Violent Communication and the Tyranny of the Majority

  • Ronald StadeEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Communication for Social Change book series (PSCSC)


In recent decades, research on human violence in the social sciences and humanities has focused on debunking the notion that there is such a thing as senseless violence. All types of violence are said to carry meaning and violence ought therefore be considered a form of communication. The anthropologist David Graeber suggests instead that violence, including structural violence, is predicated on a reduction of meaning. According to Graeber, the charging of violence with meaning is an asymmetrical affair: the perpetrators need not bother with understanding their victims; the victims exert themselves to comprehend even the smallest gesture of the perpetrator. Consequently, the retention of power through violence produces systemic stupidity, which is enacted by bureaucrats, the police and other state institutions at all levels. The idea of systemic stupidity will be tested out with the case of Gezi and coupled to a discussion of the tyranny of the majority in order to show that the state monopoly on legitimate violence is not a sufficient precondition for systemic stupidity.


Turkey Gezi protests 2016 coup attempt Erdoğan Structural violence Systemic stupidity Tyranny of the majority Justice 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Malmö UniversityMalmöSweden

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