Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Violent Reflexive Body Practices


by Limor Samimian-Darash, of The Hebrew University, Israel


In this article, I examine the bodily changes that soldiers undergo in an intensive counter-terrorism military training course. I argue that military draftees develop control and violent capabilities through Violent Reflexive Bodily Practices (VRBPs), a concept I introduce here. VRBPs, which form the core of training in this elite military unit, are simultaneously recursive, reflexive and reconstructive: they are expressed by the soldier’s body and inflicted upon his body, by using them more violence is created, and their aim is not breaking the body apart, but rebuilding it into a new entity. VRBPs are concrete body techniques that are not discussed through a broad theoretical or cultural approach but as a material and concrete experience that reconstructs individuals’ bodies. This article shows how ‘techniques of the body’ (Mauss, 1973) can be changed in a short period and reveals possible dynamics of habitually instilled capabilities.


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