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ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF CRITICAL INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
 9781315692449, 1315692449

Table of contents :
Cover
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
List of figures
List of contributors
Acknowledgements
Introduction
Critique and the discipline
Relations beyond humanity
Art and narrative
War, religion, security
Otherness and diplomacy
Spaces and times
Resistance
Intimacy and embodiment
Bibliography
Part I: Critique and the discipline
1. Imperialism and limits of critique
Introduction
Part I
Theory and the nature of critique
Historical materialism and the question of history
Part II
Imperialism and the question of world orders
Practice and the problem of critique
Notes
References
2. How to criticize without ever becoming acritic
Introduction
The poietic paradigm
The critic as the political subject
The immanent politicization of the discipline
Critique and identity: critical IR after the ‘Great Debates’
Bibliography
3. The empty neighbourhood: Race and disciplinary silence
‘Scientific study of international relations’
An error of omission?
The birthing of IR
IR as anthropology: IR returns to South Africa
Conclusion
Notes
References
Part II: Relations beyond humanity
4. Can international relations confront the cosmos?
Radical finitude and global extinction
Radical infinitude and cosmic expansionism
Conclusion
Note
References
5. Relating to relational worlds: Critical theory, relational thought and relational cosmology
Relationality, positivism and critical theory
Differing imaginations of relationality in IR
From human relations to posthuman relations and cosmological relations
Turn to cosmology
Relations without an end: towards re-relating
Conclusion
Notes
References
6. Confronting horror: International relations beyond humanity
The horror(s) of Aleppo
The horror of the unacceptable or intolerable image
International relations facing horror
International relations and non-humanization
Facing Aleppo?
References
Part III: Art and narrative
7. For Alex: The art of International Relations
Distance, representation and uncovering
Encounter and destabilization
Collaboration and creativity
For Alex
References
8. Ways of seeing/ways of being in critical IR
The Washington family
We might be looking, but not seeing
Monuments
Note
References
9. Narrative and inquiry in international politics
Introduction
Thinking across professional fractures
The impossibility of sovereignty
Subjectivity and narrative
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Part IV: War, religion, security
10. Critical war studies
Introduction
War decentred: the obscure object of International Relations
The logics of instrumentalism
‘Securing’ war: the critical conjuncture
The worlds war makes: generative ontology and war/truth
Generative war and critical thought: fighting, meaning and excess
War/truth: power, knowledge and truth economies
Generating societies: identity, memory and narrative power
Critical War Studies looking forward: war/truth at (and as) the intersection
Conclusion: war and the ethos of critique
Note
Bibliography
11. Being ‘critical’ of/about/on ‘religion’ in International Relations
Introduction
The neglect of religion in International Relations
Displacing secularism in International Relations
The politics of religion and secularism in practice
War, security and military strategy
Development and humanitarianism
Human rights
Forced migration
Law and public life
Gender and sexuality
Freedom of religion or belief
Alternatives to secularism
Note
Bibliography
12. Seeing radicalisation?: The pedagogy of the Prevent strategy
Knowing ‘radicalisation:’ aesthetic practice and somatic politics
The pedagogy of ‘pre-criminal space:’ the making of the professional gaze
‘Case study 1’
Non-expert ‘awareness’
Intuition-based action
Fictional reintegration and its aesthetics
About critique and critical junctures
Bibliography
Part V: Otherness and diplomacy
13. The politics of otherness: Illustrating the identity/alterity nexus and othering in IR
Introduction: how can we live together peacefully in aworld that is made up of difference?
Conceptualizing difference: how do we think about identity and difference, and what are the consequences of how we view difference?
Illustrating difference and othering practices
U.S.national identity, foreign policy and otherness: how do national identity and identity formation processes occur and develop at different levels, times and dimensions, and how do they relate to foreign policy and threats?
Russia and the European self/other identity discourses: how do discourses of differentiation and identification help construct state identities and interests?
U.S.–Iran relations: how do otherness and othering practices express themselves in foreign and security policy discourses, narratives, images and popular culture? How is policy impacted?
Germany and the refugee crisis in Europe: how do tolerance, religion, memory and emotions relate to identity and state behaviour?
Implications and consequences of othering practices: what are the ethical considerations regarding the way we chose to treat the other?
Concluding remarks
Notes
Bibliography
14. Abusive fidelities: Diplomacy, translation, and the genres of man
Diplomatic/colonial theatre
Diplomatic/duplicitous affairs
Origins, copies, and originals
Ethico-political and heterological reorientations
Fabrics and fabrications: diplomatic gifts, texts, and textiles
The gift of pluralization
Thick translation/deep diplomacy
Wrap-up: abusive fidelity, negotiation of the negation
Notes
References
15. Why Octavio Paz matters
Introduction
‘Concrete’ people matter
The role of the critic
History as a‘box of surprises’
‘Politics of knowing’
Pedagogic counsel
Conclusion
Acknowledgement
Note
References
Part VI: Spaces and times
16. Racing to the bottom, squeezing through the cracks: Imagining unbordered space
Introduction
Postcolonial melancholia: the narrative bordering of space and subjectivity
Institutional and emotional governance: desire and the imaginary other
Imagining the impossible: narratives of hope
Note
Bibliography
17. Ethics, critique and space in international politics
Limiting grounds: ethics and space
Towards acritical ethics of other spaces
Acritical international ethics of global cities
Proximate relations of indifference
Distant relations of responsibility
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
18. Critique and the international: Horizons, traces, finitude
Horizons
Traces
Finitude
Conclusion
References
Part VII: Resistance
19. The permutations of ‘taking’ political action
Introduction
Who is asubject of politics?
Che vuoi? or what does the other want? The limits of identification and political recognition
Traversing the fantasy: from anxiety to acting out and passage à l’acte
Anxiety and protest
From ‘acting out’ to passage à l’acte
Conclusion: ‘a subject that is acting politically’
Bibliography
20. The carnivalesque and resistance
Introduction
Carnival displacements and the political
‘Feast of time’ and carnivalesque resistance
Carnivalising ‘war on terror’: the grotesque and the stately
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Part VIII: Intimacy and embodiment
21. Bodies and embodiment in IR
Dead bodies
Embodiment and emotional/affective relations
Note
Bibliography
22. The intimate and the international: Love, sexuality, and queer feminist IR
Intimacy in/and IR
Normative, ethical, methodological
Unsettling categories, certainties, and scales
Possibilities for critique: the border in IR
Conclusion: On building an intimate IR?
Notes
Bibliography
23. Henri Lefebvre and the production of theory: Aghost story
Introducing Lefebvre
Lefebvre’s work
Rhythmanalysis
Copy-editing
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Citation preview

ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF CRITICAL INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Critical international relations is both firmly established and rapidly expanding, and this Handbook offers a wide-ranging survey of contemporary research. It affords insights into exciting developments, more challenging issues and less prominent topics, examining debates around questions of imperialism, race, gender, ethics and aesthetics, and offering both an overview of the existing state of critical international politics and an agenda-setting collection that highlights emerging areas and fosters future research. Sections cover: critique and the discipline; relations beyond humanity; art and narrative; war, religion and security; otherness and diplomacy; spaces and times; resistance; and embodiment and intimacy. An international group of expert scholars, whose contributions are commissioned for the volume, provide chapters that facilitate teaching at advanced undergraduate and postgraduate level, inspire new generations of researchers in the field and promote collaboration, crossfertilisation and inspiration across sub-fields often treated separately, such as feminism, postcolonialism and poststructuralism. The volume sees these strands as complementary not contradictory, and emphasises their shared political goals, shared theoretical resources and complementary empirical practices. Each chapter offers specific, focused, in-depth analysis that complements and exemplifies the broader coverage, making this Routledge Handbook of Critical International Relations essential reading for all students and scholars of international relations. Jenny Edkins is Professor of Politics at The University of Manchester. She taught previously at Aberystwyth University and the Open University. Her monographs include Face Politics (2015), Missing: Persons and Politics (2011), Trauma and the Memory of Politics (2003) and Whose Hunger? Concepts of Famine, Practices of Aid (2000). Her most recent book, Change and the Politics of Certainty, is forthcoming with Manchester University Press. In addition to her academic writing, she explores fiction, autobiography and other literary forms. She is engaged in several collaborative ventures, including the Gregynog Ideas Lab and the highly-regarded Routledge book series Interventions.

