War as double: modern and postmodern thinkers redefine war

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The canonical theories of war see war as either the opposite to, or a continuation of, civil society. From Freud on, however, war has been seen as a site of ambivalence or doubleness. By deconstructing the oppositions on which any definition of war would seem to depend—between war and peace, and friend and enemy—Jacques Derrida shows how war and its putative opposites (democracy and human rights, for example) both incite and anathematise one another simultaneously. This paper argues that it is by way of this kind of deconstructive logic that we can best understand our present global situation, in which wars are fought on behalf of democracy and human rights, while they threaten democracy and human rights, and are resisted in the name of democracy and human rights.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWar fronts
Subtitle of host publicationinterdisciplinary perspectives on war, virtual war and human security
EditorsNolen Gertz
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherInter-Disciplinary Press
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781904710660
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Copyright Inter-Disciplinary Press 2009. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of Inter-Disciplinary Press. For further rights please contact the publisher http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/publishing/id-press/


  • war
  • Derrida
  • deconstruction
  • Levinas
  • Carl Schmitt


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