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ManhuntsA Philosophical History$
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Grégoire Chamayou

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151656

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151656.001.0001

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The Hunting Pack and Lynching

The Hunting Pack and Lynching

(p.99) Chapter 9 The Hunting Pack and Lynching

Grégoire Chamayou

Steven Rendall

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers situations in which, independent of the impetus provided by a central power, a pack sometimes assembles in spite of itself, sometimes even against itself, for a manhunt. For there to be a pack, individuals have to gather together. A pack is a collective being that draws its strength from numbers. Once caught, the prey will succumb to a multitude of blows or bites: all the pack's members will have killed the prey, but none of them will be the killer. The pack deindividualizes its members. Its unity is merely temporary, however. Once the hunt is over, it disperses. The question of manhunts as forms of collective mobilization is thus constantly raised in terms of the enigmatic resurgence or mysterious relapse into a primitive barbarity. So the riddle can be formulated this way: how can archaic violence reemerge at the very heart of civilization? A case in point is the event of lynching. Feminists have proposed a theory of the continuum of sexist violence. The thesis holds equally well for racist violence.

Keywords:   pack hunting, manhunting, manhunts, lynching, racist violence, sexist violence, collective mobilization

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