Volume 2, Issue 1, 2002
Knowing and Deciding
Bevan Catley, Campbell Jones
Deciding on Violence
If we were to believe the popular press, it would seem that violence at work is an increasingly pressing concern for employees, employers and legislative bodies. In this paper we offer a set of philosophical reflections on violence, in order to clarify and destabilise some of the assumptions which run through many
discussions of and practical interventions into, violence in the workplace. Rather than focusing on violence 'as such\ we consider various ways in which actions have been, and could be, represented as being violent. To this end, we identify a range of quite distinct representations of violence, and consider the grounds on which decisions are made about 'what violence really is. Refusing to see violence as a simple, obvious phenomenon or as indeterminate and infinitely open, we seek to deploy a deconstructive reading of decision in order to outline the broad contours of a critique of a certain common sense that sees violence only in individual acts of physical violence.