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The Subjects and Objects of Violence

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Part of the Perspectives on Children and Young People book series (PCYP,volume 11)


Violence is not a new phenomenon. It has captured the attention of researchers in a variety of fields. In sociology, violence attracted interest as early as Durkheim’s 1897 investigation of suicide and Weber’s 1919 assertion on the state’s monopoly on violence. Today violence is an object of research in diverse fields including peace and security studies, gender studies, criminology and social policy studies. Violence is a slippery idea, which quickly changes shape and meaning (Henriksen & Bengtsson, 2018; von Holdt, 2013). This chapter provides a brief overview of this emerging field, however, rather than a literature review, I outline some of the central issues and theories to contribute a framework and to fill a gap in the field. I argue that a broad definition of violence that acknowledges unique structural and cultural dynamics make visible the production of lived-subjectivities of violence which young people perform and resist.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-981-15-5542-8_2
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  1. 1.

    ‘Non-violence’ is used here to describe the assumed absence of violence or the assumption that violence is not a normal/acceptable part of society. Not to be confused with ‘nonviolence’, the deliberate attempt to avoid using violence.

  2. 2.

    The term ‘objective’ to describe violence is problematic. It invokes the positivist sciences and claims of neutrality, with which I am uncomfortable because it obscures the subjective human reality and effects of violence. It is not my intention to reinforce these unhelpful assumptions. I unpack these issues and my reasons for adopting this language in Chap. 7. However, the term objective violence is useful as an umbrella term for non-physical violence including structural, cultural and symbolic violence (and likely more). Listing each of these terms will become increasingly impractical in this book. As a result, I will use the imperfect term objective violence.


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Correspondence to Ben Arnold Lohmeyer .

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Lohmeyer, B.A. (2020). The Subjects and Objects of Violence. In: Youth and Violent Performativities. Perspectives on Children and Young People, vol 11. Springer, Singapore.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-981-15-5541-1

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