The Total Enemy

The Total Enemy

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The Total Enemy explores the most radicalized forms of enmity, trying to unravel some of its historical and contemporary expressions. Starting from the premise that one of modernity's constitutive values is non-violence, the book explores how non-violence, or rather the making of a world free of violence, becomes a cause of violence, in some instances even extreme violence and totalitarian terror. The book consists of six case studies each exploring and discussing historically specific expressions of depicting an enemy as one the actors believe they can only deal with violently. It begins by looking at two important sites in the development of the total enemy, the French Revolution and the emergence of terrorist thinking in the middle of the nineteenth century. The book then turns to the twentieth century, beginning with the pre-WWII conceptualizations of the ""total"" in European political thought as an answer to a liberal state deemed unfit to manage and control mass society. Secondly, it considers the totalitarian enemy in Nazi Germany, especially Soviet Russia. Finally the book turns to two forms of contemporary total enmity: Islamism and in right-wing extremism. These concluding chapters look specifically at what happens to the total enemy concept once it goes from the state concept of the twentieth century to the private practice of the twenty-first. ""In an age where the Enlightenment project for an ideal world without violence now seems as distant as the nearest star, Mikkel Thorup's exhilaratingly depressing The Total Enemy explores the paradox that it is precisely the continued pursuit of that utopia at all costs that has made modernity a permanent habitat for political extremism. It can lead to a Manichean mindset within the defenders and opponents of the status quo alike, spawning ideologized worldviews in which the enemy is totalized and terror is seen as a legitimate weapon for both sides in a permanent war whether to protect or transform the state. The battle, it reveals, is not between modernity and barbarism, but liberal and extremist modernity, a battle in which civil society itself now finds itself in the front line, and totalitarian hearts of darkness can spring from leafy suburbs at any point to wreak havoc in ways which Orwell's 1984 could never have anticipated."" --Roger Griffin, author of Terrorist's Creed Mikkel Thorup is Assistant Professor of the history of political thought at Aarhus University Denmark and author of numerous books on the intellectual histories of violence and conflict.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 174 pages
  • 150 x 226 x 13mm | 218g
  • English
  • 1625648987
  • 9781625648983