“La Violence introduces us to French social theory at it best. An ambitious book becomes a major, indeed a fundamental investigation into the most cruel social relationship of our time. It tells the truth.” – Jeffrey C. Alexander, Yale University
Violence is an ever-present phenomenon – obstinately resistant to interpretation. This text offers new tools to understand and analyze violence, presenting a new approach based on the subjectivity of the actor, and on the relation between violence and meaning.
The first section discusses violence and conflict, violence and the state, and violence and the media. This provides critical context for developing a new paradigm – in the second section – that gives more importance to the concept of the subject than more classical paradigms. The text distinguishes different possible relations between the meaning of action and violence and proposes a new typology of the subjects involved in violence. It gives particular emphasis to discussing cruelty, violence for violence sake, and “pure” violence.
The relationship between conflict and violence; the place of victims, and the role of the media all shape new forms of violence. This text is an engaged response to these new forms that presents a convincing interpretation and new tools that will be essential for researchers in the social sciences.