Based on her most recent book, Horrorism: Naming Contemporary Violence (Columbia University Press 2009), Adriana Cavarero argues for a renewal of our political vocabulary. “War” and “terrorism” do not adequately describe the specific phenomenology of contemporary human destruction. Instead, we must overcome the perspective of the warrior and rethink the phenomenology of violence from the point of view of its victims but without falling into the rhetoric of victimization. Drawing on Hannah Arendt’s and Emmanuel Levinas’s work, and above all, Judith Butler’s radical critique of the sovereign subject, Cavarero reflects upon a human “ontology” centered on the relations among vulnerable beings exposed to one another.
Adriana Cavarero teaches political philosophy at the University of Verona, Italy, and is a visiting professor at New York University. Her field of research includes classical, modern and contemporary thought, with a special focus on the political significance of philosophy. Cavarero resists the solitary abstraction of the emphatic philosophical subject as well as the volatile fragmentation of the postmodern subject and affirms instead the living uniqueness of a self that is generated through plural, concrete and corporeal relationships with other human beings.
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