chapter  6
16 Pages

The decline of the legitimate monopoly of violence and the return of non-state warriors

ByCihan Tuğal

This chapter explains how the post-9/11 world problematises one of sociology's major assumptions (the state's monopolisation of legitimate violence). It traces the social prehistory of non-state political violence to highlight continuities with today's intensifying religious violence. The chapter emphasises that the seemingly inevitable rise of non-state violence is inextricably tangled with the emergence of the subcontracting state. Neo-liberalisation aggravates the practico-ethical difficulties secular revolutionaries and religious radicals face ('the Fanonite dilemma' and 'the Qutbi dilemma'). ISIS represents the re-territorialisation of this rhizomic explosion, and promises a resolution of the Qutbi dilemma. Decentralised political violence will become a productive site for research precisely because the Fanonite and Qutbi dilemmas are not theoretically resolvable. Only empirical studies of ongoing processes of revolutionary violence, terror and securitisation can reveal the dynamics that might lead to fascism, total collapse or something closer to the militants' and thinkers' desires.