Type
Periodical issue
Title
From structural violence to militant activism around the Persian Gulf
In
The Muslim Word
Author(s)
BONNEFOY Laurent - (Publishing director)
BURGAT François - Institut de Recherches et d'Etudes sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman (Publishing director)
MÉNORET Pascal - Department of Anthropology (Brandeis University, Massachusetts) (Publishing director)
Editor
GB : Blackwell Publishing
Volume
101
Number
2
Pages
243 p.
ISSN
00274909
Abstract
EN
This special issue of The Muslim World explores the idea that violence is not sui generis and that visible and exceptional violence, from militant activism to war crimes and terrorist attacks, can only be understood in the context of structural and everyday violence. In the words of Nancy Sheper-Hughes, “mass violence is part of a continuum”, and “the preparation for mass killing is found in social sentiments and in institutions ranging from the family to schools, churches, hospitals, and the military” (Sheper-Hughes 2004: 225). The contributions to this volume make a similar point on a region—the Persian Gulf—that is both a target and a source of violence. They show that violent activism is the response to more structural forms of violence, and that exceptional terror — terrorist attack, political murder and bombing — is often an answer to hidden and hideous mechanisms of state terror as usual. Following the powerful inspiration of Bourdieu’s and Bourgois’ works on structural violence (Bourdieu 1997; Bourgois 1995), the contributors show that terrorism and violent activism, which are presented (by states, the media and state and media experts) as a primary phenomenon, are in reality secondary and better understood as counter-violence. Yet the various case studies do not white-wash these social actors who resort to violent action. The contributors rather substantiate the fact that there is no immaculate conception of violence (Leca 1994).

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