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ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF CRITICAL INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Edited by Jenny Edkins

First published 2019 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2019 selection and editorial matter, Jenny Edkins; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Jenny Edkins to be identified as the author of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Edkins, Jenny, author. Title: Routledge handbook of critical international relations / edited by Jenny Edkins. Description: Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY : Routledge, 2019. | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2018053780 (print) | LCCN 2019004298 (ebook) | ISBN 9781315692449 (eBook) | ISBN 9781138907225 (hardback) | ISBN 9781315692449 (ebk) Subjects: LCSH: International relations–Philosophy. Classification: LCC JZ1305 (ebook) | LCC JZ1305 .R68398 2019 (print) | DDC 327.101–dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2018053780 ISBN: 978-1-138-90722-5 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-315-69244-9 (ebk) Typeset in Bembo by Swales & Willis, Exeter, Devon, UK

CONTENTS

List of figures List of contributors Acknowledgements

viii ix xiv

Introduction Jenny Edkins

1

PART I

Critique and the discipline

9

1 Imperialism and limits of critique Latha Varadarajan

11

2 How to criticize without ever becoming a critic Sergei Prozorov

23

3 The empty neighbourhood: race and disciplinary silence Vineet Thakur and Peter Vale

34

PART II

Relations beyond humanity

49

4 Can International Relations confront the cosmos? Audra Mitchell

v

51

Contents

5 Relating to relational worlds: critical theory, relational thought and relational cosmology Milja Kurki 6 Confronting horror: international relations beyond humanity François Debrix

65

77

PART III

Art and narrative

89

7 For Alex: the art of International Relations Debbie Lisle

91

8 Ways of seeing/ways of being in critical IR Aida A. Hozić

105

9 Narrative and inquiry in international politics Elizabeth Dauphinee

114

PART IV

War, religion, security

127

10 Critical war studies Shane Brighton

129

11 Being ‘critical’ of/about/on ‘religion’ in International Relations Erin K. Wilson

143

12 Seeing radicalisation? The pedagogy of the Prevent strategy Erzsébet Strausz and Charlotte Heath-Kelly

161

PART V

Otherness and diplomacy

177

13 The politics of otherness: illustrating the identity/alterity nexus and othering in IR Sybille Reinke de Buitrago and Erica Resende

179

14 Abusive fidelities: diplomacy, translation, and the genres of man Sam Okoth Opondo

194

vi

Contents

15 Why Octavio Paz matters Siddharth Mallavarapu

214

PART VI

Spaces and times

229

16 Racing to the bottom, squeezing through the cracks: imagining unbordered space Catarina Kinnvall

231

17 Ethics, critique and space in international politics Dan Bulley

246

18 Critique and the international: horizons, traces, finitude Tom Lundborg

261

PART VII

Resistance

273

19 The permutations of ‘taking’ political action Andreja Zevnik

275

20 The carnivalesque and resistance Tatevik Mnatsakanyan

288

PART VIII

Intimacy and embodiment

303

21 Bodies and embodiment in IR Lauren Wilcox

305

22 The intimate and the international: love, sexuality, and queer feminist IR Megan Daigle

319

23 Henri Lefebvre and the production of theory: a ghost story Yvonne Rinkart

334

Index

351

vii

FIGURES

7.1 7.2 8.1

Bern O’Donoghue, ‘Dead Reckoning’. Installation Debbie Lisle, ‘Tennis ball’ Edward Savage, ‘The Washington Family’, 1789–1796, oil on canvas Andrew W. Mellon Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

