Sociology of Torture
Image and Practice of Postmodern Torment
This work addresses torture with the ambition to strengthen a properly sociological approach to it by bringing to the fore the social history of the tortured, also through the fundamental contribution of the political economy. This category is not utilised in an abstract way, it is brought into the picture through the social history of the bodies of those tortured. These bodies are not considered mere biological bodies subjugated by ‘power’, but rather bodies with a voice, bodies capable of revealing their social standing. Placing the bodies’ class at the centre of the analysis allows us to fully grasp the sociological substance of torture, to understand the underlying reasons for its historical persistence and constant diffusion.
The book explores torture in a threefold way: firstly by analysing the image of torture as an effective hermeneutic tool of late modernity; secondly by adopting a historical perspective to identify structural elements and metamorphoses; thirdly by examining the concrete practices of torture to enable the establishment of a mutual relationship between history and biography.