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Violence Before Identity: An Analysis of Identity Politics

Bowman, Glenn W. (2014) Violence Before Identity: An Analysis of Identity Politics. Sociological Review, 62 (S2). pp. 152-165. ISSN 0038-0261. E-ISSN 1467-954X. (doi:10.1111/1467-954X.12195) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Violence is a force for creating integrities as well as one that violates, pollutes and destroys already existing entities. In this paper I address the role of what Ariella Azoulay terms the ‘political imagination’ in constituting social aggregates committed to the defence of a community itself brought into being by the imagining of a force dedicated to its destruction. Such a group’s perception of what Laclau and Mouffe call an ‘antagonism’ spurs it to mark out and defend its boundaries with violence - a violence often manifested aggressively (pre-emptively). Collective perceptions of an other’s antagonism are often overdetermined, either by historical memory or political manipulation, and it is often the case that an enemy is sited and a programme of ‘defensive’ violence inaugurated without any ‘real’ justification. Here I demonstrate, using events drawn from the formation of the State of Israel and the collapse of what is now ‘Former Yugoslavia’, that it is in designating an other against which destructive violence must be mobilized that an entity realizes - through the negation of that it would negate - what it is it fights to defend.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/1467-954X.12195
Uncontrolled keywords: Political Imagination; Antagonism; “constitutive violence”; “defensive violence”; interpellation; Israel; Former Yugoslavia
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Social and Cultural Anthropology
Depositing User: G. Bowman
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2014 18:22 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 13:39 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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