No Victims Without Sacrifice, No Sacrifice Without Victims: The 'Oklahoma City Bombing' and the Conceptualization of Violence
14 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2019
Date Written: March 29, 2019
This paper proposes a conceptualization of political violence that builds around the tripartite relationship between violence, victims, and sacrifice, making violence a self-justifying sacrificial act. The conceptualization delineates the nature of violence by addressing its transformation from an instrumental act to a constitutional one. This relationship makes violence possible, ongoing, contagious, and productive. To illustrate the epistemological value of this conceptualization that takes into account the relationship between violence, victims and sacrifice, the paper re-examines Timothy McVeigh’s justification for his Oklahoma City bombing. The example also illuminates the correlative threats of far-right terrorism and contemporary terrorism. The article concludes that the proposed conceptualization of violence is not only engrained in terrorism’s atrocities but also in the response to acts of political violence by turning, for example, to torture.
Keywords: violence, victim, sacrifice
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