Current US counterinsurgency doctrine is gendered diversely in the different geographic locations where it is formulated, put in practice, and experienced. Where Iraqi and Afghan populations are subjected to counterinsurgency and its attendant development policy, spaces are made legible in gendered ways, and people are targeted — for violence or 'nation-building' — on the basis of gender-categorisation. Second, this gendering takes its most incendiary form in the seam of encounter between counterinsurgent foot-soldiers and the locals, where sexuality is weaponised and gender is most starkly cross-hatched with class and race. Finally, in the Metropole, new masculinities and femininities are forged in the domain of counterinsurgency policymaking: While new soldier-scholars represent a softened masculinity, counterinsurgent women increasingly become visible in policy circles, with both using ostensibly feminist justifications for their involvement.
In the April 2010 Review of International Studies, Roland Paris argued that liberal peacebuilding is the only viable solution for rebuilding war-torn societies, and supported this by assailing critics of the liberal peace. In this article we challenge four key claims made by Paris: imposed and consensual peacebuilding are different experiences; there are no echoes of imperialism in modern peacebuilding; there is no alternative to the capitalist free market; and critics of the liberal peace are 'closet liberals'. We argue that Paris ignores the extent to which all peacebuilding strategies have had a core of common prescriptions: neoliberal policies of open markets, privatisation and fiscal restraint, and governance policies focused on enhancing instruments of state coercion and 'capacity building' — policies that have proved remarkably resilient even while the democracy and human rights components of the liberal peace have been substantially downgraded. There is little space to (formally) dissent from these policy prescriptions — whether international peacebuilders were originally invited in or not. Furthermore, the deterministic assumption by Paris that 'there is no alternative' is unjustifiable. Rather than trying to imagine competing meta-alternatives to liberalism, it is more constructive to acknowledge and investigate the variety of political economies in post-conflict societies rather than measuring them against a liberal norm.
This article addresses how entry into international society has been conceptualised, suggests a reconceptualisation that will make the concept more relational, and illustrates with a case study. Part one attempts a summary of relevant debates without the English School, and directs attention to the importance of how entrants draw on memories of its subject position in the suzerain system that it left as it entered international society. Part two discuses the experiences of Russia's predecessor polities, with the focus being on the place of Russian principalities within the suzerain system of the Golden Horde (ca. 1240-1500). I argue that Russia's basic stance towards European polities in the 16th and early 17th centuries is readily understandable in terms of a key memory, namely the one of being dominated by this polity, which was itself an outgrowth of the Mongol empire. Part three demonstrates how the resulting understanding of politics was confirmed by Russian experiences in the 16th and 17th centuries. I suggest that Russia never really let go of its memories of being part of a suzerain system, and that it is therefore still suspended somewhere in the outer tier of international society.
In January 2002, images of the detention of prisoners held at US Naval Station Guantanamo Bay as part of the Global War on Terrorism were released by the US Department of Defense, a public relations move that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld later referred to as 'probably unfortunate'. These images, widely reproduced in the media, quickly came to symbolise the facility and the practices at work there. Nine years on, the images of orange-clad 'detainees' — the 'orange series' — remain a powerful symbol of US military practices and play a significant role in the resistance to the site. However, as the site has evolved, so too has its visual representation. Official images of these new facilities not only document this evolution but work to constitute, through a careful (re)framing (literal and figurative), a new (re)presentation of the site, and therefore the identities of those involved. The new series of images not only (re)inscribes the identities of detainees as dangerous but, more importantly, work to constitute the US State as humane and modern. These images are part of a broader effort by the US administration to resituate its image, and remind us, as IR scholars, to look at the diverse set of practices (beyond simply spoken language) to understand the complexity of international politics.
