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Trust and Violence: An Essay on a Modern Relationship
     

Trust and Violence: An Essay on a Modern Relationship

by Jan Philipp Reemtsma
 

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ISBN-10: 0691142963

ISBN-13: 9780691142968

Pub. Date: 04/22/2012

Publisher: Princeton University Press

The limiting of violence through state powers is one of the central projects of the modern age. Why then have recent centuries been so bloody? In Trust and Violence, acclaimed German intellectual and public figure Jan Philipp Reemtsma demonstrates that the aim of decreasing and deterring violence has gone hand in hand with the misleading idea that violence

Overview

The limiting of violence through state powers is one of the central projects of the modern age. Why then have recent centuries been so bloody? In Trust and Violence, acclaimed German intellectual and public figure Jan Philipp Reemtsma demonstrates that the aim of decreasing and deterring violence has gone hand in hand with the misleading idea that violence is abnormal and beyond comprehension. We would be far better off, Reemtsma argues, if we acknowledged the disturbing fact that violence is normal. At the same time, Reemtsma contends that violence cannot be fully understood without delving into the concept of trust. Not in violence, but in trust, rests the foundation of true power.

Reemtsma makes his case with a wide-ranging history of ideas about violence, from ancient philosophy through Shakespeare and Schiller to Michel Foucault, and by considering specific cases of extreme violence from medieval torture to the Holocaust and beyond. In the midst of this gloomy account of human tendencies, Reemtsma shrewdly observes that even dictators have to sleep at night and cannot rely on violence alone to ensure their safety. These authoritarian leaders must trust others while, by means other than violence, they must convince others to trust them. The history of violence is therefore a history of the peculiar relationship between violence and trust, and a recognition of trust's crucial place in humanity.

A broad and insightful book that touches on philosophy, sociology, and political theory, Trust and Violence sheds new, and at times disquieting, light on two integral aspects of our society.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691142968
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
04/22/2012
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Introduction: The Mystery 1

Chapter 1: Trust and Modernity 9
Two Scenes from Thomas Mann’s Confessions of Felix Krull 10
Trust 12
Practices of Social Trust 17
Trust and Seriousness— The Gretchenfrage 21
Trust and the Construction of the We 27
We Can’t Not Trust 33
Reorientation 35
The Bearers of Premodern Social Trust 39
The Problem of Trust within Modernity 44
Trust in Modernity 52

Chapter 2: Power and Violence 54
Kratos and Bia 54
A Phenomenology of Physical Violence 55
Locative Violence 57
Raptive Violence 60
Autotelic Violence 62
Reduction to Body 66
Psychological Violence/Autotelic Bias 69
Fragmentation: Th e Destruction of the I 71
Complementary Opposites 74
Power— Without Violence 76
Coercive Power 79
The Temporality of Power 80
Reward Power, Coercive Power, and Violence 80
Richard III: A Flawed Power Calculus 83
Consent as a Function of Temporality 86
Participatory Power, Trust, Legal Regulation 89
Monopoly 92
Delegation 93
Th e Dynamics of Demonopolization 95
Participatory Power and Violence 97
Modernity and Violence 99

Chapter 3: Delegitimation/Relegitimation 101
Marsyas 101
Max Stays Seated 102
Permitted, Prohibited, Mandated 103
Civilization and Barbarism 106
Th e I and the Idea of Humanity 110
Disgust 116
Shakespeare and the Dawning Awareness of Violence as Wrong 127
Curtailing Violence and Preserving Trust 145
Relegitimation (1): Th e Rhetoric of Nation and Civilizing Mission 153
Bounding the Nation 167
Th e Guillotine and the Puppy 169
Relegitimation (2): Th e Rhetoric of Eschatological Purge 175
Relegitimation (3): Th e Rhetoric of Genocide 180
Modernity and Its Discontents 184

Chapter 4: Trust in Violence 187
Violence— Trust— Power: Th e Devil and the Little Bishop 187
Auschwitz— Gulag— Hiroshima 191
Escalating the Instruments of Violence 196
Modernization and the Gang 205
Demodernization and the Gang 219
The Logic of Terror 231
Macbeth 239
Why the Jews? 242
When the Impossible Becomes Possible 246
Trust in Violence and the Role of Personality 248
Trust in Violence and Self- Trust 250

Chapter 5: Violence and Communication 259
Cola Gentile Speaks 259
Sociology’s Silence 261
The Disappearance of the Th ird Party 266
Coping (1): Delegitimation by Criminal Procedure and the Exclusion of the Third Party 274
Coping (2): Th e Authority of the Victim and the Replacement of the Third Party 278
Coping (3): Instrumental Interpretation and the Denial of Communication 280
Excursus: A Brief Th eory of the Desperado, or, Did William Tell Really Liberate Switzerland? 287
Displaying the Instruments of Torture— Again? 302
Angst and Self- Assurance 305
Polonius, His Will and Testament 309

Notes 313
Bibliography 359

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