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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Here violence is understood as the ballast of ideologies ; as in the semisecret
cargo of a slave trader ' s ship , there is blood in the hold of every way of seeing ,
even , perhaps especially , in those ways that found themselves , as Emerson ...
... body of slaves and captives and barbarians had to pay the price of democracy
with their bodies and lives . Moreover , Girard , like all conservatives , is haunted
by the irrational fear of what he analyzes . Presumably , there will be an ...
poised ironically upon an unthinkable inversion of the dominance of master over
slave . So everyday a ceremony as shaving is a theatrical and satiric ritual
suspended over the workaday historical violence of the ship and the service to
which it ...