Progressive Violence: Theorizing the War on Terror, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Progressive Violence

Theorizing the War on Terror, 1st Edition

By Michael Blain, Angeline Kearns-Blain


162 pages | 10 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780367821173
pub: 2019-10-17
Hardback: 9781138497726
pub: 2018-06-14
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781351018104
pub: 2018-06-12
from $27.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


This book examines the role of collective violence in the achievement of solidarity, shedding light on the difficulty faced by sociology in theorizing violence and warfare as a result of the discipline’s tendency to idealize society in an attempt to legitimize the idea of progressive social change. Using the global War on Terror as a focal point, the authors develop this argument through the related issues of power, knowledge, and ethics, explaining the War on Terror in terms of the Anglo-American tradition of imperial power and domination. Exploring the victimage rituals through which society is brought together in the ritual domination and destruction of a constructed "villain," Progressive Violence: Theorizing the War on Terror also considers the price of the liberal moral values in terms of which the global war on terror is frequently justified, and the volume of "progressive violence" involved in advancing the cause of freedom. The authors use this case to theorize the general role of vicarious victimage ritual in the social genesis of political violence and sadism, and its calculated use by politicians to achieve their imperial aims. As such, it will appeal to scholars of sociology and social theory with interests in terrorism, violence, and geopolitics.

Table of Contents


1. Introduction

2. Imperial Background and the US Power Elite

3. Political Victimage Ritual, Evil, and the Problem of Sadism

4. Biopolitics of Terrorism

5. Ethics of Truth



About the Authors

Michael Blain is Professor of Sociology at Boise State University, USA. He is the author of The Sociology Terrorism and Power, Discourse and Victimage Ritual in the War on Terror.

Angeline Kearns-Blain was previously Adjunct Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies at Boise State University, USA. She is the author of Stealing Sunlight: Growing up in Irishtown and I used to be Irish: Leaving Ireland, Becoming American.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Social and Political Thought

This series explores core issues in political philosophy and social theory. Addressing theoretical subjects of both historical and contemporary relevance, the series has broad appeal across the social sciences. Contributions include new studies of major thinkers, key debates and critical concepts.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General