The Violence of the Singular

  • Arthur CoolsEmail author


The dominant model to understand the social meaning of violence relates the manifestations of violent acts to the power and the (alienating) effects of a general (political) entity, for instance, the state, capitalism, globalization. This model seems to be able to explain the most important manifestations of violence in modern societies. According to this model, the meaning of violence is political and has to be situated within the clash between a universal which is not a true universal (unable to recognize the particular) and a particular that is rejecting it, being oppressed by it. My contribution intends to challenge this model, starting from the observation that this dominant model is not sufficient to explain the outbreak and other manifestations of violence. In order to remediate these shortcomings of the dominant model, I will argue that it is necessary to take into account another meaning of violence, the violence of the singular. With this notion of the singular, I intend to introduce a reflection on violence that precedes the political understanding of violence on the basis of the universal/particular gap.


Modernity Self-sacrifice Self-realization Recognition Reckwitz Taylor Halbertal 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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