Introduction: shock and awe – violence as political
Of what use is violence? Why is conflict practised through the infliction of pain and death? These are questions worth reflecting on. The utility of violent acts often goes unquestioned. Within international relations (IR), in particular, we take the association of political conflict with violence as pre-given. Guns and bombs help us to get what we want. But how does violence function? Of what use is killing and injuring?