War, crime, empire and cosmopolitanism

Ruggiero, Vincenzo (2007) War, crime, empire and cosmopolitanism. Critical Criminology, 15 (3). pp. 211-221. ISSN 1205-8629

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10612-007-9033-5

Abstract

The millions of deaths produced by states and governments make the 20th century ‘unnameable’, a century far more lethal than all previous ‘pre-civil’ epochs. It does not appear that contemporary state violence tends to decline or to temper the brutality commonly attributed to archaic armies, nor that the rules and limitations internationally imposed on that violence, throughout the last decades, have reduced its effects. The 20th century having gone, and while hope was growing that mass murder and destruction would also go with it, recent events appear to suggest that the twenty-first century is poised to become unnameable in its turn. In this paper a reflection is presented of the notion of war as annihilation, which emerges in contemporary international conflicts. This is followed by a review of the debate on the relationship between war, empire and crime. As a logical extension of the argument developed, war is described as a particularly devastating form of crime of the powerful. Finally, reflecting on the concept of ‘cosmopolitanism’, the discussion suggests that such a concept may offer legitimacy to those who invest their enthusiasm in supporting contemporary wars as well as to those who fight against them. The latter may find inspiration in the idea of a ‘critical’ cosmopolitanism.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
ID Code:9272
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Deposited On:26 Jul 2012 07:01
Last Modified:08 Feb 2013 13:19

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