262.2 "Power and violence are opposites": Reflections on a self-delusion of political thought in light of slavery

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 11:05 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
David STRECKER , Sociology, University of Jena, Germany
Hannah Arendt’s famous juxtaposition of power and violence appears radical, but a closer look reveals it to represent only an extreme expression of an idea widely shared in political thought: While violence is usually understood as a means to power, its exercise is commonly held to be an alternative that is only in place where the power relation as such is deficient. Analyzing the experience as well as the system of slavery I argue that the common view neglects that violence can be constitutive to certain forms of power. After having discussed this constitutive dimension of the relation between power and violence, I conclude by highlighting the relevance of such an analysis for our understanding of contemporary society.