viii

99 101 107

CONTRIBUTORS

Shane Brighton is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Queen’s University Belfast. His research takes a critical, interdisciplinary approach to security policy, military history and the political theory of armed conflict. Drawing on political sociology and postcolonial theory, he is particularly interested in the historical development of warfare and armed conflict in imperial and colonial contexts. With Tarak Barkawi, he has sought to develop the idea of ‘Critical War Studies’. Dr Brighton has published in, amongst other places, International Affairs, The Cambridge Review of International Affairs and International Political Sociology. Dan Bulley is Reader in International Relations and Director of the Centre for Global Politics, Economy and Society (GPES) at Oxford Brookes University. His research explores the role of ethics, power and space in international politics, with a particular focus on hospitality, migration, global cities, refugee camps and the EU. He is the author of two books, Ethics as Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2009) and Migration, Ethics and Power (Sage, 2017). Megan Daigle is Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Birmingham. Her first book, From Cuba with Love: Sex and Money in the Twenty-First Century, was published by the University of California Press in 2015. Her research interests lie in gender and sexuality, particularly relative to security and development in the Global South, as well as feminist, queer, poststructuralist and postcolonial theories. Elizabeth Dauphinee is Professor in the Department of Politics at York University, Toronto. She is the author of The Ethics of Researching War (Manchester University Press, 2007) and The Politics of Exile (Routledge, 2013), as well as the founding editor of the openaccess Journal of Narrative Politics. François Debrix is Professor of Political Science and Director of the ASPECT programme at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, Virginia. More recently, he is the author of Global Powers of Horror: Security, Politics, and the Body in Pieces (Routledge, 2017) and (with Alex Barder) of Beyond Biopolitics: Theory, Violence, and Horror in World Politics (Routledge, 2012). He is presently working on a volume (co-edited with Caroline Alphin) on the topic of ‘soft or ix

Contributors

slow’ killing and mundane or commonplace death and death-making in international politics, to be published by Routledge. Jenny Edkins is Professor of Politics at the University of Manchester. She taught previously at Aberystwyth University and the Open University. Her monographs include Face Politics (Routledge, 2015), Missing: Persons and Politics (Cornell University Press, 2011), Trauma and the Memory of Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and Whose Hunger? Concepts of Famine, Practices of Aid (University of Minnesota Press, 2000). Her most recent book, with Manchester University Press, tackles questions of change and the politics of certainty. In addition to her academic writing, she explores fiction, autobiography and other literary forms. She is engaged in several collaborative ventures, including the Gregynog Ideas Lab and the highly-regarded Routledge book series Interventions. Charlotte Heath-Kelly is Associate Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. Her research explores the implementation of counter-radicalisation policies within the health and social care sectors, as well as the shifting memorial architectures of the War on Terror. She is the author of two monographs: Death and Security: Memory and Mortality at the Bombsite (Manchester University Press, 2016) and Politics of Violence: Militancy, International Politics, Killing in the Name (Routledge, 2013). Her research has also appeared in Security Dialogue, International Political Sociology, the British Journal of Politics and IR and Political Geography. Together with Dr Erzsébet Strausz, she has written a report into the Prevent Duty in healthcare which can be accessed here: www.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/pais/research/ researchcentres/irs/counterterrorisminthens. Aida A. Hozić writes and teaches about international and global politics at the University of Florida, United States. Catarina Kinnvall is Professor at the Department of Political Science, Lund University, Sweden. She is the current Editor-in-Chief of the journal Political Psychology, and series coeditor of the Palgrave Series in Political Psychology. Her general research interests are focused on critical approaches to International Relations Theory, especially postcolonial, psychoanalytical and feminist perspectives. More specifically, she deals with political psychology, gender, migration and populism; globalisation and ontological security, and religion and nationalism, with a particular focus on South Asia and Europe. She is the author of numerous books and articles on these subjects. Milja Kurki is a Professor of International Relations theory in the department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University. She is interested in conceptual study of international relations, broadly speaking, and has explored both philosophical debates around concepts such as causation and empirical contestations around notions such as democracy in international politics. She is currently working on a book on international relations and relational cosmology. Debbie Lisle is a Professor of International Relations in the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics at Queen’s University Belfast. Her work explores the intersections of war, mobility, borders, security, technology, culture, materiality and visuality. She is interested in uncovering how global politics lurk in unexpected sites (e.g. museums, hotels, laboratories) and how unexpected counter-conducts flourish in highly securitized sites (e.g. border crossings; airports; battlefields). Her latest book, Holidays in the Danger Zone: Entanglements of War x

