Violence in Capitalism


Violence in Capitalism

Devaluing Life in an Age of Responsibility

James A. Tyner

270 pages


April 2018


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January 2016


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eBook (PDF)
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January 2016


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eBook (EPUB)
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January 2016


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About the Book

What, James Tyner asks, separates the murder of a runaway youth from the death of a father denied a bone-marrow transplant because of budget cuts? Moving beyond our culture’s reductive emphasis on whether a given act of violence is intentional—and may therefore count as deliberate murder—Tyner interrogates the broader forces that produce violence. His uniquely geographic perspective considers where violence takes place (the workplace, the home, the prison, etc.) and how violence moves across space.

Approaching violence as one of several methods of constituting space, Tyner examines everything from the way police departments map crime to the emergence of “environmental criminology.” Throughout, he casts violence in broad terms—as a realm that is not limited to criminal acts and one that can be divided into the categories of “killing” and “letting die.” His framework extends the study of biopolitics by examining the state’s role in producing (or failing to produce) a healthy citizenry. It also adds to the new literature on capitalism by articulating the interconnections between violence and political economy. Simply put, capitalism (especially its neoliberal and neoconservative variants) is structured around a valuation of life that fosters a particular abstraction of violence and crime.

Author Bio

James A. Tyner is a professor in the Department of Geography at Kent State University. He is the author of several books, including War, Violence, and Population: Making the Body Count, winner of the Meridian Book Award from the Association of American Geographers, and Iraq, Terror, and the Philippines’ Will to War.


“Encourages us to unpack the concept of violence in order to see previously unrecognized forms of violence.”—Times Literary Supplement

“This is a very important and timely book. Tyner has produced a cutting-edge appraisal of the relationship between violence and capitalism. His analysis is astute, meticulous, and penetrating—coaxing readers to reconsider most of what we thought we knew about the nature of violence. Violence in Capitalism is a powerful book from one of the discipline’s most inspired minds, advancing an argument that will undoubtedly set the pace for a great deal of scholarship to follow.”—Simon Springer, author of Violent Neoliberalism: Development, Discourse, and Dispossession in Cambodia

“The strength of this book lies in the chapters dealing specifically with structural violence. . . . Tyner provides ample evidence that structural violence creates socially sanctioned death of individuals deemed redundant. . . . A strong contribution to both the field of Marxist thought and to the study of violence. . . . Dr. Tyner grapples effectively with the abstraction of the concept of violence and provides ample evidence to redefine what is meant by violence. . . . An insightful book and one that I highly recommend to scholars interested in violence.”—Kari Forbes-Boyte, Historical Geography

“Tyner directly challenges preconceptions, requiring a modification of one’s worldview and, in many cases, one's own idealistic interpretation of space through time in the context of violence.”—L. Yacher, Choice

“Ranks as a revelation, forcing upon the reader a reconsideration of categories so long taken for granted—as well as the re-evaluation of the liberal framework that surrounds so many struggles for justice.”—Guy Lancaster, Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture

“The strength of this book lies in the chapters dealing specifically with structural violence. . . . An insightful book.”—Kari Forbes-Boyte, Historical Geography

"Violence in Capitalism is a stimulating book and a first-rate piece of scholarship by an important voice on the topic of violence in geography."—Steven M. Radil, Social & Cultural Geography

Table of Contents

1. The Abstraction of Violence
2. Materialism and Mode of Production
3. The Market Logics of Letting Die
4. The Violence of Redundancy
5. The Reality of Violence

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