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De-struction: Of Violence and (Paradigmatic) War-zones


Speaker:Steffen G. Böhm, University of Warwick
Date: Friday 1 March 2002
Time: 15:00
Location: Streatam Court Room 222/3

Further details

The world today: destruction, explosion, collapse, catastrophe. How does one see and respond to such moments of danger? By de-structing! Following Walter Benjamin's speculative method, this paper will be an attempt to de-struct the violence of destruction as war-zone. Through a close reading of three essays (Walter Benjamin's 'Critique of Violence'; Sigmund Freud's 'Timely Thoughts on War and Death'; and Samuel Weber's [de-structive] commentary on both of these essays entitled 'Wartime') the juridical, mystical and psychoanalytic nature of violence and war will be discussed. This theoretical de-struction will find its 'empirical' comrades (in combat) in the 'paradigm warriors' of Organization Studies, who, in response to Burrell and Morgan's Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis, have been in a 'state of emergency' for over a decade now. The reading of this debate will show that popularly consumed notions of violence are based on moralist and humanist conceptions of violence that aim at nothing but the 'eternal return' of state-approved 'images of organisation'. Instead, the de-structive critique offered in this paper calls for the exercise of 'pure violence' by the body as war-zone, which is the monstrous subjectivity of the always already splitting, de-parting and dividing. This splitting, this de-struction is violent because it de- and re-reads, de- and re-sees, de- and re-writes organization. But it is not the violence of the state, or of positive law. Its cutting force is one of non-violent 'pure violence', which is beyond all violence. The body as war-zone is the true aura of (artistic) originality: always on the jump, always de-structive, always purely violent. In this sense, what we must de-structively work and hope for, as response to the bloody (TV-)scenes of violent war-actuality, is the 'pure violence' of the body as war-zone.