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  1. New Book: Writers and Rebels: The Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus
  2. New Book: Writers and Rebels: The Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus | IntLawGrrls
  3. It was both a call to revolution and balm for the soul.

Like the Bolshevik Revolution that preceded it by one month and from which it derived its inspiration, the November revolution that culminated in the creation of the Weimar Republic generated a ferment of discussions concerning the possibilities of dissent, the limits of state coercion, and the ethics of violence. Far from simply judging violence negatively, as the English term critique imprecisely suggests, Benjamin aimed to systematically review the conditions for violence, to account for its efficacy, and to document the means through which violence attains hegemony in political modernity.

While the concept of transgressive sanctity has driven this book, the relevance of its anticolonial ethos to politics as such remains unprobed.


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In the preceding year, Aslanbek Sheripov had used the abrek to legitimate revolutionary violence. Weber anticipated Benjamin by defining the modern liberal state in relation to violence Gewalt during a period of political upheaval when the governmental forms that were to replace the old political order increasingly ceased to compel obedience. In Benjamin, violence is the means through which the law, harnessed to the state, is justified. In particular, with defending its existence against its own guilt. At the same time, Benjamin goes further than many of the writers considered in this book with regard to his critique of violence, for he sought ways of using violence to overcome violence itself.

Transgressive sanctity took root in Caucasus cultures when a coercive legal order legitimized revolt.

New Book: Writers and Rebels: The Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus

Similarly, violence for Benjamin is a reaction to the law. Although they share a common origin in a concern with the relation between power and sovereignty, Benjamin is more interested in the tradition of the oppressed than in Weberian legitimation theory. Of the many forms of violence Benjamin discusses, only divine violence is intimately related to ethics. Guided by the belief that every political order is founded on violence, Benjamin aims to produce a taxonomy of its immanent power.

New Book: Writers and Rebels: The Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus | IntLawGrrls

He elaborates two distinct but occasionally overlapping rubrics to bring these differences into relief. In the first instance, Benjamin distinguishes between law-founding rechtsetzende and law-preserving rechtserhaltende violence Recapitulating the continuum leading from law-founding to law-preserving violence, the concept of transgressive sanctity elaborated in this book proposed a new law that ultimately replaces the colonial order.

pulltusulignio.ga Over the next decade these claims unravelled spectacularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this book suggests that one reason for that was because contemporary British counter-insurgency doctrine was based upon a serious mis-reading of the past. Many observers believed that during their wars of decolonisation in the two decades after the British had discovered how western liberal notions of right and wrong could be made compatible with Many observers believed that during their wars of decolonisation in the two decades after the British had discovered how western liberal notions of right and wrong could be made compatible with the imperatives of waging war amongst the people, that force could be used effectively but with care, and that a more just and prosperous society could emerge from these struggles.

By using only the minimum necessary force, and doing so with the utmost discrimination, the British were able to win by securing the 'hearts and minds' of the people. But this was a serious distortion of actual British practice on the ground.

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The main contention of this book is that the British hid their use of naked force behind a carefully constructed veneer of legality. In reality they commonly used wholesale coercion, including cordon and search operations, mass detention without trial, forcible population resettlement, and the creation of free-fire zones, to intimidate and lock-down the civilian population.


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They were nasty, not nice, to the people amongst whom they were operating. Keywords: counter-insurgency , decolonization , British Empire , human rights , British army , Cold War , hearts and minds. Forgot password? Issue Section:.

It was both a call to revolution and balm for the soul.

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