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Law and violence, law and order, social relations, interactional theory of law, law and the state


The unfortunate truth claim which I wish to pursue in this paper is that the deep structural presupposition (which is almost universal amongst lawyers and clearly dominant among lay people) that law and violence stand in stark opposition is false. I argue that violence is endemic to any conception of modern law, that it is authorized by the legislature and/or executive, sanctioned by the judiciary, and perpetrated by what are euphemistically called the forces of law and order - the police, the military et cetera. In brief, I wish to posit the disquieting thought that legal violence is a sine qua non of advanced western society.