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Everyday life and conflict in eastern Sri Lanka

This book focuses on the experiences of Tamil-speaking people who have lived through and continue to face conflict and violence in Sri Lanka on a daily basis. It focuses on the years between 2005 and 2007 when the country was facing massive change in the lead up to the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamils Eelam (LTTE). At this time, while violence waxed and waned, intensifying at times and at others casting a dark shadow over daily encounters, people carried on with their lives, negotiating through and around the violence. The way in which the topics in the book flow reflects the author's journey of research and the various issues that became important along the way. Thus, in following the author's experiences through the conflict and the tsunami, the book builds up a larger and richer picture of life in Batticaloa that moves between accounts of everyday violence and suffering. Using ethnographic experiences and narratives collected over twenty-two months between 2004 and 2007, the book argues that to look to the moments of hope and imagination as well as the everyday endurance must constitute a core element of anthropological representations of violence and suffering. This includes highlighting the non-violent spaces or parts of daily life, which are less dramatically framed by violence, and are often lost in contexts of conflict, faded out as weak shadows to the more forceful violence.

Postmodern war in Kosovo and Chechnya

This book draws on several years of field research, as well as hermeneutic global politics and analysis of empirical source material, in order to shed light on contemporary violence. Drawing on interpretive approaches to international relations, the book argues that founding events and multiple contexts informed the stories used by different members of the Kosovan and Chechen movements involved, respectively, in conflicts with the federal authorities in Serbia and Russia. The book examines why elements within the Kosovo Liberation Army and the armed forces of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria employed regional and local strategies of war in the Balkans and the North Caucasus in the late 1990s. Using post-positivist analysis, the book unravels the complex relationship between regional politics and trans-local accounts of identity, social networks and narratives, globalisation and visual aspects of contemporary security. These themes, together with criminality and emotionality, draw attention to the complex dynamics within the armed resistance movements in Kosovo and the North Caucasus, and the road to war in these regions at the end of the twentieth century.

This book sets out to help unlock an intriguing interdisciplinary puzzle relating to violence: ‘what is the relationship between the instrumental uses of violence, including its main forms, and the willingness of states to employ it?’ In providing a counterweight to the notion that political violence has irrevocably changed in a globalised world, Violence and the State provides an original and innovative way to understand political violence across a range of discipline areas.

Lynching and racial killing in South Africa and the American South

This book deals with the inherent violence of race relations in two important countries that remain iconic expressions of white supremacy in the twentieth century. It does not just reconstruct the era of violence, but contrasts the lynch culture of the American South to the bureaucratic culture of violence in South Africa. By contrasting mobs of rope-wielding white Southerners to the gun-toting policemen and administrators who formally defended white supremacy in South Africa, the book employs racial killing as an optic for examining the distinctive logic of the racial state in the two contexts. Combining the historian's eye for detail with the sociologist's search for overarching claims, it explores the systemic connections amongst three substantive areas to explain why contrasting traditions of racial violence took such firm root in the American South and South Africa.

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Christoph Menke in dialogue
Series: Critical Powers
Editor: Christoph Menke

This book focuses on the paradoxical character of law and specifically concerns the structural violence of law as the political imposition of normative order onto a "lawless" condition. The paradox of law which grounds and motivates Christoph Menke's intervention is that law is both the opposite of violence and, at the same time, a form of violence. The book develops its engagement with the paradox of law in two stages. The first shows why, and in what precise sense, the law is irreducibly characterized by structural violence. The second explores the possibility of law becoming self-reflectively aware of its own violence and, hence, of the form of a self-critique of law in view of its own violence. The Book's philosophical claims are developed through analyses of works of drama: two classical tragedies in the first part and two modern dramas in the second part. It attempts to illuminate the paradoxical nature of law by way of a philosophical interpretation of literature. There are at least two normative orders within the European ethical horizon that should be called "legal orders" even though they forego the use of coercion and are thus potentially nonviolent. These are international law and Jewish law. Understanding the relationship between law and violence is one of the most urgent challenges a postmodern critical legal theory faces today. Self-reflection, the philosophical concept that plays a key role in the essay, stands opposed to all forms of spontaneity.

Methodological approaches

Mass violence is one of the defining phenomena of the twentieth century, which some have even called the 'century of genocides'. The study of how the dead body is treated can lead us to an understanding of the impact of mass violence on contemporary societies. Corpses of mass violence and genocide, especially when viewed from a biopolitical perspective, force one to focus on the structures of the relations between all that participates in the enfolding case study. Argentina is an extraordinary laboratory in the domain of struggle against impunity and of 'restoration of the truth'. It constitutes a useful paradigm in the context of reflection on the corpses of mass violence. Its special character, in the immediate aftermath of the military dictatorship, is to test almost the entirety of juridical mechanisms in the handling of state crimes. The trigger for both the intercommunal violence and the civil war was the mass murders by the Ustaša. This book discusses the massacres carried out by the Ustaša in Croatia during the Second World War. After a brief presentation of the historical background, the massacres carried out by the Ustaša militia and their corpse disposal methods are described. Using Rwanda as a case study, the book proposes an agenda for ethnographic research to explore the relationship between concealment and display in contexts of genocide. This relationship is explored in detail after a discussion of the historical background to the 1994 genocide.

questions of the ordinary

4 Between violence and the everyday: questions of the ordinary ‘Suyal nilamai’ (the situation) In the sweltering midday heat of a bright day in March 2007, my friend, Anuloja, and I sat outside a makeshift shelter talking with a family who had recently been displaced from their home. The family had set up their shelter on deserted scrubland, away from the main road, edging onto the barricaded borders of a sprawling government army camp. The area where the family were camped was littered with half-buried coils of razor wire. Scrawny flea-ridden dogs lazed in the

in Enduring violence

96 3 Law without violence Daniel Loick “Law is itself violence” (p. 3) –​this claim is not only an “observation” about forms of law existing hitherto, but a thesis about the very concept of law as such. According to Christoph Menke, there never was and never can be any law without violence. The reason for this dependency of law on violence lies in its need to be enforced; Menke follows Kant’s definition according to which law consists in a reciprocal authority to use coercion. The aim of my essay is to question this basic assumption. While it is certainly true

in Law and violence
Towards a re-thinking of legal justice in transitional justice contexts

79 2 Between law and violence: towards a re-​thinking of legal justice in transitional justice contexts María del Rosario Acosta López In the already extensive literature connecting philosophy and law, there is a long tradition of framing this encounter in terms of what I will provisionally call a “negative critique.” As it is clear in Walter Benjamin’s canonical essay, a philosophical critical perspective seems to be capable of bringing to light the main paradox at the core of the law, namely, that its foundation coincides with its violence. Violence exists

in Law and violence
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3 1 Law and violence Christoph Menke (Translated by Gerrit Jackson) Preface Any attempt to understand the relation between law and violence must begin with two observations that are at odds with each other, if not even contradictory. The first observation is that law is the opposite of violence; legal forms of decision-​making are introduced to disrupt the endless sequence of violence and counterviolence and counter-​ counterviolence, which is to say, to dispel the compulsion to answer violence with new violence. The second observation is that law is itself

in Law and violence