Raids on Human Consciousness: Writing, Anarchism, and Violence
However one looks at violence -- as an instrument of bureaucracy or ideology; as a product of racial, gender, or class antagonisms; or as the inevitable result of power politics -- it is an integral part of every social system and is one of the most pressing problems of our tortured century.
In Raids on Human Consciousness Arthur Redding examines the contention that violence, be it the mass product of revolutionary uprising or a private sadomasochistic indulgence, may be taken to instill in those who commit it the capacity for radical change.
Conscious that mainstream theory considers violence deviant, a departure from the normal equilibrium of social and aesthetic structures, while other critiques take it to be integral to any dynamic system, Redding begins with the anarchist inquiry into the relationship of violence to the imaginary representation of modern communities. He explores the "public images" of anarchism in literature and popular culture and emphasizes the diverse strategies by which modern writers encounter, derive, deflect, and manipulate fantasies of political violence.
Redding recognizes that language fails when confronted with the extreme suffering of human bodies. Acknowledging that flesh is subject to war, torture, and everyday brutality -- violations to which language can never do justice -- he nonetheless finds it urgent to reclaim language on the far side of suffering.
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As in Edgar Allan Poe ' s remarkable story “ The Masque of the Red Death ” (
1842 ) , the violence of the initial exclusionary act — the consolidation of a
community against an other - itself constitutes the source of the plague . When
Paradoxically enough , even a television advertisement that mobilizes the envy
and one - upmanship dormant in the presumably oafish louts that constitute its
target audience — an audience selected with a discriminating eye increasingly ...
In these passages we can isolate an effort to gain control over the humiliation that
constitutes the only sense of “ self ... Ellen G . Friedman ( 1993 ) has noted that
Acker ' s incessant plagiarism involves a subversive effort “ to constitute the self ...