properties that this model of pardon/forgiveness has.
Having in mind the South African case, and comparing it with the Spanish and South-American experiences, the aim of this presentation it to explore and asses the confrontation between these two logics and how they shape the idea of democratic consolidation, focusing in the role that pardon and forgiveness play in transitions to democracy.
Dagmar Reichardt (Universität Bremen)
The King Tumbles. Power and Violence in Cultural Conflicts
This lecture starts with the divergent postulates recently formulated by Samuel Huntington's "The Clash of Civilizations" (1996) and Harth/Negri's "Empire" (2000) and intends to illustrate the problem of cultural conflicts recurring in the worldwide francophone theatre scene in early postcolonial times. A current metaphor for power and violence (suffered as well as committed) turns out to be the scenic figure of a king or governor whose function will be analyzed by giving some examples originating from different francophone areas (such as Belgium, Suisse Romande, Africa, the Caribbean and Canada). A king on the stage in a dramatic play often implies a socio-political critique and always transmits a representation of power. Norbert Elias speculates on power as a necessary condition for a civilization process, whereas Michel Foucault persistently deconstructs the order of social systems by showing that all discourses of difference can be defined as discourses of power.
From this point of view the theatre becomes a space for negotiation (Greenblatt), but also for exclusiveness of an intellectual, i.e. elitist discourse. Since the existence of classical theatre around the court of the Sun King Louis XIV (Corneille, Racine), the political function of the theatre has had a long tradition in France. The 1950's and 1960's - the period on which my contribution will focus - in France constitute a heterogeneous phase (the renewal of the political theatre with Sartre's "théâtre de situation", theatre of the absurd et cetera). In the meantime outside of France, in the former French colonies, artists wrestle with the historical past of their suffering and oppression. Instead of transporting the paternal French myth of a glamorous king, they create their own strategies to deconstruct the "lies" of the western civilization by unmasking the constructions and projections which had been forced on them and which Edward Said has conceptualized with the idea of "Orientalism". It can be seen that the "oppressed" liberate themselves by inventing, in their dramatic texts, new transcultural counter-strategies and therefore discover their own "language" and specific ways of "writing back" (Rushdie) long before Huntington expressed his thesis of culture clash.
Maryna Romanets (University of Northern British Columbia, Canada)
Transgressive Violence, Mad Intertextuality, and Aesthetics of Convulsion
My paper focuses on "mad intertextuality" in John Banville's _The Book of Evidence_ (1989), Yuri Izdryk's _Wozzeck_ (1997) and their precursor text - Georg Büchner's drama _Woyzeck_ (1836, published 1879) depicting the tragic disintegration of a poor soldier, who commits a heinous murder being haunted by mysterious terrors and morbid fancies.
Both contemporary works reveal a disturbing link between culture, perception, and violence; both are focussed on an artist figure; both represent fiction about fiction; both explore anxieties and pathologies of male psyche. The narrative takes the form of a prison-memoir that relates Freddie Montgomery's crime in _The Book of Evidence_, and of a mental hospital patient's recollections in _Wozzeck_. But while Freddie's violence is externalized: he batters an innocent woman to death with a hammer, Wozzeck's macabre visions of dissected bodies are relegated to the realm of imagination. Freddie's hallucinatory confession exposes a tragic split of his personality: behind an appearance of a cultivated intellectual, there hides a monstrous double. Opposed to such a dualism of Banville's character are Wozzeck's spectralized selves: now felt, now numb, now self, now other, now dispersed, now centred. Like Wozzeck, who painfully tries to give substance to phantoms in his hopelessly atomized world, Freddie attempts to come to grips with reality and fails. Both _The Book of Evidence_ and _Wozzeck_ are synthesized by a post-modern sensibility, with its aesthetics of citation, nostalgia, and undiferrentiatedness. The novels' post-modern stance makes them marginal, infringed, final, and at the same time open.
Holger Rossow (Universität Rostock)
Globalism, Non-Coercive Knowledge and the Possibility of Alternative Systems of Representation
Globalism here is understood as a system of ideas that claims to provide an authoritative description and an explanation for the current processes and phenomena commonly subsumed under the term globalisation. Globalism refers to materially founded relations of power and domination and culturally constructed discourses that, at least partly, conceal those relations of power and subordination and justify behavioural patterns or specific actions that sustain those relations. This paper argues that the hegemonic discourse of globalism deserves more critical attention than it has attracted so far. Arguably, the discourse of globalism has restructured the whole debate of the causes and consequences of globalisation and currently dominates and has authority over all other discourses. Critical and alternative opinions have become forcibly displaced from main stream discourses - the authoritative voice of globalism has become common sense.
