The essays in Violence and Subjectivity, written by a distinguished international roster of contributors, consider the ways in which violence shapes subjectivity and acts upon people’s capacity to engage everyday life. Like its predecessor volume, Social Suffering, which explored the different ways social force inflicts harm on individuals and groups, this collection ventures into many areas of ongoing violence, asking how people live with themselves and others when perpetrators, victims, and witnesses all come from the same social space.
From civil wars and ethnic riots to governmental and medical interventions at a more bureaucratic level, the authors address not only those extreme situations guaranteed to occupy precious media minutes but also the more subtle violences of science and state. However particular and circumscribed the site of any fieldwork may be, today’s ethnographer finds local identities and circumstances molded by state and transnational forces, including the media themselves. These authors contest a new political geography that divides the world into “violence-prone areas” and “peaceful areas” and suggest that such descriptions might themselves contribute to violence in the present global context.