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Våld, rätt och öde: en läsning av Walter Benjamins Zur Kritik der Gewalt
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education.
2015 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This essay provides an attempt to reflect the notions of violence, right or law and fate in Benjamin’s Zur Kritik der Gewalt, in order to clarify his very dense historical-philosophical reflection on the constitutive relation between violence and law. In contrast to what is most often the case, this essay will not address the notion of divine violence in a direct sense, but mainly focus on Benjamin’s discussion on right and law. The complex of his historical reflection, his attempt to articulate what he calls the “historical function” not only of violence, but also of law, is crucially related to the notion of fate. First and foremost fate is what turns the suspicion of the perniciousness of this historical function into a certainty, actualizing its destruction as something obligatory in terms of divine violence, by deepening the analysis and revealing the fundamental relation between law and violence. By pointing out the function of violence within the sphere of law, Benjamin not only states that violence cannot be thought otherwise than in relation to this sphere, but also that the relation between law and violence has to be thought in terms of the “uncertainty of the legal threat”. The deepest meaning of both the “uncertainty” and “the legal threat” emerges from the “sphere of fate”, and by reflecting this notion this essay will try to outline the legal complex and the meaning of fate in terms of guilt, misfortune and judgement, and how it is constituted with reference to the notion of “bare life” – that is, the marked bearer of guilt. The complexity of the relation between violence and law shows itself in the circumstance that this “bearer” in terms of guilt also becomes the bearer of the relation itself, bearing the validity of law, or more precise, the being in force of law. This also conceptualizes law as a phenomenon of frontiers, in a double sense that will explain the meaning of guilt and fate in terms of infringement, but also the legal relation to violence understood as a line constituting an inside and an outside within the sphere of law itself. And this will also explain why the meaning of justification of violence – significantly related to fate and the phenomenon of this line – never can be understood ethically.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 45 p.
Keyword [en]
violence, law, right, fate, guilt, misfortune, judgement, bare life, justice, ethics, walter benjamin, critique of violence
Keyword [sv]
våld, rätt, lag, öde, skuld, olycka, dom, det nakna livet, rättvisa, etik, walter benjamin, till kritiken av våldet
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-27764OAI: diva2:823223
Subject / course
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2015-06-18 Created: 2015-06-16 Last updated: 2015-06-18Bibliographically approved

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