This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book highlights the discrepancy between “professed legal and moral conviction”-an almost universal condemnation of torture-and actual practice: torture is widespread, even epidemic. It examines the social context of torture, particularly the structural and situational conditions that make torture necessary as an instrument of policy in the eyes of the relevant authorities and the conditions that make torture possible for those individuals and organizations who are asked to implement this policy. The book looks at the societal context of torture, arguing that torture is a form of group violence that is often committed together with other kinds, such as mass killings. It explores the definition of torture and the legal instruments to combat it. Dr. Hugo Fruhling thought that the battle against torture had been won once and for all.

Erasmus University Rotterdam

Crelinsten, R.D. (Ronald D.), & Schmid, A. (Alex). (2019). Introduction: The politics of pain. In The Politics of Pain: Torturers and Their Masters (pp. 1–11). doi:10.4324/9780429313929-1