The article aims to provide a general overview of the major lines of understanding of violence that have arisen in contemporary political thought. The first section considers the mutual relationship between violence and political power in order to stress the intimate link between the legal system of the state and the coercive force necessary to guarantee it: for this purpose, the author refers in particular to some statements pointed out by authors such as Weber, Benjamin, Schmitt and Popitz. Other strands of thought are also considered in aim to underline that the definition of the political violence always results from the interpretation of its relationship with the phenomenon of power. The second section take in account the case of revolutionary violence in order to examine the ‘counterviolence’, that is the violence as a means employed against the political power. Reference is made to the Marxist tradition to consider the case of the class revolutionary violence, the so-called ‘proletarian violence’, and to ponder some practical and theoretical problems resulting from it. The last section explores some issues that have recently emerged about the political interpretation of the violence, such as its relationship with the media and the case of the ‘new’ terroristic violence.
Keywords: Violenza, potere politico, conflitto sociale, rivoluzione, marxismo, terrorismo