Sartre's views on violence have been subject to considerable scholarly discussion over the last decade. At the same time, there has been renewed interest in the issue of structural violence. This paper is an attempt to engage with the two debates. I argue that by highlighting structural violence it is possible to reframe our understanding of how Sartre viewed violence and to demonstrate that Sartre's work remains a useful compass with which to orientate ourselves in a world saturated in violence. I contend that Sartre maintained a broadly consistent line on violence that held in tension the world we live in and the possibility of humanity in the world that we may create. In addition to this temporal dimension, Sartre's thinking on violence oscillated between social scales: between the individual and the collective. Awareness of this methodological double-movement helps clarify and contextualise Sartre's views, and facilitates fruitful re-readings of current scholarship on violence.
This article considers Sartre's perspective on political violence with reference to his 1948 play Dirty Hands. Focusing on the concrete political questions that confronted Sartre in his context, it traces the development and result of conversations with Merleau-Ponty, Camus and the Marxist tradition that shaped his thinking on this subject. At the end of this dialectical process, Sartre arrived at a position that refused both bourgeois humanism, with its disavowal of political violence, and what is here termed Official Communism – the prevailing Manichean politics of his day and the institutionalized repression that went along with it. In other words, he affirmed the violence of the political without by that token affirming the politics of violence. It is argued here that these conversations and this conclusion are dramatically illustrated in Dirty Hands.
While public discussions about media and violence tend to be defined by the negative psychological effects attributed to exposure to mediated depictions of violence, this article argues that the mediated violence in Valeska Grisebach's 2006 film, Longing, (Sehnsucht) instead seeks to heighten viewers' sensitivity towards violent acts in moving images. Grisebach rejects the so-called MTV aesthetic and instead employs formal and narrative devices that may be read in political terms. To illuminate the connection between film aesthetics, violence, and mass (dis)engagement with politics, this article draws upon the argument rehearsed in Walter Benjamin's oft-cited essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility” (1936). Given that we are witnessing changes in the ways that we experience and re-present our reality now that are arguably as significant as the birth of the moving image itself, it is pertinent to look to early twentieth-century cultural theory in order to gain a better understanding of the significance of these transformations in a historical context. By reading the violent incidents in Longing through a Benjaminian lens, this article suggests that the film is a political act by Grisebach, as well as a key political work in the field of contemporary German-language cinema.
Stuart Marshall Bender
A clear definition of realism is understandably difficult for critics and theorists to agree upon when applied to texts such as the war film or combat shooter, which can have a very direct connection to events that have actually taken place. This article uses textual observation and analysis to advance the concept of “reported realism” as an alternate analytical tool to account for the impression of truth and authenticity produced by specific stylistic components of these representations of combat violence. Drawing on cognitivist theories of meaning and the imagination (Torben Grodal, Stephen Prince) and neoformalist film studies (Kristin Thompson) this article points toward some of the significant developments in the evolution of violence in war films as well as the adjacent genre of the first-person shooter video game. The article shows that the intensified audio-visual detail in contemporary screen representations of war enable film viewers and game players to construct more vividly imagined mental simulations, thus offering a greater affective realism.
There is no question that violent entertainments shape popular attitudes toward violence. But do they really make the culture as a whole more violent? Can they work to make it less violent? This article considers shortcomings of conventional scholarly approaches to these questions. It outlines an alternative “ecological“ approach and tests it by examining two movies that treat violence in strikingly different fashions: The Dark Knight (2008) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). It tests empirically whether and how Saving Private Ryan actually changes college students' attitudes toward violence, and summarizes the best current psychological models of the causal connection between violent thoughts and violent behavior. The article concludes that while violent movies do indeed prompt violent ideas and impulses, these are not necessarily antisocial and can, in fact, be prosocial. The critical factor is not what they show or how they show it; it is how they are used.
Everyday Ethnic Identity in Bosnia and Herzegovina
. This came as a surprise to me during my fieldwork, and it also stands in opposition to structurally inspired anthropological analyses of war and violence. Such analyses have primarily focused on the inherent potential of violence and war to create
Is Liberation without Freedom Possible?
ambiguous and almost apparently contradictory thoughts (in particular concerning the theme of violence), but also because Sartre himself would have invited us to proceed beyond his proposal, which, moreover, was made before he could deliver his final legacy
Michael J. Monahan
In his Critique of Dialectical Reason, Sartre argues that it is the milieu of scarcity that generates human conflict. His account of scarcity is rather ambiguous however, and at points he seems to claim that conflict is inevitable given the context of scarcity. In this article I provide a brief account of Sartre's position, and offer a critical evaluation of that position. Finally, I argue that Sartre's claims regarding the necessity of conflict are excessive, and that the resources provided in the Critique offer a means to re-evaluate our relationship to scarcity.
How are we to assess changing levels of violence in the modern world? The answer put forward by Canadian-born Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker is unambiguous: “Violence has been in decline over long stretches of history, and today we are probably
Writing about Islamic terrorism from a Sartrean perspective, Maria Russo rightly argues that there is the all-too-common danger of falling into stereotypical thinking. Yet, as Slavoj Žižek remarks, terroristic violence, and by implication any