As a contribution to the Common Knowledge symposium on the resolution and prevention of enmity, this article concerns how enmity deforms social as well as individual personality. Societies need time and must exert significant effort, much of it intellectual, in order to recuperate: they need to recover both from harms that others have intentionally done them and from having done harm to others. Social recuperation is difficult because the tactics and standards of wartime seep into civilian and personal domestic life. In contemporary American life, the proliferation of armed and gated communities, the institution of the house gun, the general acquiescence in stop-and-frisk encounters, and the incarceration in huge numbers of gang members and small-time drug dealers are examples. An inverse relationship of wartime and peacetime abuses is also apparent: behaviors associated with civilian private life are deployed during wartime as techniques with which to humiliate and torture enemy combatants. This type of mimetic effect reaches the limit of complexity when wartime abuses that mirror domestic abuses are then mirrored in their further application to domestic settings that themselves have become militarized.
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Nancy Scheper-Hughes; WOUNDED: Getting On and Off a War Footing. Common Knowledge 1 September 2015; 21 (3): 437–450. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0961754X-3130966
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