Examining the mimetic theory of René Girard, this book investigates the development of society as a result of an original crime (a murder) that shaped the way the earliest humans organized the social structures we live with today - an analysis that reveals the dangerous structure of the most basic social relationships. With attention to family relationships, A Genealogy of Social Violence sheds light on the processes by which the traditional nuclear family, through the mimetic behaviour of children, embeds violence into human desires and hence society as whole. Challenging the thought of Girard and of Rawls in order to offer a new understanding of justice, this book suggests that in order to achieve a more peaceful society, what is required is not the self-defeating narrative of equality, developed in order to manage the violence engendered by our social institutions, but a reconceptualisation of the nuclear family structure. A striking critique of modern society, which draws on religion, mythology, literature, history, philosophy and political theory, A Genealogy of Social Violence will be of interest to social and political theorists, as well as philosophers working in the area of contemporary social and European thought.
Clint Jones is Instructor of Philosophy at Eastern Kentucky University, USA.
’In this ambitious and fascinating study Jones guides the reader through the theories of social violence in the work of Hegel, Nietzsche, Freud and Girard, producing a compelling critique of Rawls' contractual notion of justice. Weaving together the theoretical speculations of Girard and Marcuse with concrete social applications, Jones' work argues for nothing less than a fundamental transformation of family relations and a re-vitalisation of utopian thought.’ William Pawlett, University of Wolverhampton, UK