The emergence of a new urban form, the global city, has attracted little attention from International Relations (IR) scholars, despite the fact that much progress has been made in conceptualising and mapping global cities and their networks in other fields. This article argues that global cities pose fundamental questions for IR theorists about the nature of their subject matter, and shows how consideration of the historical relationship between cities and states can illuminate the changing nature of the international system. It highlights how global cities are essential to processes of globalisation, providing a material and infrastructural backbone for global flows, and a set of physical sites that facilitate command and control functions for a decentralised global economy. It goes on to argue that the rise of the global city challenges IR scholars to consider how many of the assumptions that the discipline makes about the modern international system are being destabilised, as important processes deterritorialise at the national level and are reconstituted at different scales.
With the increasing influence of theocrats and other religious actors on policymakers and masses, recognising the agency of the clergy is crucial. This article uses the 'epistemic communities' framework to place the religious 'agents' in contemporary politics and it shows how hermeneutics can be treated as a form of 'episteme'. Until recently, this framework has been used to explain how scientific communities affect policymaking. Using the cases of South Africa and Northern Ireland, this article claims that religious actors, especially with their shared set of normative and principled beliefs as well as shared norms of validity, also meet the requirements of the epistemic community category. The employment of this established IR framework in theorising religious politics has the potential to shed light not only on peacebuilding and mediation, but also violent movements and terrorist organisations that use religion as justification.
The members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have been pursuing new cooperative security agendas - namely, confidence-building measures (CBMs), preventive diplomacy (PD), conflict resolution and a set of agendas associated with security communities. The ASEAN members' pursuit of these agendas should be seen as a set of instances of their mimetic adoption of external norms for the sake of legitimacy. They have mimetically been adopting a set of norms associated with the collective management of conflicts, which have been practiced by the participant states of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). They have been doing so, with the intention of securing their identities as legitimate members of the community of modern states, and of enhancing the status of ASEAN and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) as legitimate cooperative security institutions.
Current discourses about the everyday in relation to international peace interventions focus on two main aspects. First, the perceived quality or qualities of everyday life tend to be attributed to 'local' organisations or actors and assessed positively. Second, the control of life (including bio-political control and governance) tends to be associated with 'international' actors and viewed negatively. This article challenges these key assumptions by contextualising them in social and political theories of the everyday and in two key examples: 'affective' peacebuilding in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and 'threatworks' in Northern Ireland. It also calls for an approach to the 'everyday' in international interventions which moves beyond local/international power dynamics and is attentive to the pluralities of power and practice that emerge in these settings.
Did Britain reinvade the Falklands because of its 'identity'? Or was reinvasion instead required by its 'role' in international politics? In this article I show that a complete constructivist explanation of Britain's response must consider both its identity affirmation, which constructivist International Relations (IR) theory would certainly draw attention to, but also the role it played on the world stage at the beginning of the 1980s, which would very likely be overlooked. I show that a solely identity-based explanation is incomplete and ultimately unpersuasive since identities are affirmed by playing social roles, which give identity meaning. In 1982, a number of roles could have fulfilled this function for Britain; it is important then that Britain chose and was able to play the role of a status quo oriented power rather than that of a colonial power. Beyond offering a more complete interpretation of the events, the article clarifies the links between roles, identity, and action in international politics, and the type of theory appropriate to such analysis.
The article ventures a critique of the logic of 'temporal othering' in contemporary International Relations (IR) theory. Originally articulated in the field of European integration, this logic presupposes a possibility for a political community to constitute its identity without any spatial delimitation by means of casting as Other its own past, whose repetition in the future it seeks to avoid. While the image of contemporary Europe as 'othering' its own past has been subjected to empirical criticism, this article makes a conceptual argument for the indissociability of temporal and spatial aspects in any act of othering. Drawing on Alexandre Kojève's reading of Hegel, I argue that any historical action is necessarily spatiotemporal, combining the abstraction of temporal negation with the concrete actuality of a negated spatial being. Alternatives to the logic of sovereign territoriality are therefore not to be sought in the temporal aspect of othering, but rather by pursuing the possibility of self-constitution in the absence of any negating action whatsoever. The article concludes with an outline of such an alternative ethos, developed on the basis of Giorgio Agamben's reconstruction of the Hegelian-Kojèvian problematic of the end of history and his theory of the subject.
