Questions of complicity emerge within a range of academic disciplines and everyday practices. Using a wide range of case studies, this book explores the concept of and cases of complicity in an interdisciplinary context. It expands orthodox understandings of the concept by including the notion of structural complicity, revealing seemingly inconsequential, everyday forms of complicity; examining different kinds and degrees of individual and collective complicity; and introducing complicity as a lens through which to analyse and critically reflect upon social structures and relations. It also explores complicity through a series of cases emerging from a variety of academic disciplines and professional practices. Its various chapters reflect on, amongst other things, the complicity of politicians, self-proclaimed feminists, health care workers, fictional characters, social movement activists and academic defenders of torture.
1. Introducing Complicity, Afxentis Afxentiou, Robin Dunford and Michael Neu / Part I: Concepts / 2. Complicity and Responsibility, Thomas Docherty / 3. What is Complicity, and Who is Complicit in Democratic Societies?, Paul Reynolds / 4. 'Washed in the Blood': Unclean Hands and the Question of Complicity, Marika Rose / 5. Complicity: What is it, and how can it be avoided?, Pam Laidman / Part II: Cases / 6. Loyalty or Complicity?: The Moral Assessment of Silence in Jackie Kay's Trumpet, Cornelia Wächter / 7. Navigating Complicity in Contemporary Feminist Discourse, Giuliana Monteverde/ 8. Shades of White Complicity, The End Conscription Campaign and the Politics of White Liberal Ignorance in South Africa, Daniel Conway / 9. Intellectual Complicity in Torture, Bob Brecher and Michael Neu / 10. How Complicity is Understood in the Findings of UK Public Inquiries into Wrongdoing: The Hidden Role of Methods, Owen Thomas / 11. Grey Areas and Self-Licking Lollipops: Iraq War Detention Operations, Impunity and Complicity, Peter Finn / 12. To Look, to Comply, to Be Complicit: 21st Century Conflict, Nicolette Barsdorf-Liebchen / Index
Practices of complicity are as prevalent as they are under-theorised. This book seeks to redress this situation, and is highly recommended for its innovative and wide-ranging approach to the subject.
'Complicity in wrongdoing is complex, rife and too often overlooked. For all three reasons, a critical understanding of it is vital. This rich, engaging collection is just the place to start: shining searching light at diverse dimensions of a phenomenon the moral, political and cultural significance of which has arguably never been greater.'
A philosophically rich volume that commands reflection on explicit forms and implicit reaffirmations of individual and structural complicity. Comprehensive and nuanced, it posits a masterful account of the complexities associated with understanding and assigning blame, suggesting that being complicit in wrongdoing often cannot be helped. Thus, it provides an important challenge to current thinking about complicity - sharpening the debate.
Afxentis Afxentiou is a graduate student specialising in critical political thought at the University of Brighton.
Robin Dunford is a senior lecturer in globalisation and war at the University of Brighton.
Michael Neu is a senior lecturer in philosophy, politics and ethics at the University of Brighton.