State Terrorism as a Field of Study

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If, following Callon, all science is performative, the responsibility of the researchers in the construction of theories is also an immediate responsibility in the very shaping of social reality. Hence, the rearrangement of the theoretical field is also a political act, as it bears the responsibility for a restructuring of the common reality. I will assume such responsibility by focusing on the concept of state terrorism as an interpretative category that cuts through the social, the political and the historical dimensions. Moreover, I will suggest that the concept of state terrorism could itself help generating a specific theoretical field of studies by relating issues that are currently scattered in different times, spaces and disciplines. In particular, I will argue that the concept of state terrorism would help to reconsider issues as different as mass migrations and compulsory schooling, wars and penitentiary systems, physical and cultural genocides among others. Furthermore, I will also suggest that in a diachronic analysis of the constitution of the modern nation-states the concept of state terrorism could effectively counter-balance the naïve functionalism of both the supporters and the critics of the abstract state-form. Hence, I will consider the dyadic phrase state terrorism neither as a seemingly ethical oxymoron nor as a pleonasm, but rather as a unifying interpretation of events that have occurred, occur and could occur in the future as the result of any state’s inward and outward intervention. Finally, I will contend that whilst a thick description of such interventions would not escape the complexity of the specific interactions between state action and social behaviours, the concept of state terrorism could act as a unifying frame and a theoretical catalyst for both hermeneutical and political processes.


Keywords: State Terrorism, Performativity of Science, War, Genocide
Stream: Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Studies, Humanities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , , , , , , State Terrorism as a Field of Study, , , ,


Dr. Riccardo Baldissone

Resarcher, Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University of Technology
Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Riccardo Baldissone was born in Rome, Italy, in 1959. His formal education covers Classical Studies, Science, Philosophy, Pedagogy, including an Education degree, and a Graduate Diploma in Human Rights Education. He continued his education outside formal structure, his main focus being on Classical Greek and Modern Western Philosophy. Riccardo is currently completing a PhD at Curtin University as a recipient of an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship. His present research deals with fundamentalisms in modern thought, with a particular focus on philosophy, science, economics and law. Its aim is twofold: by exposing the family resemblances of modern fundamentalisms, to link their non-fundamentalist theoretical counterparts in a transdisciplinary framework, and to use the latter to push Human Rights discourse beyond its originary western, liberal, and individualistic perspective.

Ref: I08P0580