Description : Examines the theoretical and strategic issues which arise from different forms of political self-sacrifice, including political contestation surrounding the identification of the victim as a terrorist or martyr, the meaning of the death as suicide or martyrdom and the extent to which this contributes to the reconstruction of community identity.
Description : Violence has been a central political issue in many Middle Eastern countries during the past two decades, either episodically (Syria, Iran) or continually (Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel/Palestine). This groundbreaking new study sheds light on the dynamics of this phenomenon by going beyond factors usually cited as the root causes - economy, religion, and culture - and investigating the political structure that actually triggers this violence. Violence seems to be treated by some groups during their initial stages as a rational instrument for changing contested power relations. In their later stages, these movements often weaken and spawn fragmented and privatized forms of violence - warlords are one example - and in some situations the violence metamorphoses into nihilistic, sacrificial, and/or messianic forms.
Description : The idea and practice of sacrifice play a profound role in religion, ethics, and politics. In this brief book, philosopher Moshe Halbertal explores the meaning and implications of sacrifice, developing a theory of sacrifice as an offering and examining the relationship between sacrifice, ritual, violence, and love. On Sacrifice also looks at the place of self-sacrifice within ethical life and at the complex role of sacrifice as both a noble and destructive political ideal. In the religious domain, Halbertal argues, sacrifice is an offering, a gift given in the context of a hierarchical relationship. As such it is vulnerable to rejection, a trauma at the root of both ritual and violence. An offering is also an ambiguous gesture torn between a genuine expression of gratitude and love and an instrument of exchange, a tension that haunts the practice of sacrifice. In the moral and political domains, sacrifice is tied to the idea of self-transcendence, in which an individual sacrifices his or her self-interest for the sake of higher values and commitments. While self-sacrifice has great potential moral value, it can also be used to justify the most brutal acts. Halbertal attempts to unravel the relationship between self-sacrifice and violence, arguing that misguided self-sacrifice is far more problematic than exaggerated self-love. In his exploration of the positive and negative dimensions of self-sacrifice, Halbertal also addresses the role of past sacrifice in obligating future generations and in creating a bond for political associations, and considers the function of the modern state as a sacrificial community.
Description : A systematic examination of emotions and world politics, showing how emotions underpin political agency and collective action after trauma.
Description : This book explores a variety of forms of radical political subjectivity. It takes its cue from the 2011 uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, the Occupy Movement and the European Anti-Austerity Movement, alongside the wider opposition to authoritarian and neoliberal forms of governance from which they sprang, in order to ask an urgent series of questions about the subject of radical politics: Who or what is it that engages in resistance? Who or what should they be? And how are we to negotiate the many complexities of that second question? The contributions, drawing on a wide range of theoretical traditions, offer a rich series of provocations towards new ways of conceptualising, evaluating and imagining radical political praxis. They engage different kinds of subjects, including protestors, dancers, self-burners, academics, settlers and humans, in order to think through the ways in which contemporary subjects are constituted within and work to unsettle dominant relations of power. Together, the chapters open up spaces to think about how political and intellectual commitment to social change can be enlivened through attention to the subject of radical politics. This book was published as a special issue of Globalizations.
Description : An extensive study of self-sacrificial images in Indian art, this book examines concepts such as head-offering, human sacrifice, blood, suicide, valour, self-immolation, and self-giving in the context of religion and politics to explore why these images were produced and how they became paradigms of heroism.
Description : Two of the most destructive moments of state violence in the twentieth century occurred in Europe between 1933 and 1945 and in China between 1959 and 1961 (the Great Leap famine). This is the first book to bring the two histories together in order to examine their differences and to understand if there are any similar processes of transmission at work. The author expertly ties in the Taiwanese civil war between Nationalists and Communists, which included the White Terror from 1947 to 1987, a less well-known but equally revealing part of twentieth-century history. Personal and family stories are told, often in the individual's own words, and then compared with the public accounts of the same events as found in official histories, commemorations, school textbooks and other forms of public memory. The author presents innovative and constructive criticisms of social memory theories in order to make sense both of what happened and how what happened is transmitted.
Description : Starve and Immolate tells the story of leftist political prisoners in Turkey who waged a deadly struggle against the introduction of high security prisons by forging their lives into weapons. Weaving together contemporary and critical political theory with political ethnography, Banu Bargu analyzes the death fast struggle as an exemplary though not exceptional instance of self-destructive practices that are a consequence of, retort to, and refusal of the increasingly biopolitical forms of sovereign power deployed around the globe. Bargu chronicles the experiences, rituals, values, beliefs, ideological self-representations, and contentions of the protestors who fought cellular confinement against the background of the history of Turkish democracy and the treatment of dissent in a country where prisons have become sites of political confrontation. A critical response to Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish, Starve and Immolate centers on new forms of struggle that arise from the asymmetric antagonism between the state and its contestants in the contemporary prison. Bargu ultimately positions the weaponization of life as a bleak, violent, and ambivalent form of insurgent politics that seeks to wrench the power of life and death away from the modern state on corporeal grounds and in increasingly theologized forms. Drawing attention to the existential commitment, sacrificial morality, and militant martyrdom that transforms these struggles into a complex amalgam of resistance, Bargu explores the global ramifications of human weapons' practices of resistance, their possibilities and limitations.
Description : The radical act of suicide protest is undertaken by social movement participants in order to demand a particular previously articulated political outcome. This book examines the history and impact of suicide protest, which has been increasingly used as a protest tactic since World War II, adding to a growing area of research on the ability of certain actions to impact policy in favour of movement goals. The book offers a combination of historical and contemporary cases analysis from South Asia, where different iterations of this tactic have been used extensively throughout the latter half of the twentieth century, including the use of fasting to the death, self-immolation, and deliberate drowning. Focussing on the success or failure or a particular action relevant to the movement’s broader mobilization strategy, the author examines the internal impact this has on the movement and the mechanisms by which suicide as a form of protest evolves. Providing a unique contribution to the field of comparative politics, political violence and social movement studies this book will be of interest to scholars working on political science, sociology and South Asian studies.
Description : The Marvel of Martyrdom is about how self-sacrifice can change lives and how martyrs can change the world. The book starts large -- with famous and influential martyrs such as Jesus and Gandhi -- and ends small -- with ordinary people whose own experiences of self-sacrifice give martyrdom its political power. Seeking the developmental origins of self-sacrifice, the book explores children's folklore and the success of mega-hits such as The Matrix and Harry Potter. Seeking the everyday rewards of self-sacrifice, the book shows the potential for finding meaning and happiness in helping others. The Marvel of Martyrdom takes a broad perspective on self-sacrifice and martyrdom, bringing together religion, popular culture, history, psychology and mythology. Stories of individuals both famous (Gandhi) and obscure (Rodrigo Rosenberg) intertwine with research on altruism, happiness, and radicalization to terrorism. The changing landscape of the book's setting -- from The Roman Empire to 19th century Russia to Nazi Germany to post-War II India, to present day Ukraine -- makes the power of self-sacrifice and martyrdom come alive and shows their potential to change people and cultures.