Towards an Analytic of Violence: Foucault, Arendt & Power

  • Jacob Maze
Keywords: Arendt, Foucault, freedom, power, intersubjectivity, violence

Abstract

Violence is an often used but much less theoretically discussed word, even among Foucauldian scholars, with Johanna Oksala being a notable exception. However, she limits her definition of violence to physical forms. In this article, I seek to overcome the quandaries she poses for wide-ranging definitions of violence by incorporating Arendt’s critique of violence into a Foucauldian paradigm. While some work, though not a great deal, has been done on comparing Arendt and Foucault, I highlight some points of commonality that makes Arendtian violence accessible to Foucauldian scholars that mostly rest on the concept of freedom. If power is productive to the extent that it provides the potential to act otherwise, Arendt, in many ways, situates violence as the prevention of this, similar to Foucault’s account of domination. Violence and power are therefore cast in a symbiotic relationship, not limited to physicality, whereby power produces meaning as well as the ability to act and violence is projected as preventive; in such a scenario, the push for freedom can be positioned as a second-order normative claim.

Author Biography

Jacob Maze
Jacob MazePhD StudentDepartment of Political ScienceCharles UniversityCzech RepublicJacob.maze@fsv.cuni.cz Jacob Maze is a PhD student at the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic) and editor of Journal of Nationalism, Memory & Language Politics. His research focuses on the issues of Michel Foucault, Hannah Arendt, political violence, nationalism (particularly in France and Turkey) and identity politics. He completed his masters at the Department of Philosophy, Middle East Technical University (Ankara, Turkey). He is currently involved in the research project Beyond Hegemonic Narratives and Myths: Troubled Pasts in the History and Memory of East-Central & South-East Europe (PRIMUS, Charles University), Nationalist Violence and Identity in France and Turkey (GA UK, Charles University) and Transformation of the Islamist Parties: Findings from Turkey (GA CR, Anglo American University).

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Published
2018-10-22