Focusing on acts of ‘everyday’ violence in South India and the West Bank, the aim of this interdisciplinary workshop is to interrogate the impact that forms of ‘political violence’ may have on the lives and mindsets of those who are caught up, with a view to examining how such acts of violence problematise or inform prevalent theorisations of political violence. Hugo Gorringe will be speaking on his essay ‘Banal Violence’?: The Everyday Underpinnings ofCollective Violence’ (in Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, 2006); Tobias Kelly will be discussing his work ‘The Attractions of Accountancy: Living and Ordinary Life During theSecond Palestinian Intifada’ (in Ethnography, 2008).*
Gorringe’s work on outbursts of collective violence in South India and Kelly’s research on political violence in the West Bank invite reconsideration of the ‘ordinary’ or ‘banal’ in understandings of political violence. ‘Ordinary’ activities and processes can work to render violence routinely acceptable in some sites of conflict, while, in others, they can come to represent a different lived experience situated within the conflict and shot through with boredom as well as promise. As well as these differing forms that the ‘ordinary’ can assume in relation to political violence, the workshop is an opportunity to examine how these (and other) forms of violence impact on theories of violence current in our political and intellectual culture.
The workshop is a spin-off of the Intellectual History reading group that, formed by students and staff from across the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures of the University of Edinburgh, has been running since October 2011. Meeting monthly to read works of thinkers including Proudhon, Sorel, Gobetti, Keynes, Forster, Luxemburg, Trotsky and Berlin, among others, discussions have hinged on issues including: the use/effect of violence in/on politics; violence and liberal democracy; violence and anarchism; perceptions and judgments of violence; terrorism; and institutional/structural violence.
The event will be held at IASH: 2 Hope Park Square, off Meadow Lane and beside the Meadows (see map at http://www.iash.ed.ac.uk/map.html)
*The speakers' papers are available through the Edinburgh Main Library e-journals database. If you are unable to access them, please send us an e-mail - we will happily send them on as .pdf attachments.