Contributors

and Tourism (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) examines the many cross-overs between tourism, leisure and war. She is currently exploring questions of failure, ambivalence, persistence and hope. Tom Lundborg is Associate Professor of Political Science at the Swedish Defence University. He has previously worked as Research Fellow at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs. He received his PhD in International Politics from Aberystwyth University (2008). His research centres on theories of security and international relations, with special focus on concepts of time and space for studying global and international politics. His publications include Politics of the Event: Time, Movement, Becoming (Routledge, 2012), as well as articles published in journals such as European Journal of International Relations, Review of International Studies, Alternatives, International Political Sociology and Security Dialogue. Siddharth Mallavarapu is Professor at the Department of International Relations and Governance Studies at Shiv Nadar University in India. He is currently co-series editor of Critical Global Thought published by Oxford University Press. Mallavarapu has also been a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Global Cooperation, Duisburg and a Visiting Professor at Sciences Po, Paris. He has contributed to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and is the author of Banning the Bomb: The Politics of Norm Creation, two co-edited anthologies on International Relations in India (with Kanti Bajpai), a co-edited book titled International Relations: Perspectives for the Global South (with B. S. Chimni) as well as assorted journal articles. Audra Mitchell is a settler scholar living on the Ancestral and treaty lands of the Attawandaron (Neutral), Mississaugas of the New Credit and Haudensaunee peoples. She is the Canada Research Chair and Associate Professor in Global Political Ecology at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and Wilfrid Laurier University. Audra’s work spans the fields of violence studies, global ecology (in particular, extinction) and Indigenous studies. She is privileged to collaborate with Indigenous communities around the world to understand how they experience and resist global forms of ecological violence and harm, and envision alternative futures. Tatevik Mnatsakanyan is a Lecturer at the Institute of Diplomacy and International Governance, Loughborough University London. She completed her PhD in politics at the University of Exeter in 2015. Her previous degrees are in diplomacy and linguistics. Through her PhD and current book project, she has drawn on the thought of Mikhail Bakhtin, to interrogate ‘war on terror’ through a relational framework taking seriously the constitutive encounters across domains of official legitimation, critique and anti-war resistance. She also works on a project scrutinising denial of complicity in the politics of (in)security, examining the relationship of denial to power and violence. Sam Okoth Opondo is Assistant Professor in Political Science and Africana Studies at Vassar College New York. His research focuses on the dynamics of ‘mediating estrangement’ and the ethics and aesthetics of co-habitation in settler colonial and postcolonial societies. He has written journal articles and book chapters on the often-overlooked amateur diplomacies of everyday life, postcolonial cities, the politics of genre and cultural translation in Africa. Sergei Prozorov is Professor of Political Science at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. He is the author of eight previous books, including Agamben and Politics and Biopolitics of Stalinism, xi

Contributors

both published by Edinburgh University Press. He has also published over 30 articles in major international journals. His research interests include political philosophy, theories of democracy and totalitarianism, biopolitics and governance. Sybille Reinke de Buitrago holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Hamburg, Germany and a BA and MA in International Affairs from The American University in Washington, DC. Her research focuses on identity, perception, space, emotions and discourse in international relations and security policy. She has authored books in English and German and published in international peer-review journals, and she is a regular reviewer for peer-review journals. She is a State Department alumna, and she teaches International Relations. In her current, externally funded project she analyses radicalisation narratives in social media. Erica Resende holds a double BA in Legal Studies and in International Relations, and a PhD in Political Science from the University of São Paulo, Brazil. Her research interests are US foreign policy, identity politics, discourse analysis and critical security studies. Working from South America, she has authored over 10 books in both Portuguese and English as well as published in articles in peer-reviewed journals. She is a US Fulbright Scholar and US State Department alumna since 2006. She is Assistant Professor of International Relations and Security Studies at the Brazilian War College in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Yvonne Rinkart holds a PhD from Aberystwyth University. Based at Sheffield Hallam, she works across the disciplines of International Politics and Human Geography. She is interested in the production and reproduction of political space, and she pursues these interests through conceptual work in contemporary international theory and empirical work on international infrastructure projects. Erzsébet Strausz is Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. She holds a PhD from Aberystwyth University and her research focuses on post-structuralist theory, Critical Security Studies, critical pedagogy, as well as creative, experimental and narrative methods in the study of world politics. She was awarded the British International Studies Association’s Excellence in Teaching International Studies Prize in 2017 and her research monograph Writing the Self and Transforming Knowledge in International Relations: Towards a Politics of Liminality was published in the Routledge Interventions book series in 2018. Vineet Thakur is Assistant Professor in History and International Relations at Leiden University, the Netherlands, and Research Associate at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study, University of Johannesburg. He is the author of Postscripts on Independence: Foreign Policy Ideas, Identity and Institutions in India and South Africa (Oxford University Press, 2018) and Jan Smuts and the Indian Question (UKZN Press, 2017). Peter Vale is the Founding Director of the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS) and Professor of Humanities at the University of Johannesburg. He is also a Visiting Professor in Global Affairs and Public Policy at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Vale has been widely published in many fields – most recently, on the Johannesburg origins of International Relations. Latha Varadarajan is a Professor of Political Science, and the Director of the Center on International Security and Conflict Resolution at San Diego State University. She is the xii

