In common-sense usage, violence is usually conceptualized as intentional physical harm. This makes violence identifiable, locatable, and it facilitates the governing of those identified as committing infractions upon the non-violent community. In this article it is illustrated how this conception of violence legitimates the state by blocking the state's own foundational violence from critical scrutiny. It argues that the liberal state rests on the differentiation between active and reactive violence, whereby the latter is seen as the legitimate violence of the people against violent infractions committed by private individuals. The concept of a 'regime of violence' describes the relation between various forms of violence, i.e. their selective and differential articulation and negation. Regimes of violence constitute a way of governing conduct in the medium of violence. The current regime of violence consists of what is called a trias violentiae, which is a specific conception of the relations and translations between private violence, state violence and structural violence.

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Keywords social theory, state, subject, trias violentiae, violence
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Journal European Journal of Social Theory
Schinkel, W. (2013). Regimes of Violence and the Trias Violentiae. European Journal of Social Theory, 16(3), 310–325. doi:10.1177/1368431013476537