Torture
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Torture

4.31 (13 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Torture is not as universally condemned as it once was. From Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib prisons to the death of Giulio Regeni, countless recent cases have shocked public opinion. But if we want to defend the human dignity that torture violates, simple indignation is not enough.

In this important book, Donatella Di Cesare provides a critical perspective on torture in all its dimensions. She seeks to capture the peculiarity of an extreme and methodical violence where the tormentor calculates and measures out pain so that he can hold off the victim's death, allowing him to continue to exercise his sovereign power. For the victim, being tortured is like experiencing his own death while he is still alive. Torture is a threat wherever the defenceless find themselves in the hands of the strong: in prisons, in migrant camps, in nursing homes, in centres for the disabled and in institutions for minors.

This impassioned book will appeal to students and scholars of philosophy and political theory as well as to anyone committed to defending human rights as universal and inviolable.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 180 pages
  • 140 x 215 x 13mm | 230g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Translation
  • 1509524371
  • 9781509524372

Table of contents

Prologue vii


1 The Politics of torture 1


1 Without end? Torture in the twenty-first century 1


2 Torture and power 4


3 The dark backdrop of sacrifice: torture in the mechanisms of terror 9


4 Torture after the abolition of torture 13


5 The black phoenix 16


6 Torture and democracy 19


7 After 9/11: state of exception, pre-emptive torture 21


8 The debate over torture 25


9 The dilemma of 'getting our hands dirty': Thomas Nagel and Michael Walzer 28


10 Alan Dershowitz and the 'torture warrant' 33


11 The lesser evil is still an evil 38


12 24: the gentleman torturer 40


13 A political theology of torture 41


14 Why not torture the terrorist? The ticking time bomb 44


15 Dangerous, pseudo-philosophical tales 51


16 Illegitimacy: the torturer state 52


17 A shipwreck of human rights? 56


18 Human dignity in torture 59


2 Phenomenology of Torture 63


1 Defining torture: etymological notes 63


2 'Whoever has succumbed to torture can no longer feel at home in the world' (Amery) 66


3 Torture, genocide, Holocaust 70


4 Killing and torturing 72


5 Between biopower and sovereign power 75


6 Anatomy of the butcher 77


7 Sade, the negation of the other, and the language of violence 78


8 From Torquemada to Scilingo: four portraits 81


9 Born torturers? 88


10 Pedro and the Captain 93


11 The victim's secret 95


12 Saying the word 'torture' 97


13 On pain and suffering 98


14 Surviving one's own death 101


3 The Administration of Torture 104


1 Giulio Regeni: the body of the tortured 104


2 Benjamin; or, on an ignominious institution 107


3 The G8 in Genoa 110


4 'No touch' torture: on Stammheim prison 114


5 Desaparecidos: when death is denied 117


6 The CIA's global Gulag 122


7 Guantanamo: a camp for the new millennium 126


8 Abu Ghraib: the photographs of shame 129


9 Women and sexual violence 131


10 In the hands of the stronger 134


11 Torments and torture marked 'made in Italy' 137


Epilogue 143


References 146


Index 156
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Review Text

"After 9/11, popular culture and some pseudo-intellectual arguments have undermined the universal moral condemnation of torture we could once count on. Donatella di Cesare dissects these false positions one by one. Her book makes a wonderful contribution to the legal, ethical and political debates about torture because it highlights the radical immorality and unscientific basis of the myths they create about the benefits of torture in 'keeping us safe.'"
Juan Mendez, Professor of Human Rights Law at the American University and former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment

"Donatella Di Cesare is one of the most important voices in contemporary European philosophy. Her book is a darkly knowing, lucid, and relentless philosophical primer on torture in the age of terrorism. If human dignity is to survive these bleak times the fierce lessons of Di Cesare's study will need to be absorbed and furthered."
Jay Bernstein, New School for Social Research

"An important study of barbarism calls for citizens to be vigilant and to resist."
Times Higher Education
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Review quote

"After 9/11, popular culture and some pseudo-intellectual arguments have undermined the universal moral condemnation of torture we could once count on. Donatella di Cesare dissects these false positions one by one. Her book makes a wonderful contribution to the legal, ethical and political debates about torture because it highlights the radical immorality and unscientific basis of the myths they create about the benefits of torture in 'keeping us safe.'"
Juan Mendez, Professor of Human Rights Law at the American University and former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment

"Donatella Di Cesare is one of the most important voices in contemporary European philosophy. Her book is a darkly knowing, lucid, and relentless philosophical primer on torture in the age of terrorism. If human dignity is to survive these bleak times the fierce lessons of Di Cesare's study will need to be absorbed and furthered."
Jay Bernstein, New School for Social Research




"An important study of barbarism calls for citizens to be vigilant and to resist."


Times Higher Education
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About Donatella Di Cesare

Donatella Di Cesare is Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the Sapienza University of Rome.
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Rating details

13 ratings
4.31 out of 5 stars
5 62% (8)
4 8% (1)
3 31% (4)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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