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September 30, 2021
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An Exercise with Hannah Arendt

Thursday, February 18, 2021
4:30 pm

"An Exercise with Hannah Arendt: Looking at Public and its Collective Responsibility for Government Violence"

Presented by Sananda Sahoo as part of the mediations lecture series. Contact the mediations Facebook team for the Zoom link.


In her work On Violence, Hannah Arendt challenges the notion of power as has been passed down to us through thinkers such as Voltaire, Max Weber, and Robert Strausz-Hupé as a tool to dominate and rule by domination. I argue that one cannot conceive of power without it being framed within a certain mode of responsibility. I explore, through Arendt, the relationship between power and responsibility and what such a framework might look like. I argue that responsibility for the violence even when justified by the state in terms of public affairs, should be acknowledged by both the government and its support base if power is seen as emanating from people acting in concert. Violence must be seen in the context of the opposing groups. This is significant when it is considered in conflicts against a state. Rather than reducing the conflict and the ensuing violence to the differences and hence justifying the use of state-sanctioned apparatus, responsibility for the government violence must be clearly identified beyond just the perceived differences between the government and the opposing group to include the voting public who voted the government to power.   

Bio: Sananda Sahoo is a third-year Ph.D. candidate in Media Studies at FIMS. Her areas of interest include journalism, new media, postcolonialism, and media studies, among others.

Faculty of Information and Media Studies
FIMS Communications

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