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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Writing, Anarchism, and Violence Arthur F. Redding. class configurations , or
under the micropolitics of power — forms an integral , vitiating ground of any
dynamic system whose purported equilibrium is merely a pretense . Under this
rubric I ...
For that same demolition , as poststructural theorists have agreed , involves the
perpetual and insistent disintegration of the coherent speaking subject and
shatters “ secure ” identity , any pretense to which , today , is merely reactionary ...
... of metaphor , as mere playing with language , must give way to metamorphosis
, where language reaches out to the world and becomes action . A slogan does
not merely celebrate a historical event , it is a historical event itself ” ( 211 – 12 ) .