History, sublime, terror

Notes on culture’s failure and the social catastrophe

Authored by: Gene Ray

Handbook of Cultural Sociology

Print publication date:  July  2010
Online publication date:  September  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415474450
eBook ISBN: 9780203891377
Adobe ISBN: 9781134026159


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The problem of violence and its social origins is old and vexed. If it is not to be attributed to an imputed human nature already conceding inevitability, then violence must be grasped as the product of social forms and processes. However, the public debates following the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq under the sign of a globalized “war on terror” have made clear that the longstanding disputes over the roots and springs of violence remain unresolved. Critical reflection on the social character of violence quickly touches the foundations and legitimacy of existing forms of society and their conflict-generating stratifications and concentrations of power.

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