Central to the critical analysis of the hegemonic discourse of globalism is the attempt to identify ways and means of producing alternative systems of representation and non-coercive forms of knowledge. This analysis tries to do exactly this and endeavours to address the discourse of globalism drawing mainly on Edward Said's notions of representation, the role of the critical intellectual and the question of non-coercive knowledge. The aim is not to replace the current discourse of globalism by another hegemonic edifice but to search for ways to produce more inclusive, participatory, collaborative and non-coercive knowledge about the processes of globalisation or in the words of Said: "What we must eliminate are systems of representation that carry with them the kind of authority which, to my mind, has been repressive because it doesn't permit or make room for interventions on the part of those represented."
Christiane Schlote (Humboldt-Universität Berlin)
Agency in the Aftermath of Domestic Violence and Intrafamilial Abuse in South Asian Diasporic Film, Fiction and Drama
On different levels South Asian and South Asian diasporic women have been mainly portrayed as passive victims. Neither in the majority of social science literature nor, to name a prominent example of literary representation, in Salman Rushdie´s earlier works have South Asian women been represented as active agents. This kind of representation is particularly problematic when examined in the context of domestic violence and intrafamilial abuse. Proceeding from Rajeswari Sunder Rajan´s notion of ´alternative´ female subjectivities, this paper examines narratives of domestic violence in Indian and Pakistani diasporic literature, drama and film which focus on the aftermath of incidents of violence against women and thus foreground acts of survival and resistance instead of focusing on the actual portrayal of violence itself. According to Benita Parry´s warning that "discourses of representation should not be confused with material realities", the representations of domestic violence and abuse will be read in the context of the emergence of South Asian diasporic women´s organizations in the 1980s. They specifically started to address the hitherto taboo subjects of domestic violence and abuse within South Asian communities and thereby deconstructed the myth of South Asian immigrants as part of ´model minority Asians´. Moreover, they provided a starting point for investigating the structural factors of domestic violence beyond the gender category and for developing a more inclusive critical feminist inquiry in terms of culture, class and religion.
Ulf Schulenberg (Universität Bremen)
Theorizing the Dialectic of Race and Class - Remarks on Cornel West's Prophetic Pragmatism and the Question of Antifoundationalist Leftist Politics
What are (neo)pragmatism's silences? What color does (neo)pragmatism have? What about its moral and political consequences? Concerning the question of neopragmatism's consequences, the perspective offered by such radical antifoundationalists, antiessentialists, and nominalists like Stanley Fish and Richard Rorty seems rather bleak. In contrast, the black philosopher, cultural critic, and public intellectual Cornel West proposes a reading of pragmatism which attempts to elucidate its usefulness for contemporary leftist theory. West has repeatedly, and explicitly, stated that he considers his prophetic pragmatism a form of oppositional cultural criticism. Race is of utmost importance to West's thinking, but it is clearly not his only focus. Race and racism, discrimination and attacks on the feelings of self-worth and self-confidence, are central in the life experiences of many of his fellow African Americans, but West also calls attention to the fact that it is absolutely necessary to move beyond a narrow vision of race. West presents himself as a kind of race-transcending prophet, aiming at the building of coalitions and leftist alliances, who claims that the indispensable antiracist struggle must be linked to other forms of leftist political resistance, such as class and gender struggles. His version of prophetic pragmatism, as a leftist critique which illustrates that critique is theoretical praxis, cannot be adequately understood without the category of class. In my talk, I wish to discuss the dialectic of race and class as it is depicted in West's writings. What does this dialectic tell us about the various, discursive and nondiscursive, forms of violence in today's U.S.? In my conclusion, I will offer a few tentative suggestions as regards the possibility of developing a radical leftist political and cultural position within an antifoundationalist(read: neopragmatist) theoretical framework.
Emre Uckardesler (Carleton University, Canada)
Oil: Violence of Politics, Violent Abstractions
Perhaps hardly any other commodity than oil could be so forcefully associated with violence and violent politics. Is not simply a part of our ultra-mobile life but it even determines the fates of nations and states for so long. The possibility of oil shortage makes even the most liberal minded middleman worried at best, angry at worst. It could easily turn many of us into supporters of "interventions" or "economic sanctions". Any brief look at anything related with oil simply shows that it is impossible to think, talk and act about oil with a mild temperament. One of the academic constellations of such a fascination has been 'realism' in political science/international relations. Oil draws out "the realist" inside us whether "we" is the leading scholar of international politics or the man on the street. This academic fascination, I argue, is a clear example of what Marx called 'violent abstraction' that is the failure to comprehend the particular form social relations take. In other words, not only 'politics of oil' is violent, but also the social scientific approach to this violence mystifies and violates our understanding of oil. This paper argues that the best way to overcome this violence is possible by conceptualizing 'oil politics' and 'realism'" as commodity fetishisms in which relations between people turn into relations between things. Only such a conceptualization can provide necessary tools to overcome the violence of oil and oil politics, scholarly and politically.