Contributors

author of The Domestic Abroad: Diasporas in International Relations (Oxford University Press, 2010) and Imperialism Past and Present (with Emanuele Saccarelli, Oxford University Press, 2015). Her articles on transnationalism, nationalism and imperialism have been published in journals including The European Journal of International Relations, International Relations, New Political Science and Review of International Studies. Lauren Wilcox is University Lecturer in Gender Studies and Deputy Director of the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies. Her first monograph was Bodies of Violence: Theorizing Embodied Subjects in International Relations (Oxford University Press, 2015). This work was honoured with awards for the Best Book from the Theory Section and the Feminist Theory and Gender Studies Section of the International Studies Association. Dr Wilcox has also published in Millennium: Journal of International Studies, Review of International Studies, Feminist Review, Security Dialogue, International Feminist Journal of Politics and Security Studies. She is currently working on a monograph tentatively entitled War Beyond the Human. Erin K. Wilson is Associate Professor of Politics and Religion at the University of Groningen. Her research is positioned at the intersection of religious studies and International Relations, with particular interest in the impact of secularism on global justice, human rights, forced migration, development and gender. Her articles have appeared in International Studies Quarterly, Globalizations, European Societies, Politics, Religion, Ideology and Global Society. Her books include The Refugee Crisis and Religion: Secularism, Security and Hospitality in Question (co-edited with L. Mavelli, Rowman and Littlefield International, 2016) and After Secularism: Rethinking Religion in Global Politics (Palgrave, 2012). Andreja Zevnik is Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Manchester. Her research is inspired by psychoanalysis, continental philosophy and aesthetic politics and mainly focuses on the production of subjectivity and different political imaginaries in acts of resistance and on political mobilisation practices of various marginalised groups. She recently published a monograph entitled Lacan, Deleuze and World Politics: Re-Thinking the Ontology of the Political Subject (Routledge, 2016) and is a co-editor of Jacques Lacan Between Psychoanalysis and Politics (with Samo Tomšicˇ; Routledge 2015) and of Lacan and Deleuze: A Disjunctive Synthesis (with Boštjan Nedoh, Edinburgh University Press, 2017).

xiii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The editor would like to Routledge for proposing the volume in the first place, commissioning editors Nicola Parkin and Robert Sorsby for their help and support as it took shape and Yvonne Rinkart for her careful editing. She would also like to thank the eminent scholars who formed the editorial board (Roland Bleiker, Kimberly Hutchings, Vivienne Jabri, Himadeep Muppidi, Michael J. Shapiro, R. B. J. Walker, Annick T. R. Wibben and Maja Zehfuss) for their comments on the initial outline of the volume, their assistance with suggestions for potential contributors and their feedback on draft chapters. Finally, thanks are owed to the individual authors for their excellent contributions, which together provide such a stimulating and intriguing map of the field, and challenge the concept of critique, the function of the discipline, and the idea that there is or can be such a thing as ‘critical international relations’.

