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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More to the point , it strikes me , is V . N . Vološinov ' s insistence in Marxism and
the Philosophy of Language ( 1929 ) on material dialogism ( for Vološinov ,
situated within class structure ) , which makes of language and thoughts
The fantastic element of public violence hinges upon its gutwrenching
sloganeering , most notably in the blunt , unsophisticated media language of the
Daily News . ? Slogans are actualized , as LeCercle has argued , by the violent
formed , the language remains language , and , if it harbors a transformative
kernel of hope , we are still left with the question of efficacy and of how traducing
and fascistic this language remains . We are amid what Lyotard has termed the ...