The art of hunger: Self-Starvation in the red army faction

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32 Citas (Scopus)


The founding generation of the Red Army Faction (RAF), a West German terrorist group, spent two frenzied years in the underground followed by five years in prison, culminating with the suicides of the group's leadersin 1976 and 1977. This paper examines the prison hunger strikes of the RAF as structured acts of communication that together with accompanying texts were central to a sustained media campaign run fromwithin prison. It examines the internal and external prison communication networks established to enable the coordination of the strikes as well as the discursive functions of the self-starvation of the RAF members. Within the prison system hunger was constructed as ' holy ' and ascribed a pseudo-religious function used tosupport a group identity and maintain an internal group discipline. In the texts produced for publication beyondthe prison walls, however, hunger became a central element in the RAF strategy to counter what it sawas a mainstream medicalization of terrorism. This, in turn, was the tool employed to repackage the group'sestablished rhetoric, as self-starvation allowed RAF prisoners to literally embody their long-standing ' antifascism' and ' anti-imperialism '.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)32-59
Número de páginas28
PublicaciónGerman History
EstadoPublicada - 1 ene. 2009

Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus

  • Historia


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