Event Details

The Category of Violence

23 - 24 June 2011

CISRUL workshop co-hosted with Inter-Disciplinary Approaches to Violence research group

Click HERE for the final programme. Please be sure to register for the workshop, following the instructions at the end of the programme. The workshop will be held in Committee Room 2 in the University Offices.

We are used to thinking of 'violence' as violence and, indeed, as something more real than almost anything else. As something that defies categorization; that just is. In thisworkshop we propose to suspend our belief that there is such a thing called violence, and instead focus on how we and others use 'violence' as a category of action, whether in designing government policy, passing judgement in court, producing films, writing newspaper articles or political theory, diagnosing patients, or simply chatting about other people. Our intention is not to define violence or even to offer alternative definitions, but instead to think how violence gets defined and with what consequences. How, why and with what consequences do people deploy the category of violence? How do they distinguish between 'violent' and 'non-violent', and to what effect? For example, how is the line drawn between 'violent' and 'peaceful' protest and between 'tough' and 'brutal' policing of protests, and what rides on those distinctions? More broadly, what are the effects of scholars marking off as 'violent' whole areas of human life, as in the pathology of 'violent' tendencies, or of labeling whole regions of world as 'violent'? Or of art taking 'violence' self-consciously as its object, as in Clockwork Orange? Law generally avoids the term 'violence' in favour of more 'neutral' terms such as coercion - but with what results? With what consequences does violence get linked to categories such as religion and sex, often considered 'sources of violence'? And what are the effects of disputing the boundaries of violence, for example when we label as 'symbolic violence' actions that are not normally described as 'violent'?

Speakers include Brigitte Beauzamy, Christopher Finlay, Vivenne Jabri, Audra Mitchell, Andrea Mura, Fiona Sampson, Birgit Schippers, Trevor Stack, Andrea Teti, Darcy Thompson and Marysia Zalewski.


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