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The Force of Nonviolence: An Ethico-Political Bind

Author: Judith Butler

verso , London, 2020, pp. 224 pb

Judith Butler, an eminent feminist theorist and philosopher, challenges interpretations of nonviolence as either passive, or based on an individualistic ethics. Instead she argues that nonviolence should be understood in a context of social interdependence and seen as a forceful form of political struggle. She also draws on Freud, Fanon, Foucault and Benjamin to explore how official interpretations of 'violence' tend to attribute it to the most subjugated and despised social groups, who in fact are subjected to many forms of violence throughout their lives. She argues, therefore, that nonviolence should be understood in the context of movements demanding social and political equality and fundamental societal change.