Horrorism: Naming Contemporary Violence. William McCuaig. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN: How to name the constellation of violence, power and resistance that character- izes the contemporary political scene? Are the traditional political categories sufficient for a representation of our contemporaneity?

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Start your review of Horrorism: Naming Contemporary Violence Write a review Shelves: theory "Today it is particularly senseless that the meaning of war and its horror--as well, obviously, as its terror--should still be entrusted to the perspective of the warrior The civilian victims, of whom the numbers of dead have soared from the Second World War on, do not share the desire to kill, much less the desire to get killed" Closed in on itself, suicidal horrorism thus takes pride in the unappealability of its work in the service of an instantaneous and irresponsible violence.

In this sense, it is no surprise that books on female suicide bombings written by women who are disposed to understand them, if not justify and sympathize with them, have a tendency to minimize the ethical responsibility of the bombers" I think other people are likely to to get a lot more out of this book than I did.

The victim, we should presume, does not care about whether or not he or she is being mutilated, tortured, or killed by a state actor, a criminal, or suicide bomber. What matters is the pain and death, especially when the victim, caught unawares, has been unable to defend him or herself from the violence. This latter point, too, is key to Cavarero, as she observes that what distinguishes modern warfare from Homeric violence her paradigm is the particular suffering of the defenseless.

Not the battlefield, but the bombed out city, or marketplace, or supermarket, or the theater filled with corpses and poison gas, is the picture of modern mass violence. Would it be all the same to her if she were manufacturing, say, toilet plungers? I suspect so. Cavarero demands that warriors and terrorists alike try to understand the violence they commit from the perspective of the victim.

Alternately, in my own work, I may demand that we try to understand nonhuman death from the perspective of the nonhuman. What does the cow care whether its meat is properly cooked? What does the sheep care whether its skin will be used for Chaucer or, god help it, Lydgate? Cavarero could ask such questions, but she is relentlessly and unthinkingly anthropocentric, a stance that is becoming increasingly unforgivable for any critical theorist given the growing body of critical animal theory.

However, when she writes, "Horror has to do precisely with the killing of uniqueness I suffer an even pettier annoyance when she writes: "Any review of the refined arts of war developed over the course of the century would have to dedicate a separate chapter to the aerial bombardments inaugurated by German forces over Guernica and Coventry" And perhaps pettiest of all: her moments of sloppiness, e.

Although called infidel or miscreant, the absolute enemy loses all quality and assumes the role of anyone at all, with respect to whom the eventual faith of every singular victim--who sometimes, and certainly in modern Iraq, believes in the same god as his murderers--is just an accident" Just like Catholics and Protestants, who have gotten along, as we know, famously well.


Adriana Cavarero

Biography[ edit ] Cavarero was educated at the University of Padua, where she wrote a thesis on philosophy and poetry, in , and spent the first years of her Academic career. In she left Padua for the University of Verona, where she was co-founder of Diotima — a group dedicated to feminist philosophy as political engagement. Trained in ancient philosophy — with a special focus on the writings of Plato — and inspired by feminist philosopher, Luce Irigaray , Cavarero first drew wide attention with her book, In Spite of Plato, which pursues two interwoven themes: it engages in a deconstruction of ancient philosophical texts, primarily of Plato , but also of Homer and Parmenides , in order to free four Greek female figures a Thracian servant, Penelope, Demeter and Diotima from the patriarchal discourse which for centuries had imprisoned them in a domestic role. Secondly, it attempts to construct a symbolic female order, reinterpreting these figures from a new perspective. By contaminating the theory of sexual difference with Arendtian issues, Cavarero shows that, while death is the central category on which the whole edifice of traditional philosophy has been based, the category of birth provides the thread with which new concepts of feminist criticism can be woven together to establish a fresh way of thinking. The book explores: the remarkable paradox whereby politics expels the body from its foundational categories while for thousands of years the political order has been figured precisely through the metaphor of the body. Appreciated and discussed by Judith Butler in Giving an Account of Oneself, this book, by contrasting the sovereign subject of the metaphysical tradition, confronts with the urge of rethinking politics and ethics in terms of a relational ontology, characterized by reciprocal exposure, dependence and vulnerability of an incarnated self who postulates the other as necessary.


Horrorism: Naming Contemporary Violence


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