1st Edition

Violence A Reappraisal

Edited By Kevin Duong Copyright 2023

    Can political violence create freedom? What if the cost of violent liberation is too high? How does one even calculate that when the status quo is a condition of sustained violence? From reactionary movements globally to the everyday violence that makes the present moment so cruel, understanding political violence remains a difficult, multidimensional problem.

    This edited volume brings together essays by political theorists, intellectual historians, and other social scientists to reflect on these classic questions anew. The chapters in this volume revisit major political theorists of anticolonial violence like the Vietnamese Ho Chi Minh, the American George Jackson, and the Kurdish Abdullah Öcalan. They also revisit canonical yet misunderstood writers like the French syndicalist Georges Sorel and the American feminist Valerie Solanas. Beyond major figures and intellectuals, the volume also features contributions on pressing contemporary debates like climate change, police violence, and the violence of speech. Together, these essays reveal political violence to be first and foremost an experimental, theoretical activity which has both enabled and frustrated the ambitions of the left.

    This book will be beneficial reading for students and researchers of Political Science, History and Sociology. The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of New Political Science.


    Kevin Duong

    1. Violence and Vietnamese Anticolonialism

    Kevin D. Pham

    2. Revolutionary Self-Defense as a Rival Ethics of Nonviolence: Rojava and Kurdish Liberation

    Pınar Kemerli

    3. George Jackson’s Perfect Disorder

    Nolan Bennett

    4. Violence and Resistance to the State: Georges Sorel’s Reflections on Violence

    Eric Brandom

    5. A World without Men: Valerie Solanas and the Feminist Uses of Violence

    Rose A. Owen

    6. Policing Potential Violence

    Abigail Cary Moore

    7. Climate Change and the New Politics of Violence

    Kellan Anfinson

    8. Silence Is Violence, and So Is Speech

    Matt Shafer


    Kevin Duong is Assistant Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, USA. He teaches political theory and intellectual history and is the author of The Virtues of Violence: Democracy Against Disintegration in Modern France. Much of his research focuses on how the revolutionary agency of "the people" is expressed, but his interests extend beyond democratic theory to fields such as queer theory, political violence, the history of the human sciences, colonialism and empire, and the history of the left.