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On politics and violence: Arendt contra Fanon

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This paper considers the implications of Hannah Arendt's criticisms of Frantz Fanon and the theories of violence and politics associated with his influence for our understanding of the relationship between those two phenomena. Fanon argues that violence is a means necessary to political action, and also is an organic force or energy. Arendt argues that violence is inherently unpredictable, which means that end reasoning is in any case anti-political, and that it is a profound error to naturalize violence. We evaluate their respective arguments concluding that in her well-founded rejection of the naturalization of violence, Arendt's understanding of the embodied nature of violence is less insightful than Fanon's.

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