Title A Hermeneutics of Violence
Subtitle A Four-Dimensional Conception
Author Mark M. Ayyash
ISBN 9781487505868
List price USD 70.00
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Hardbound
No of pages 288
Book size 159 x 235 mm
Publishing year 2019
Original publisher University of Toronto Press
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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“At a very young age Mark Ayyash witnessed an act of violence in his native Palestine in the immediate vicinity of the Noble Sanctuary. Armed Israeli soldiers were on one side, defiant young Palestinians on the other. He stood still somewhere in between the asymmetrical warring factions and wondered. Decades later and matured in his bold and brilliant moral imagination he has written a detailed philosophical treatise unpacking that bewildering moment. The result is a meticulous hermeneutics of awe and wonder as to why and wherefore violence is the genetic engineering of our political life. This is a work of profound philosophical urgency aimed at unpacking the passing ephemerality of the political.”

Hamid Dabashi, Department of Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, Columbia University

“By organizing dialogues between different theories of violence, rather than proposing his own, Mark M. Ayyash demonstrates the highest and finest level of theoretical knowledge one can imagine as far as violence is at stake. His work leads us to a better understanding of violence on the basis of these theoretical confrontations. This doesn’t mean Ayyash lives in a world of pure abstraction; on the contrary, his deep and solid understanding of violence lies also on his personal experience and knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian case. An important book, at the crossroads of social science and philosophy.”

Michel Wieviorka, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, President of the Board, Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme (FMSH)


“A challenging, original, potentially pathbreaking book: Violence is not merely the negation of truth-oriented dialogue or communicative recognition, but much rather a constitutive force of its own, producing a ‘violent dialogue’ that binds protagonists in a paradoxical community of irreconcilable attitudes. Ayyash acknowledges violence as a political instrument and life-worldly element of identity formation, but emphasizes the uniquely mimetic dimension of constructing enemy-siblings whose deep dispositions remain a constant source of rereleasing violence, a source which demands the dialogic analysis of violence as such. An important contribution to the much-needed understanding of the role of violence in our conflict-laden global world.”

Hans-Herbert Kögler, Department of Philosophy, University of North Florida


Attention to the elusiveness of violence opens up a rich landscape of analysis, whereby social scientists can examine the often-overlooked transformative dimensions of violent acts. Theories of violence are numerous today, but because of the mysterious nature of violence, and how each individual or group may endure it uniquely, its study cannot be limited to one specialized and highly restricted field. A Hermeneutics of Violence seeks to remedy this problem by placing in dialogue various theories of violence from the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, international relations, and philosophy.

This study uses a four-dimensional lens to examine the many facets of violence, including its instrumental, linguistic, mimetic, and transcendental dimensions. Far from irreconcilable, these positions, when placed within a four-dimensional outlook, open up new avenues for the study of particular cases of violence. Exploring the complex interactions, for instance, of “enemy-siblings,” Mark M. Ayyash reveals “postures of incommensurability” that continuously produce conflictual positions across a spectrum of time and space and demand the release of violence. The book concludes that these postures must be understood and deconstructed before we can have a legitimate chance to achieve peace and justice, the conceptions of which must come with the intent of not necessarily opposing violence but rather replacing our conceptions of what the violences have come to constitute as “real.”




Chapter 1. Instrumental Violence: To Capture and Fix Violence • Violence and Politics • Violence and Modernity • “Freeing” the Concept of  Violence • Delimiting Violence • The Flux of Violence • Violence and Death

Chapter 2. Linguistic Violence: The Dispersal of Violence • Navigating Violence in the Event and the Everyday • The Limits of Language

Chapter 3. Mimetic Violence: Violent Dialogue • Speaking with Violence • Mimesis • The Possibility and Impossibility of Enemy-Siblings • A Postcolonial Understanding of the Self-Other Relation • Mimesis-Alterity


Chapter 4. Transcendental Violence: Violence the “Thing Itself” • Violence and Transcendence • The Groundless Ground of Violence • To the “Thing Itself” • The Formation of Postures • Representations and (Un)knowability • Symbolic/Brutal Violence and the Operation of Dispositions • Presence/Non-presence and the Propagation of Violence

Chapter 5. A Dialogical Analysis of the Representation of Violence: The Case of Palestine/Israel • Morris: Force, Fear, and the State • Said: Violence and the Question of Justice





About the Author:

Mark M. Ayyash is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and Director of the John de Chastelain Peace Studies Initiative at Mount Royal University.

Target Audience:

People interested in anthropology, sociology, philosophy and political science.

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