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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And this overlooked , unconscious illusion is what may be called the ideological
fantasy . ( 33 ) This is an updated variation on Althusser and consigns operations
of ideology to imagined conditions of one ' s real social location . Žižek rejects ...
Ideological fantasies , then , as Feldman insisted , are produced , dynamic ,
historical , and material objects rather than pregiven or ideological arrangements
. Moreover , in the contemporary world fantasies have surely been jarred loose ...
We can say as well that the threats of violent speech , violent language , the
repertoire of “ dirty ” words available to the satirist and the rebel , are something
more powerful than threats to ideological illusions . It is not surprising that