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    Conscription and critique

    Ertür, Başak (2019) Conscription and critique. Critical Times 2 (2), pp. 270-284. ISSN 2641-0478.

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    Abstract

    This article focuses on the discussion of general conscription in Walter Benjamin’s 1921 essay “Toward the Critique of Violence.” In the essay, Benjamin presents conscription or compulsory military service alongside his discussions of police violence and capital punishment, and as one form of legal violence in which law-preserving and law-positing violence coincide and mix. This article proposes that Benjamin’s discussion of conscription should be read as a formal model for understanding how legal subjectification in the modern state works more generally, and how such subjectification circumscribes critique. This reading is offered through a series of snapshots of various veins and elements in Benjamin’s essay, while also connecting this interpretation to the work of a number of contemporary scholars of postcoloniality, namely, Talal Asad, David Scott and Samera Esmeir, who all invoke conscription as a particularly powerful metaphor for describing modern law’s tendency to colonize critique.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): critique of violence, Walter Benjamin, compulsory military service, conscription, modern law, legal subjectification
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Law
    Research Centre: Law and the Humanities, Centre for
    Depositing User: Basak Ertur
    Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2019 13:03
    Last Modified: 13 Dec 2019 19:17
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/30258

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