Political Violence in South and Southeast Asia

Critical Perspectives

image of Political Violence in South and Southeast Asia
This volume explores the sources and manifestations of political violence in South and Southeast Asia and the myriad roles that it plays in everyday life. It considers and critiques the manner in which political violence is understood and constructed, and the common assumptions that prevail regarding the causes, victims and perpetrators of this violence. By focusing on the social and political context of these regions the volume presents a critical understanding of the nature of political violence and provides an alternative narrative to that found in mainstream analysis of ‘terrorism’. Political Violence in South and Southeast Asia brings together political scientists and anthropologists with intimate knowledge of the politics and society of these regions, from different academic backgrounds, who present unique perspectives on topics including assassinations, riots, state violence, the significance of borders, external influences and intervention, and rebellion.



Subversion, secession and the state in South Asia: Varieties of violence

The sovereign territorial state is a totalizing actor at the best of times. At the worst of times, when it feels threatened, the state may respond with force and violence. Yet the sovereign state is inherently susceptible to perceiving threats. The seeds of subversion are everywhere, waiting to sprout at an opportune moment. From a totalizing perspective, all social groups supposedly subordinate and subsumed are always potentially subversive. This presumption is reflected in state responses to a wide variety of violence, be it left-wing or right-wing insurgency or ethno-cultural movements. In this chapter we shall substantiate this argument in the concrete contexts of South Asia and develop an understanding of these cycles of violence.


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