Critical thinkers like Foucault, Benjamin, Derrida and Žižek have long challenged the liberal separation of violence and politics by highlighting the implicit violence within political and economic structures. But in an era of international terrorism and counter-terrorism, should we not also reverse the question to ask ‘what is political about violence?’ Using interviews with ex-militants from Italian leftist struggle of the 1970s and the Cypriot anti-colonial militancy of the 1950s, Heath-Kelly explores the political utility of violence. Studies of conflict and international politics rarely address how killing and injuring function to win wars or overturn regimes. But by rejecting conceptions of violence as a means-to-an-end found in the works of Clausewitz and Arendt, this book draws upon studies of pain to explore the ways in which armed struggle produces new political subjects and regimes, and discredits others, through experiences of violence. Using Elaine Scarry’s conception of pain as ‘world-destroying’ and Walter Benjamin’s delineation of violence as either lawmaking or law-preserving to frame ex-militant discussions of participation in armed struggle, the book contributes a pathbreaking empirical exploration of violence to international politics literatures - moving the study of political violence away from an understanding of violence as just a means-to-an-end.
Drawing out insights that have a far wider resonance and significance for the analysis of the ‘politicality’ of political violence, this work will be of interest to students and scholars in areas such as international relations, security studies and international relations theory.
Introduction Chapter 1. Killing in the Name - Inflicting Political Injuries Chapter 2. Revolutions do not happen: Contemporary Politics and Resistance in Ex-militant Memories Chapter 3. Rupture, ‘the Event’ and Linearity in Testimony: To the Victor go the Spoils Chapter 4. Subjects of Victory and Defeat Chapter 5. Revolutions do not happen: Global Politics and Legibility Conclusion. The paradox of the political
The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.
We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.
We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:
‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’
Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA