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Volume 12, Issue 1, Spring 2008

James Mensch
Pages 4-15

Violence and Embodiment

While the various forms of violence have been the subject of special studies, we lack a paradigm that would allow us to understand the different forms of violence (physical, social, cultural, structural, and so on) as aspects of a unified phenomenon. In this article, I shall take violence as destructive of sense or meaning. The relation of violence to embodiment arises through the role that the body plays in our making sense of the world. My claim is that violence is destructive of this role. It undoes the role of the bodily “I can” in making sense of our surrounding world - be this its physical, cultural, or social significance.