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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In the past few hundred years , or at least since the American and French
Revolutions , there has been a great deal of discussion of the obvious
importance of violence to the maintenance of social order . By the nineteenth
century most major ...
... where the elaboration of hegemony , as in Antonio Gramsci ( 1971 ) , or the
media ' s “ manufacture of consent , ” as in Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky (
1988 ) , is theorized as the predominant means of social control and regulation .
To sustain the abstract model of epidemia it is important that the agent or germ ,
the source of the disease , exists at least imaginarily as a “ foreign " element ,
rather than as something spontaneously generated by social configurations .