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The Illusion of Good Violence in Counterterrorism


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Guest: Dr. Sondre Lindahl (University of Otago)

Room: 4429, SOAS University of London main building

Chair: Esther Hodges (SOAS)

The US-led Global War on Terror has since 2001 been defined by the use of overwhelming and brutal violence. Military invasions, torture and human rights abuse, extrajudicial killings and extraditions, and a rampant drone program are all central elements in the conflict. Yet, despite all this violence, or perhaps because of it, we seem to be living in an age of terror. There is a need to discover genuine solutions that go beyond the reflexive application of massive counter-violence.

During this talk, Dr. Lindahl will examine the concept of violence, and argue that a key reason the war on terror has failed – and will continue to do so – is because of the core assumption that good violence can be used to fight bad violence for good causes. To break out of this vicious cycle of violence and counter-violence, Dr. Lindahl will go on to argue that it is necessary to challenge the use of the illusion of good violence and replace violent counterterrorism with non-violent alternatives. Fundamentally, successful prevention of terrorism comes down to providing security with others, and not at their expense.

Dr. Sondre Lindahl holds a PhD from the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago. His research interests are international relations, terrorism, counterterrorism, security and philosophy, and he has presented his research at conferences in New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, and the UK.
He appears regularly in the Norwegian media to comment on issues of terrorism and counterterrorism, and he is currently in the process of publishing a number of articles on alternatives to violent counterterrorism.

Esther Hodges is a Postgraduate Research Associate for the Centre on Conflict, Rights and Justice. She is completing her Masters in International Politics at SOAS, and holds a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Oxford.

Hosted by: Centre on Conflict, Rights and Justice

This is a free event.