white cover with title on black letters


U. P. Plus “Bouryoku” kara yomitoku Gendai-sekai (Deciphering the World through the Prism of “Violence”)


208 pages, A5 format




June 23, 2022



Published by

University of Tokyo Press

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“Bouryoku” kara yomitoku Gendai-sekai

Japanese Page

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The publication of this book is inspired by the online symposium titled “Thinking about ‘Violence’ Today” hosted on June 26, 2021 (Saturday) by the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Area Studies Department. The events leading to the planning of the symposium included clashes between protestors and police during large-scale demonstrations in Hong Kong in 2019 that were part of the Anti-Extradition Bill movement, the BLM movement sparked by the death of George Floyd in the United States and around the world, and the killing of a secondary school teacher in October 2020 in France by an Islamic jihadist. However, even from the very first discussions between speakers and planners, there was a shared understanding that the symposium should not be limited to visible, physical violence but, rather, also deal with “systemic violence” and “structural violence” resulting from institutional and social circumstances. In an age when vivid images captured by smartphones can be disseminated around the world instantaneously via SNSs and we are inundated with an unprecedented volume of visual and aural images of violence, there is an urgent need to pay attention to the “violence” that is the underlying cause of this violence. Such invisible “violence” is the result of history, culture, and conflicts between different power structures and groups unique to each region. Accordingly, it was believed that the Area Studies Department was uniquely suited to addressing such issues through its approach of interdisciplinary research encompassing diverse disciplines within the humanities and social sciences.
While reviewing the achievements of the symposium, the book incorporates contributions from writers from outside the Area Studies Department to extend the range of regions and themes discussed. In Part I titled “The Reterritorialization of Violence,” after first discussing examples in France, Hong Kong, and United States, where intense “violence” has been moving to the foreground since 2019, the book examines “violence,” particularly in the Asian region including Japan, while considering international law and frameworks for “human security.” Contained within the term “reterritorialization” are questions regarding the new contexts in which “violence” is positioned today in the world’s major nations, including our own, whose histories are littered with instances of “violence.” . Part II titled “The Diffuse Reflection of Violence” discusses issues related to “violence” in Myanmar, Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Lebanon, Mali, and Mexico. While these regions could be described as “peripheral” in terms of the framework centered on Western nation-states, the book elucidates how the complex “violence” occurring in each of these regions represent diffuse reflections of “violence” resulting from strains within modern systems.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began as the book was being edited. The world map of “violence” continues to change from moment to moment. Our greatest hope is that the book serves as a guide for deciphering the modern world in which various instances of “violence” unfold and, moreover, that a day will come when this book has fulfilled its purpose.

(Written by FUJIOKA Toshihiro, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences / 2022)

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