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States of Violence

An Essay on the End of War

According to political philosopher Frédéric Gros, traditional notions of war and peace are currently being replaced by ideas of intervention and security. But while we may be able to speak of an end to war, this does not imply an end to violence. On the contrary, Gros argues that what we are witnessing is a reconfiguration of our ideas of war, resulting in new forms of violence—terrorist attacks, armed groups jockeying for territory, the use of precision missiles, and the dangerous belief that conflict can be undertaken without casualties.

In States of Violence, Gros explains how war was once conducted to defend or increase the power of a city, an empire, or a state, but today conflict is directed at the very fragility of the individual and based upon a logic of unilateral destruction inflicted upon deprived civilian populations. While war was once rationalized as justified bloodshed, these new states of violence are instead centered on the spectacle of stark, publicized civilian suffering. By charting the history of the philosophy of conflict in Western discourse, Gros offers a stimulating and timely critique of contemporary notions of war and terror.

321 pages | 6 x 7 1/2 | © 2010

The French List

Philosophy: Philosophy of Society

Political Science: Political and Social Theory

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Table of Contents

Part One: Moral Forces
To Excel Oneself
Standing Firm
To Obey
To Sacrifice Oneself
To Bring it to an End

Part Two: Political Stakes
To Affirm One’s Power
To Maintain a Power
To Show and Feel One’s Force

Part Three: Legal Framework
War as the Foundation of Law
Legitimate War
Loyal War

Conclusion: States of Violence


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