Aspects of Violence: A Critical Theory by W. Schinkel

By W. Schinkel

This publication presents a unique method of the social medical examine of violence. It argues for an 'extended' definition of violence with the intention to keep away from subscribing to commonsensical or nation propagated definitions of violence, and will pay particular awareness to 'autotelic violence' (violence for the sake of itself), in addition to to terrorism.

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Other factors therefore have to be at stake in the embrace or rejection of an extended concept of violence. A second factor is that of a certain economy of thought. The extended concept is harder to operationalize, and is therefore often rejected in research. Especially when research is funded by government, there is no room for reflection beyond the narrow commonsensical notion of violence government institutions usually entertain. A third factor of relevance here is the political views of the social scientist.

The res publica, on the other hand, is but a faint conception of the state, literally meaning the 'public cause', and perhaps best translated as 'society'. Modern states, on the other hand, are defined with the help of the opposition state/society. The definition of violence and the autonomization of the state It is relevant here to briefly discuss the development of a semantics of the state that separates it from 'society' in direct opposition, reserving legitimate violence (potestas) for the state and illegitimate violence (vis, violentia) for society.

An example of the somewhat counter-intuitive form of positive violence, is the rewards given to consumers in a consumer's society, which 'is rewardoriented, based on promises of euphoria, but [... ] also narrows down the ranges of action' (Galtung, 1968: 170). According to Galtung, such violence is more manipulatory and less overt than negative forms of violent influence are. 38 Aspects of Violence (3) An object hurt vs no object hurt. Galtung states that there are cases where no object of violence exists, such as when a group of people throw stones around, or when nuclear arms are tested.

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