Identity & Violence

Identity and Violence
by Amartya Sen

Sen argues in his new book that conflict and violence are sustained today, no less than the past, by the illusion of a unique identity. Indeed, the world is increasingly taken to be divided between religions (or ‘cultures’ or ‘civilizations’), ignoring the relevance of other ways in which people see themselves through class, gender, profession, language, literature, science, music, morals or politics, and denying the real possibilities of reasoned choices. In Identity and Violencehe overturns such stereotypes as the ‘the monolithic Middle East’ or ‘the Western Mind’. Through his penetrating investigation of such subjects as multiculturalism, fundamentalism, terrorism and globalization, he brings out the need for a clear-headed understanding of human freedom and a constructive public voice in Global civil society. The world, Sen shows, can be made to move towards peace as firmly as it has recently spiralled towards war.

Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny (Issues of Our Time)
by Amartya Sen

“One of the few world intellectuals on whom we may rely to make sense out of our existential confusion.”—Nadine Gordimer

In this sweeping philosophical work, Amartya Sen proposes that the murderous violence that has riven our society is driven as much by confusion as by inescapable hatred. Challenging the reductionist division of people by race, religion, and class, Sen presents an inspiring vision of a world that can be made to move toward peace as firmly as it has spiraled in recent years toward brutality and war.


Identity and Violence
by Amartya Sen

The world may be more riven by murderous violence than ever before, yet Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen argues in this sweeping philosophical work that its brutalities are driven as much by confusion as by inescapable hatred.

Sen argues in his new book that conflict and violence are sustained today, no less than the past, by the illusion of a unique identity. Indeed, the world is increasingly taken to be divided between religions (or ‘cultures’ or ‘civilizations’), ignoring the relevance of other ways in which people see themselves through class, gender, profession, language, literature, science, music, morals or politics, and denying the real possibilities of reasoned choices. In Identity and Violence he overturns such stereotypes as the ‘the monolithic Middle East’ or ‘the Western Mind’. Through his penetrating investigation of such subjects as multiculturalism, fundamentalism, terrorism and globalization, he brings out the need for a clear-headed understanding of human freedom and a constructive public voice in Global civil society. The world, Sen shows, can be made to move towards peace as firmly as it has recently spiralled towards war.


Identity, Violence and Power
by Guy Elcheroth, Stephen Reicher

This book provides a systematic examination of the re-patterning of collective identities through violence and the role of power politics in such critical transitions. The authors show how identity is created through shared social practices and how it is transformed when collective violence disrupts common practices. Three case studies show how this model sheds new light on the dynamics of religious violence in parts of India, on ethnic violence in the former Yugoslavia, as well as on anti-war protest in the UK in reaction to the military invasion of Iraq.

The book explores an alternative way of looking at conflict, and dissects the policies and processes that bring specific identities to the fore, taking seriously the capacity to resist and face abusive authority.

Identity, Violence and Power will be of interest to students and scholars of sociology, social psychology, history, political science and conflict studies.


Violence, Identity, and Self-determination
by Hent de Vries

With the collapse of the bipolar system of global rivalry that dominated world politics after the Second World War, and in an age that is seeing the return of "ethnic cleansing" and "identity politics, " the question of violence, in all of its multiple ramifications, imposes itself with renewed urgency. Rather than concentrating on the socioeconomic or political backgrounds of these historical changes, the contributors to this volume rethink the concept of violence, both in itself and in relation to the formation and transformation of identities, whether individual or collective, political or cultural, religious or secular. In particular, they subject the notion of self-determination to stringent scrutiny: is it to be understood as a value that excludes violence, in principle if not always in practice? Or is its relation to violence more complex and, perhaps, more sinister? The eighteen contributors address the concept of violence from a variety of perspectives in relation to different forms of cultural representation, and not in Western culture alone, in literature and the arts, as well as in society and politics; in philosophical discourse, psychoanalytic theory, and so-called juridical ideology, as well as in colonial and post-colonial practices and power relations.

