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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We might add to this the understanding of the regulatory techniques of bodily
control as instanced in Taylorism , along with all that Foucault has pointed to ,
such as the extension of management techniques of disciplines over the
None of this occurs without all manner of resistance and rebellion ( which are
themselves the indices of power at work ) , from Luddite to Wobbly techniques of
sabotage , from isolated madness to public acts of political assassination , down
His own tongue - in - cheek claim to the contrary , 16 James ' s technique clearly
enough partakes but little of the sure - handed social scientific method
championed by Zola ; 17 James interrogates his subject with bemusement and
irony rather ...