The miracle of generative violence. René Girard and the use of force in International law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this article, I apply René Girard's theory of generative violence to the international law relating to the use of force. I argue that texts of international law make gestures of referral towards an immanent normativity on the fettering of divine violence. The means to this end is a form of sacrificial violence that seeks to promote the preservation and cohesion of the ‘international community’. The structuring of this violence through international law and its repeated staging reproduces the relationship of prophecy to miracle. Empirically, I draw mainly on excerpts from the 2006 US National Security Strategy.


  • Gregor Noll
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law


  • Girard, National Security Strategy, necessity, use of force, pre-emption, gesture, weapons of mass destruction, violence, mänskliga rättigheter, human rights
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-580
JournalLeiden Journal of International Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch