Even on the Road, Violence Is Not the Same as Power

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Lives are “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” because of the constant threat of arbitrary acts of violence, often committed in enclaves ruled by warlords or on the open road. The Mad Max movies seem to depict a world where people are in a vicious Hobbesian state of nature. Thomas Hobbes’s infamous state of nature presents a frightening scenario in which rational but appetite-driven individuals realize that the absence of government causes insecurity so intense that they agree to transfer their freedom to a single, absolute sovereign who is capable of delivering security. The spectacular displays of brutality in Mad Max films make it easy to forget there was once a political order, but that past has not been extinguished from memory and myth. The Mad Max movies show that, even amid brutal violence, power is more effectively used when mediated by rituals, habits, myths, and titles that grant authority to the holder of power.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMad Max and Philosophy Thinking Through the Wasteland
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781119870517
ISBN (Print)9781119870487
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024


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