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De la terreur à l’extrême violence

 | 
Petar Bojanić
, 
Guillaume Sibertin-Blanc

Community and violence

Roberto Esposito

For Étienne Balibar

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1. We can say that man has always associated community and violence together in a constituitive relation for both. Such a relation is, in fact, at the heart of the most important expressions of culture across history, whether they be of art, literature, or philosophy. The first graffiti etched in pre-historic grottoes already showed the human community through scenes of violence (hunting, sacrifice, battles). So too will war be the theme of the first, great poem of Western civilization.

The same constituitive relation of community and violence is also evident when we speak of the origins of the human race. Not only is violence between men located at the beginning of history, but the same community appears to have been founded by a homicidal violence. Cain’s murder of Abel is echoed in classical mythology with that of Romulus at Rome’s founding.

Nor should we forget that these originary homicides are fraternal. This detail merits our attention : the blood that joins together a city is ...

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