Frontiers, violence and time: some wittgensteinian themes

Veena Das

Much recent work on violence has suggested that in contemplating violence we reach some kind of limit in our capacity to represent. Large scale acts of violence such as during the Partition of India in 1947 provide a "stage of horror". The story of a Punjabi urban family presents the ethnographic context for pondering on how healing requires the domestication of violence. In bringing Wittgenstenian themes to Anthropology, the author elucidates the way in which "the work of time", rather than its image or representation, puts the limits of humanhood to the test whenever language is insufficient or is simply absent.

Violence; Anthropology; Wittgenstein; India; Time


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