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School of Politics and International Relations

Black Lives Matter and the politics of violence


Dr Alex Blanchard, from Queen Mary University of London, asks whether violence is only physical, or whether it is part of the structures of our societies, in this opinion piece for New Statesman, in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the renewed momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement. "The scale and energy of the current protests combined with the open brutality of the police, conjure up images of the civil rights movement and the ensuing black power movement between the late 1960s and early 1970s." Dr Blanchard observes that by connecting overt acts of police violence - the knee to George Floyd's neck - to the organisation of our social and political life, the critique of racism asks us to take a wider view of the functioning of violence in society. Dr Blanchard also looks at how the political aspects of violence are erased through the power of linguistics in obscuring police culpability, how violence can be reduced to biological impulses and explores political theories in relation to violence. 

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