'Legitimacy' is commonly cited as one of three fundamental mechanisms of social control within both domestic politics and international society. However, despite growing attention to the legitimacy of global governance, little consideration has been given to the identity of the political communities that must grant legitimacy to an international organisation or to the conditions under which legitimacy is valuable for the functioning of that organisation. In raising and responding to these questions, this article rejects the argument that actors must gain legitimacy among all subject social constituencies within their political realm of action. Instead, the importance of legitimacy within a particular constituency is a variable. The article labels this variable a 'legitimacy nexus' and outlines five factors that are hypothesised to contribute to calibrating a legitimacy nexus. The plausibility of the proposed schema is explored through discussion of the role of legitimacy in the trade regime and analysis of the origins of the International Labour Organization's anomalous tripartite representative structure.
This article considers the status of genealogy among research methods currently taught, learned and used in International Relations (IR). The article makes two claims. The first is that genealogy is a unique research tool, but not radically different from the rest of the qualitative-interpretative arsenal more commonly found in the discipline. The second is that genealogy can be used in the pursuit of epistemologically varied truth-claims, including those regarding causal connections.
The international relations literature on regionalism, both in economic and security issues, has grown dramatically over the last 15 years. One of the ongoing issues discussed in most articles and books is the conceptualisation of 'region'. Instead of thinking about regions using notions of interdependence and interaction we take a social constructivist approach, whereby states themselves define regions via the construction of regional economic institutions (REI). We explore how a conceptualisation of region based on REIs contrasts with various related concepts such as regional system, and regional IGO. Empirically, we show that most all countries belong to at least one important regional economic institution, REI, (for example, EU, Mercosur, ASEAN, etc). In short, the world is dividing itself into regions by the creation of regional economic institutions. We contrast our economic-institutional approach to regions with Buzan and Wæver's 'regional security complexes' which is based on security dependence. There are interesting agreements and disagreements between their approach and our economic-institutional approach to defining regions. It is perhaps not surprising that many REIs have taken on security roles, which we briefly show by looking at military alliances embedded in REIs. This suggests that policymakers are creating regions through institutional innovations that link economic and security issues.
This study explores the relationship between principles of distributive justice (DJ) and the durability of negotiated agreements. Sixteen peace agreements negotiated during the early 1990s were coded for the centrality of each of four principles of DJ — equality, proportionality, compensation, and need — to the core terms of the agreement. The agreements were also assessed on scales of implementation and durability over a five-year period. Another variable included in the analysis was the difficulty of the conflict environment. These data were used to evaluate three sets of hypotheses: the relationship between DJ and durability, the role of the conflict environment, and types of DJ principles. The results obtained from both statistical and focused-comparison analyses indicate that DJ moderates the relationship between conflict environments and outcomes: when principles of justice are central to an agreement, the negative effects of difficult conflict environments are reduced; when principles are not central, the negative effects of difficulty are heightened. These relationships are accounted for primarily by one of the four DJ principles — equality. Implications of these findings are discussed along with a number of ideas for further research.
Expanding on the works of Beck and others on the growing business of risk, this article examines the role of the private security industry in the creation, management and perpetuation of the world risk society. It observes that the replacement of the concept of security with risk over the past decades has permitted private firms to identify a growing range of unknown and unknown-unknown dangers which cannot be eliminated, but require permanent risk management. Using the discourse of risk and its strategies of commercialised, individualised and reactive risk management, the private risk industry thus has contributed to the rise of a world risk society in which the demand for security can never be satisfied and guarantees continuous profits.
Infectious disease outbreaks primarily affect communities of individuals with little reference to the political borders which contain them; yet, the state is still the primary provider of public health capacity. This duality has profound effects for the way disease is framed as a security issue, and how international organisations, such as the World Health Organization, assist affected countries. The article seeks to explore the role that domestic political relationships play in mediating the treatment of diseases as security issues. Drawing upon an analysis of the securitisation of avian influenza in Vietnam and Indonesia, the article discusses the effect that legitimacy, competing referents and audiences have on the external and internal policy reactions of states to infectious diseases, specifically in their interpretation of disease as a security threat. In doing so, we extend upon existing debates on the Copenhagen School's securitisation framework, particularly on the impact of domestic political structures on securitisation processes in non-Western, non-democratic and transitional states.
