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St Hugh's College

Saint Margaret's Road

Oxford

OX2 6LE

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PLEASE NOTE: As catering is provided at this event, please only register if you are sure you will be able to attend. If you have registered and subsequently cannot attend, please de-register and/or let us know (Email: admin@isrf.org)

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The ISRF Workshop is the occasion for the ISRF’s fellows to report on their work, and a wide range of topics and approaches is presented to a multidisciplinary audience.

The question of violence hangs over our understanding of our human world. But what is violence and why does it matter? Ordinarily used to mean physical attack or disruptive intervention by which one individual or group damages another’s person or property, the term and its negative valence carry over into the social sciences to have broader application, with meanings ramified into the political and the personal domains. Active and covert disruption of social institutions manifest in financial, legal and economic forms of violence; colonisation and capture of language and culture, and constraints on informal ways of living, represent forms of violence framed as symbolic, epistemic, or psychological. In such ways and more, violence permeates our lives and raises many questions about how to live them.

What, indeed, is violence itself? Etymologically cognate with vis (force) it should interest us because, as we might say, ‘Force is the ontological condition of life’; in the Newtonian codification of nature force is fundamental. It is also, in that codification, tied theoretically to other concepts that have found their way into descriptions, explanations, and normative evaluations of the social. Mechanics systematically links force to power, work, change and action in ways that can be explored and exploited for their suggestive, metaphorical and heuristic contributions to the explanation of social process and change.

We might then see violence’s negative valence, especially in its relation to power, as tied to the effects of force applied in excess of what is needed to do work or achieve change, so as instead to harmfully interrupt human affairs. This more Aristotelian conception might (with apology to The Philosopher) allow us to say that ‘to unleash force is easy; but to direct it in the right degree, on the right object, to the right end and in the right way is not easy, and not everyone can do it’. Another interesting question is, why not?

Against the background of the ISRF’s Fellows’ work in a format of short presentations, the 2019 Annual Workshop will facilitate reflective sessions and discussion in groups and panels to pursue the question of violence through such questions as these.



A pre-workshop Postgraduate Event, in partnership with Violence Studies Oxford, will provide a forum for early career researchers to present their work in response to our theme. The Violence Studies research network "seeks to further our understanding of the phenomenon of violence, by challenging assumptions and preconceptions of war, and encouraging a collaborative effort to rethink the way in which we discuss conflict.”

Participants will also be invited to submit posters, which will remain on display throughout the workshop.

In addition, we intend to screen two films each addressing issues of violence from different cultural perspectives.

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St Hugh's College

Saint Margaret's Road

Oxford

OX2 6LE

United Kingdom

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