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Rene Girard: Violence and Mimesis

ISBN: 978-0-7456-2947-6
224 pages
September 2004, Polity
Rene Girard: Violence and Mimesis (0745629474) cover image


In recent years there has been a renewed interest in the work of René
Girard, thought by many to be one of the most important, if
controversial, cultural theorists of the twentieth century. Girard’s
work is extraordinarily innovative and wide-ranging, cutting across
central concerns in philosophy, psychoanalysis, literary theory,
anthropology, theology, and sociology.

In this much-needed introduction, Chris Fleming traces the development
of Girard’s thought over forty years, describing the context in which he
worked and his influence on a number of disciplines. He unpacks the
hypotheses at the centre of Girard’s thought – mimetic desire, surrogate
victimage and scapegoating, myth, ritual, and the sacred – and provides
an assessment of Girard’s place in the contemporary academy.

Comprehensive and clearly written, this book constitutes an excellent
overview of Girard’s work and is essential reading for students and
researchers in continental philosophy, theology, literary studies, French studies,
and cultural studies.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction.

2. Mimesis and Interdividual Psychology.

3. Generative Violence: The Scapegoat Mechanism.

4. Nonsacrificial Violence: Girard’s view of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures.

5. Girard’s influence on other disciplines.

6. Responses to the theory: Critiques of Girard.

7. Conclusion

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The Wiley Advantage

  • First book length treatment of René Girard
  • Written in an accessible and clear way
  • Will appeal to a range of disciplines
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"Fleming's book is an incisive and sure guide, which demonstrates a thorough knowledge of both Girard's thought and its place in twentieth-century thought...........In his succinct summary and commentary Fleming seeks neither to critique Geriard's writing nor to provide an alternative to reading it. He offers instead an invitation to the reader to explore further. In my view he covers the ground well. I would have trouble recommending it highly enough to students and teachers of theology." International Journal of Systematic Theology, Vol. 7
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