The Silence of Words: On Terror and War

Journal article

Beck, Ulrich (2003) The Silence of Words: On Terror and War, Security Dialogue 34 (3).

The terrorist resistance against globalization has had an effect directly counter to its aims: It has introduced a new era of globalization. In this new form of globalization, the focus is not on the obsolescence of the state as the sole form of the political, but rather on the transnational reinvention of the political through networking and cooperation. The violence of 11 September 2001 stands for the failure of traditional state-based concepts like ‘war’ and ‘peace’, ‘friend’ and ‘foe’, ‘war’ and ‘crime’ to seize, analyse and propose approaches to the new geopolitical reality. We live, think and act in terms of concepts that are historically obsolete but that nonetheless continue to govern our thinking and acting. This article seeks to name the silence of certain concepts and to measure the distance between concept and reality by bringing the concept of ‘risk society’ to bear on the new problems that face us in the ‘global risk society’.

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