J. Carter Wood (University of Bayreuth)
The Process of Civilization (and its Discontents): Violence, Discourse and History
Historical violence studies are being increasingly influenced by theoretical approaches which focus on the development of ‘cultures of violence’. However, this growing interest in the interconnections between violence and culture faces a number of significant challenges posed by the influence of disciplines other than history as well as by internal difficulties in (and disagreements over) identifying the precise role of discourse in shaping (and changing) cultures of violence. In dealing with these issues, historians are becoming increasingly interested in Norbert Elias’s theory of the ‘civilising process’. This perspective has proven to be very fruitful; nonetheless, there are problematic issues raised by Elias’s approach. In particular, the relationship between 'culture' (and thus 'discourse') and the social forces which, according to Elias, have driven a historical decline in violent behaviour – interdependence, class differentiation and the state monopolisation of legitimate physical force – remains unsettled. In this paper, I aim to contribute to the theoretical discussion of discourses of violence from a historical perspective by outlining my own approach, which I used in a recently completed examination of violence in nineteenth-century England. While marked by a critical engagement with the notion of a ‘civilising process’, my analysis also incorporated conceptual tools from the fields of discourse analysis, social geography and anthropology. The conclusions which emerged in this study – though focused on the past – are nevertheless relevant to current issues in violence and the ways that it is understood. In particular, this paper will focus on those aspects of my approach which are of general application to scholars in other fields.
Jakub Zdebik (Uni: University of Western Ontario/ Freiburg)
Constraint and Structure: the organization of a philosophical system
The violence underneath Gilles Deleuze's philosophical corpus resides in its construction. For example, his view on epistemology is compared to an act of restructuring that has the subtlety of the reshaping of a skeleton of a living organism through the brutal act of breaking its bones in order to make them fit into the shape of a completely different life form.
It is at the level of the organism that Deleuze, through a flexible assessment of the concept and the idea, focuses on Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, a nineteeth century biologist. While Foucault sides his epistemological model on the theories of Cuvier, a contemporary of Saint-Hilaire, Deleuze aligns himself exclusively with the discoveries of Saint-Hilaire's abstraction as a necessary step towards the development of the Idea of the Organism. Saint-Hilaire who believes that through the abstraction of structure a vertebrate could be folded into the shape of a cephalopod. In fact, for Deleuze the opposition is clear between these two personas: Cuvier is the man of Power and Terrain while Saint-Hilaire is the nomadic thinker of speed. The repercussions of this opposition between the two scientists can then be folded back onto Deleuze's own philosophical constructions.
A thematic reading of poststructuralist theory, this paper wants to extrapolate out of this opposition a way of thinking of the violence of epistemological formations through abstraction and the constraint, the bone breaking force that rips out of nature the necessary structures from which thought and philosophy can emerge, a violence that makes us see the world and think about it.
Soenke Zehle (Universität des Saarlandes/TAS)
Interventionist Media in Times of Crisis: Responding to State Failure
On December 3rd, 2003, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) announced that "Ferdinand Nahimana, founder and ideologist of the Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, high ranking board member of the Comité d'initiativeof the RTLM and founding member of the Coalition for the Defence of Republic (CDR), and Hassan Ngeze, chief editor of Kangura newspaper, were convicted today for genocide, incitement to genocide, conspiracy, and crimes against humanity, extermination and persecution." In its 'media trial', the ICTR examined, for the first time since the Nuremberg Trials, the role of 'hate media' in the context of international criminal justice. Here, I want to explore some of its implications for theories of interventionist media: what happens to the idea of a media 'intervention' in the context of media incited and sustained mass violence, when 'intervention' is no longer conceptualized in the subversive terms of an autonomous counter-imperial multitude, over and against corporate mediaspheres and overpowering states, but may have to be rearticulated in the imperial terms of an interventionist 'peace media' in response to violent conflict in weak or failing states? Focusing on the emergence of 'state failure' as permanent feature of the post-colonial era and as conflict-analytical concern, I will will identify possible vectors of inquiry, including the rise of media as a new direction in humanitarian intervention, the increasing attention to media as autonomous actor in conflict-analytical work, and the implications of an imperial humanitarian media interventionism for 'alternative' theories of media.
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