Violence Expressed: An Anthropological Approach

Maria Six-Hohenbalken, Nerina Weiss

Violence Expressed explores the diverse expressions and manifestations through which the meaning of violent experiences and events are (re)produced. As our language is insufficient in describing violence, this book focuses not only on the verbal and discursive expressions of violence, but also on the performative acts, material culture and the spaces that constitute these expressions. Such an approach promises to be a more adequate way of registering and understanding the comprehensive manifestations and long-lasting effects of violence. A focus on expressions of violence is also a way of exploring violence both as an extreme subjective experience, and the ultimate truth, thus overcoming a common epistemological antagonism in researching violence.

Bringing together the latest empirical studies of the expression of violence, this book offers different analytical approaches and methodological perspectives, whilst contributing to the ongoing discussion on anthropological writing. As such, Violence Expressed will be of interest to anthropologists and sociologists working on violence, gender, collective representations and memory.


‘Violence Expressed brings together cutting edge work on violence from an impressive array of anthropologists. This wonderful book builds on existing anthropological literature by offering new methodologies for the study of violence and cutting a path for theoretical approaches that push beyond silence to understanding.’ Victoria Sanford, Lehman College, City University of New York, USA

Brilliant: a truly global tour de force on the complex life of violence – the “wars of the 4th generation” – by the field’s leading anthropologists. Compelling, comprehensive, illuminating. In exploring the deep ways violence is expressed, sensed, and lived, these authors offer the best of contemporary anthropological ethnography and theory.’ Carolyn Nordstrom, University of Berkeley, USA

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Shiv Sena Women

Atreyee Sen. 2007. Shiv Sena Women Violence and Communalism in a Bombay Slum
Indiana University Press. (256 pages) ISBN: 978-1-85065-870-2

This book turns feminist scholarship on its head by documenting how women may become primary retainers and perpetrators of a violent nationalist discourse, acquiring social and economic status either by default or as reward. It tells the story of the ‘Mahila Aghadi’ (the women’s wing of the Shiv Sena, a radical Hindu nationalist party in western India) and their children, based on intensive fieldwork in the low-income, working class slums of Bombay. Sen charts the Aghadi’s transformation from a submissive support group within a manifestly male movement into a militant and partially autonomous women’s task force, instrumental in creating and sustaining communal violence especially in and after the 1992 Hindu-Muslim riots in Bombay.