This article provides a critique of the discourse of 'failed states', and outlines an alternative approach. It is argued that by taking the model of the modern state for granted, and by analysing all states in terms of their degree of correspondence with or deviation from this ideal, this discourse does not help us understand the nature of the states in question, or the processes that lead to strong or weak states. Instead, the idea of the state should be treated as a category of practice and not as a category of analysis. Post-colonial state formation could then be analysed by focusing on the inter-relationship between the idea of the state and actual state practices, and on the ways that states have become linked to domestic society on the one hand and their relations with the external world on the other.
Over the last two decades, there has been a 'democratic turn' in peace and conflict research, that is, the peculiar impact of democratic politics on a wide range of security issues has attracted more and more attention. Many of these studies are inspired by Immanuel Kant's famous essay on 'Perpetual Peace'. In this article, we present a critical discussion of the 'democratic distinctiveness programme' that emerged from the Democratic Peace debate and soon spread to cover a wider range of foreign policy issues. The bulk of this research has to date been based on an overly optimistic reading of a 'Kantian peace'. In particular, the manifold forms of violence that democracies have exerted, have been treated either as a challenge to the Democratic Peace proposition or as an undemocratic contaminant and pre-democratic relict. In contrast, we argue that forms of 'democratic violence' should no longer be kept at arm's length from the democratic distinctiveness programme but instead should be elevated to a main field of study. While we acknowledge the benefits of this expanding research programme, we also address a number of normative pitfalls implied in this scholarship such as lending legitimacy to highly questionable foreign policy practices by Western democracies. We conclude with suggestions for a more self-reflexive and 'critical' research agenda of a 'democratically turned' peace and conflict studies, inspired by the Frankfurt school tradition.
Belief that images have become the critical 'weapon' in contemporary warfare has enjoyed great currency in the past decade. This belief rests upon certain understandings about the impact visual footage of terrorist attacks or still images of the abuse of prisoners have had on public opinion in different parts of the world. These understandings, in turn, reflect simplistic models of representation and mediation in which citizens are assumed to know little of the 'true' situation of war but are easily and primarily shocked by unexpected graphic images. To explore these relationships, this article presents analysis of original research from a three-year study of military practitioners, media coverage of security events, and collaborative audience ethnography across towns and cities in the UK. While military practitioners feel frustration that communicating with publics is 'like talking to a brick wall', analysis of audience interpretations of Abu Ghraib and other events suggests varied and negotiated understandings in which audiences account for processes of mediation as well as reflect on the event being represented. Images cannot necessarily be considered primary to explaining how an individual interprets a news story, and, to the extent and manner in which images do matter, this often depends on what longer historical narratives such images are situated within — by media or audiences themselves. No image is intrinsically shocking. For policymakers concerned with public diplomacy, for journalists and for audiences themselves there is a need for further research into the role images — Weber's 'visual language' — play amid today's conditions of diffused war.
This article aims to understand the phenomenon of international terrorism by wedding a constructivist understanding of terrorism with an overview of the historical evolution of the state. The Westphalian state has replaced three types of authority: religious, personal and local. Political challenges to the modern international system inevitably derive their claim to legitimacy from one of these other forms of authority. I argue that there is a correlation between the kind of legitimacy claim a 'terrorist' cause is based on and how threatening we find the activities based on that claim. The less the distance between the unrecognised legitimacy claim on the one hand and the principles conferring legitimacy in the modern states system on the other, the less ontologically threatening we find the claimants to be. All historical variants of modern 'terrorism' fall into one of two categories of disruptive activity. They are either based in claims to local authority and target only particular states, or in claims to personal and/or religious authority and reject the modern states system altogether. Groups labelled as terrorist can therefore be classified as systemaffirming or system-threatening. The former is a contained problem, but the latter has followed geographically broadening spread pattern throughout the international system.