Violence as Anti-Politics: A Political Philosophy Perspective
International Political Science Association, 21st World Congress of Political Science, Santiago, Chile, July 12-16, 2009
14 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2014
Date Written: April 7, 2014
Half a century ago, the philosopher Hannah Arendt distinguishes power from violence. Using her idea as an entry point, this paper will argue that the notion of "political violence" is a contradiction in terms because violence "kills" politics. The paper begins with a discussion of prevalent use of the term "political violence" in political science. Then it raises the question what does violence do to politics with some critique of Slovoj Zizek's current understanding of the notion of violence. It then concludes with a re-reading of Thucydides' Melian Dialogue, generally considered the pillar of realist politics, as an attempt to elucidate how violence could "kill" politics.
Keywords: politics, power, violence, anti-politics
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