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The Violence of Victimhood

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We know that violence breeds violence. We need look no further than the wars in the western Balkans, the genocide in Rwanda, or the ongoing crisis in Israel and Palestine. But we don't know how to deal with the messy moral and political quandaries that result when victims become perpetrators. When the line between guilt and innocence wavers and we are confronted by the suf We know that violence breeds violence. We need look no further than the wars in the western Balkans, the genocide in Rwanda, or the ongoing crisis in Israel and Palestine. But we don't know how to deal with the messy moral and political quandaries that result when victims become perpetrators. When the line between guilt and innocence wavers and we are confronted by the suffering of the victim who turns to violence, judgment may give way to moral relativism or liberal tolerance, compassion to a pity that denies culpability. This is the point of departure in The Violence of Victimhood and the impetus for its call for renewed considerations of responsibility, judgment, compassion, and nonviolent politics. To address her provocative questions, Diane Enns draws on an unusually wide-ranging cast of characters from the fields of feminism, philosophy, peacebuilding, political theory, and psychoanalysis. In the process, she makes an original contribution to each, enriching discussions that are otherwise constricted by disciplinary boundaries and an arid distinction between theory and practice.


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We know that violence breeds violence. We need look no further than the wars in the western Balkans, the genocide in Rwanda, or the ongoing crisis in Israel and Palestine. But we don't know how to deal with the messy moral and political quandaries that result when victims become perpetrators. When the line between guilt and innocence wavers and we are confronted by the suf We know that violence breeds violence. We need look no further than the wars in the western Balkans, the genocide in Rwanda, or the ongoing crisis in Israel and Palestine. But we don't know how to deal with the messy moral and political quandaries that result when victims become perpetrators. When the line between guilt and innocence wavers and we are confronted by the suffering of the victim who turns to violence, judgment may give way to moral relativism or liberal tolerance, compassion to a pity that denies culpability. This is the point of departure in The Violence of Victimhood and the impetus for its call for renewed considerations of responsibility, judgment, compassion, and nonviolent politics. To address her provocative questions, Diane Enns draws on an unusually wide-ranging cast of characters from the fields of feminism, philosophy, peacebuilding, political theory, and psychoanalysis. In the process, she makes an original contribution to each, enriching discussions that are otherwise constricted by disciplinary boundaries and an arid distinction between theory and practice.

25 review for The Violence of Victimhood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I'm with the students who accused Enns of racism in the anecdote she relates at the beginning of the book. I don't think was a book she should have written; I don't think it was her place to tell former child soldiers that they should be taking more responsibility for their actions. I don't think Enns has the perspective, breadth of knowledge or experience to discuss this topic usefully. I was going to say that people who are not explicitly identifying as survivors of the type of violence they ar I'm with the students who accused Enns of racism in the anecdote she relates at the beginning of the book. I don't think was a book she should have written; I don't think it was her place to tell former child soldiers that they should be taking more responsibility for their actions. I don't think Enns has the perspective, breadth of knowledge or experience to discuss this topic usefully. I was going to say that people who are not explicitly identifying as survivors of the type of violence they are discussing should not really be making moral judgments about the compromises and collusion practiced by survivors during their victimization, but then I recalled Todorov's Facing the Extreme, which is actually very good, so. Read that instead of this, maybe? I do think that the complicated positioning of individuals who are at once victims and perpetrators of violence is something that should be discussed, and that we need better vocabulary for it; this book did not do it. Also, this analysis of Brison and Améry was just bad.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jenny White

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sanna Therese King

  5. 4 out of 5

    Reema

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ivana

  7. 5 out of 5

    Stedwards

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amber

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marije van der Poel

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rory

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chitrangi

  13. 4 out of 5

    dipandjelly

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

  16. 5 out of 5

    Renata

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kerry Paterson

  18. 5 out of 5

    em

  19. 5 out of 5

    Wes

  20. 4 out of 5

    Galih Pangestu Jati

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rodrigo

  22. 5 out of 5

    Urbanfox

  23. 4 out of 5

    Swrang Varma

  24. 4 out of 5

    Paribhasha Yadav

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sonali

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