The State, Identity and Violence
by R. Brian Ferguson

In this book, a collection of experts investigate the varied forces – from global systems to local beliefs – that lead to civil violence, chaos and, perhaps, a new political order.
The State, Identity and Violence explores acts of mass violence occurring within national borders and examines the links such acts have to personal identities and how they challenge the character or very existence of the state. Building upon the anthropological premises of holism and cross-cultural comparison, this volume shows how violent challenges to existing states should be conceptualized as layered problems, with multiple kinds of causes. It not only goes beyond the “ancient hatreds” explanation, but shows the inadequacy of the concept of “ethnic violence” and of theories which treat interests and identities as separate, sometimes opposed variables

National Deconstruction
by David Campbell

How did Bosnia, once a polity of intersecting and overlapping identities, come to be understood as an intractable ethnic problem? David Campbell pursues this question — and its implications for the politics of community, democracy, justice, and multiculturalism — through readings of media and academic representations of the conflict in Bosnia. National Deconstruction is a rethinking of the meaning of “ethnic/nationalist” violence and a critique of the impoverished discourse of identity politics that crippled the international response to the Bosnian crisis.

Rather than assuming the preexistence of an entity called Bosnia, Campbell considers the complex array of historical, statistical, cartographic, and other practices through which the definitions of Bosnia have come to be. These practices traverse a continuum of political spaces, from the bodies of individuals and the corporate body of the former Yugoslavia to the international bodies of the world community.

Among the book’s many original disclosures, arrived at through a critical reading of international diplomacy, is the shared identity politics of the peacemakers and paramilitaries. Equally significant is Campbell’s conclusion that the international response to the Bosnian war was hamstrung by the poverty of Western thought on the politics of heterogeneous communities. Indeed, he contends that Europe and the United States intervened in Bosnia not to save the ideal of multiculturalism abroad but rather to shore up the nationalist imaginary so as to contain the ideal of multiculturalism at home.

By bringing to the fore the concern with ethics, politics, and responsibility contained in more traditional accounts of the Bosnianwar, this book is a major statement on the inherently ethical and political assumptions of deconstructive thought — and the reworkings of the politics of community it enables.


Football, Violence and Social Identity
by Richard Guilianotti

Drawing on research from Britain, Europe, Argentina and the USA this volume examines the culture and loyalties of soccer players and crowds and their relationships to social order, disorder and violence. This informative and accessible book will be of interest to students of Sport Science and to all of those who love the game of soccer.

Violence as a Generative Force
by Max Bergholz

During two terrifying days and nights in early September 1941, the lives of nearly two thousand men, women, and children were taken savagely by their neighbors in Kulen Vakuf, a small rural community straddling today’s border between northwest Bosnia and Croatia. This frenzy—in which victims were butchered with farm tools, drowned in rivers, and thrown into deep vertical caves—was the culmination of a chain of local massacres that began earlier in the summer. In Violence as a Generative Force, Max Bergholz tells the story of the sudden and perplexing descent of this once peaceful multiethnic community into extreme violence. This deeply researched microhistory provides provocative insights to questions of global significance: What causes intercommunal violence? How does such violence between neighbors affect their identities and relations?

Contrary to a widely held view that sees nationalism leading to violence, Bergholz reveals how the upheavals wrought by local killing actually created dramatically new perceptions of ethnicity—of oneself, supposed “brothers,” and those perceived as “others.” As a consequence, the violence forged new communities, new forms and configurations of power, and new practices of nationalism. The history of this community was marked by an unexpected explosion of locally executed violence by the few, which functioned as a generative force in transforming the identities, relations, and lives of the many. The story of this largely unknown Balkan community in 1941 provides a powerful means through which to rethink fundamental assumptions about the interrelationships among ethnicity, nationalism, and violence, both during World War II and more broadly throughout the world.


Fighting for Recognition
by R. Tyson Smith

In Fighting for Recognition, R. Tyson Smith enters the world of independent professional wrestling, a community-based entertainment staged in community centers, high school gyms, and other modest venues. Like the big-name, televised pro wrestlers who originally inspired them, indie wrestlers engage in choreographed fights in character. Smith details the experiences, meanings, and motivations of the young men who wrestle as “Lethal” or “Southern Bad Boy,” despite receiving little to no pay and risking the possibility of serious and sometimes permanent injury. Exploring intertwined issues of gender, class, violence, and the body, he sheds new light on the changing sources of identity in a postindustrial society that increasingly features low wages, insecure employment, and fragmented social support. Smith uncovers the tensions between strength and vulnerability, pain and solidarity, and homophobia and homoeroticism that play out both backstage and in the ring as the wrestlers seek recognition from fellow performers and devoted fans.


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