La macchia umana. Elementi per una sociologia della violenza
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For many years violence was neglected by sociology. Still today there is not enough awareness of the fact that violence can be a social force. An instrumental conception of violence exists in sociology which we have inherited from the classic authors. Side by side with this we must formulate another conception which will be called modernist, according to which violence is a social force loaded with meaning and endowed with a capacity to give structure (i.e., boundaries, a hierarchy, a sense of belonging) to a group. An essential point of the study of collective violence is that these two notions have to be used together. The events we have to explain are the result of their interplay. The paper attempts: 1) to recall the instrumental notion of violence; 2) to compare the two conceptions cited above 3) to elaborate on the notion of modernist violence and its crucial elements: connection between reason and emotion, invention of an enemy, the body of the victim transformed into matter to be shaped. The paper gives a number of empirical examples such as the genocides of the second part of the twentieth century, nationalist ethnic cleansing, and mass rape in Bosnia. It also discusses violence against women in Italy from the standpoint of this new perspective.
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