Hannah Arendt, violence, and the inescapable fact of humanity

Owens, Patricia (2005) Hannah Arendt, violence, and the inescapable fact of humanity. In: Lang, A and Williams, J (eds.) Hannah Arendt and International Relations: Reading across the Lines. The Palgrave Macmillan History of International Thought . Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 41-65. ISBN 9781403967831

Full text not available from this repository.


Recent 'deliberative' theories of emerging global and trans-national publics overlook how contemporary relations of global power and subordination--manifest in recent 'humanitarian wars'-- are constituted in and through the invocation of 'publics'. Deliberative theorists of 'humanitarian war', following Habermas, locate violence outside of the political (as barbaric and irrational). Hannah Arendt, in contrast, positions violence as constitutively outside; the historical and political context of each (violence and the public) is mutually related and co-dependent. One does not have to agree with Arendt's own sharp distinctions between public and private, or even between politics and violence, to recognise that how she formulated those distinctions is important and offers a critical perspective on so-called 'humanitarian' war. The concepts that Arendt explicitly points to, which Habermas and his followers largely rationalize away or ignore when considering the 'structural transformation' of global publics, are precisely those useful for understanding the potential and actual violence of powerful states marshalling the 'inescapable fact of humanity'.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Depositing User: Patricia Owens
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:28
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2012 13:56
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/12633
📧 Request an update