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Finding Ourselves at the MoviesPhilosophy for a New Generation$
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Paul Kahn

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164382

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164382.001.0001

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Violence and the State

Violence and the State

(p.89) Chapter 4 Violence and the State
Finding Ourselves at the Movies

Paul W. Kahn

Columbia University Press

This chapter talks about how we find ourselves in a politically anxious age, where such anxiety is caused by a destabilization in the relationship of identity to representation. The nation-state managed this relationship through its control of the narrative of sacrificial violence; the relationship of identity to representation hinges on the meaning of violence. The chapter discusses three responses generated by anxiety over this relationship: first, a longing for recovery of the unity of love, which manifested in Gran Torino (2008); second, a fear that political violence cannot be stabilized in law, as seen in Inglorious Basterds (2009); and finally, a fear that an all-too-stable code will prevent a free politics of identity, as shown in The Matrix (1999).

Keywords:   anxiety, destabilization, identity, representation, sacrificial violence, recovery, love, Gran Torino, Inglorious Basterds, The Matrix

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