Another kind of Gewalt: Beyond Law Re-Reading Walter Benjamin

Another kind of Gewalt: Beyond Law Re-Reading Walter Benjamin Historical Materialism 17 (2009) 126–144 brill.nl/hima © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2009 DOI: 10.1163/156920609X399236 Another kind of Gewalt : Beyond Law Re-Reading Walter Benjamin Massimiliano Tomba University of Padua massimiliano.tomba@unipd.it Abstract Th is article is the fi rst in a series of discussions of the essay ‘Violence’ by Balibar from the Historical-Critical Dictionary of Marxism , published in this issue of Historical Materialism . Th e article revisits Walter Benjamin’s refl ection on the concept of violence, attempting to rethink its semantics in the tension between right and justice. After examining the continuum of juridical violence in relation to the logic of the modern state, it attempts to delineate the possibility of another type of violence: a violence that is not a means in order to attain an end, but which fi nds in itself the criterion of its own justice. Research into this kind of violence has been a particularly urgent and complex problem in modern politics which, together with the foreclosure of justice, has rendered unthinkable qualitatively diff erent types of Gewalt , types that lie beyond the sterile opposition between violence and non-violence. Rethinking the question of justice means that, in a confl ict, however http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Historical Materialism Brill

Another kind of Gewalt: Beyond Law Re-Reading Walter Benjamin

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Publisher
BRILL
Copyright
© 2009 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1465-4466
eISSN
1569-206X
D.O.I.
10.1163/156920609X399236
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Historical Materialism 17 (2009) 126–144 brill.nl/hima © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2009 DOI: 10.1163/156920609X399236 Another kind of Gewalt : Beyond Law Re-Reading Walter Benjamin Massimiliano Tomba University of Padua massimiliano.tomba@unipd.it Abstract Th is article is the fi rst in a series of discussions of the essay ‘Violence’ by Balibar from the Historical-Critical Dictionary of Marxism , published in this issue of Historical Materialism . Th e article revisits Walter Benjamin’s refl ection on the concept of violence, attempting to rethink its semantics in the tension between right and justice. After examining the continuum of juridical violence in relation to the logic of the modern state, it attempts to delineate the possibility of another type of violence: a violence that is not a means in order to attain an end, but which fi nds in itself the criterion of its own justice. Research into this kind of violence has been a particularly urgent and complex problem in modern politics which, together with the foreclosure of justice, has rendered unthinkable qualitatively diff erent types of Gewalt , types that lie beyond the sterile opposition between violence and non-violence. Rethinking the question of justice means that, in a confl ict, however

Journal

Historical MaterialismBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2009

Keywords: STATE OF EXCEPTION; LAW; VIOLENCE; RIGHT; JUSTICE

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