xiv

INTRODUCTION Jenny Edkins

Critical approaches are central to a flourishing study of international relations. They produce arguably the most exciting and challenging contemporary research, and provide crucial insights to scholars and students alike seeking to think through and in, and even move beyond, the current global conjuncture. As Michel Foucault argues: A critique is not a matter of saying that things are not right as they are. It is a matter of pointing out on what kinds of assumptions, what kinds of familiar, unchallenged, unconsidered modes of thought the practices that we accept rest … . As soon as one can no longer think things as one formerly thought them, transformation becomes both very urgent, very difficult, and quite possible. (Foucault, 1988, 154–155) Over the years, critical approaches have questioned the very existence of the discipline of international relations as a separate field, and argued that it perpetuates colonial relations and can suffocate inquiry. Scholars labelled ‘critical’ have established productive transdisciplinary connections, adding links with areas such as geography, sociology and anthropology to the long established, if sometimes fractious, relationships with history and politics. Creative practice, for example from the visual arts, literature and performance, has been added to the repertoire of methods and forms of analysis employed in international relations research. Some scholars have looked to the physical sciences – astrophysics or quantum mechanics, for example – for inspiration. These adventures in critical international relations have brought depth and substance to what was once, thirty years ago, an isolated and introverted field, largely ignored by those located in other disciplines who are concerned with global affairs. However, there are dangers as well as positives in working under the banner of critical international relations, as will be discussed in the early chapters of the volume. One aim of the handbook, like all such collections, is to provide a resource for those seeking an overview of, and an introduction to, the field of critical international relations, in all its richness and diversity. The volume affords insights into exciting and innovative developments, challenging issues and less prominent topics. It examines debates around cutting-edge and emergent methodologies and ontologies and elaborates questions relating to current areas of concern for critical international relations. The volume as a whole 1

Jenny Edkins

reflects the way that critical international relations includes themes that were traditionally excluded – such as aesthetics, emotion, gender, sexuality, race, subjectivity, space, ecology, colonialism, temporality, materiality – and examines them through innovative methodological and theoretical lenses – such as narrative, feminist, sociological, psychoanalytic, visual and decolonial approaches. In the process it explores in depth several thinkers not yet prominent in critical international relations – Henri Lefebvre, Octavio Paz and Mikhail Bakhtin, for example – and others whose contribution warrants further elaboration. But as well as providing a wide-ranging survey of contemporary research in critical international politics that speaks to those seeking to acquaint themselves with this rich area of work and a resource for teaching, the handbook also aims to stimulate fresh advances and inspire new generations of researchers in the field. It is thus both an overview of the existing state of critical work in international relations and an agenda-setting collection that highlights emerging areas and aims to foster and support future research. The book brings together in a single volume areas of critical inquiry often treated separately. The separate threads of critical work often seem to be at loggerheads, emphasising their distinct insights, diverse political choices and specific histories and vying for priority and significance. The volume wagers that there is something to be gained by juxtaposing critical insights and promoting encounters between their different agendas. It sees the various strands of critical work, such as feminism, post- and de-colonialism, narrative, interpretative and aesthetic approaches and poststructuralism, as largely complementary not contradictory, and emphasises their shared goals, common theoretical resources and complementary empirical practices, as well as their differences. It aims to promote collaboration, cross-fertilisation and inspiration across what it sees as cognate fields of work. What the volume does not do – nor aim to do – is provide a comprehensive overview. First of all it is necessarily a temporal snapshot in a highly mobile field: critical approaches are rapidly evolving, and, indeed, that is in part what makes the study of international relations and global politics so exciting. Second, the coverage is inevitably partial: critical approaches are proliferating and the topics, fields and methods involved are already too extensive to capture in one volume. What is presented here is indicative of some of the areas currently being worked – a taster, if you like, of the increasingly diverse and burgeoning menu of critical scholarship. On the other hand, it aims to cover what it does in detail, without shying away from complexity. Authors have provided chapters that draw on their own current research, rather than just giving an overview of their area, which means that chapters have a depth and sophistication that a survey chapter might not offer. The idea that there is such a thing as critical scholarship or critical international relations can be contested in a number of ways, and the volume puts the term ‘critical’ under the spotlight. It reflects on the very possibility of, and limits to, critique. In doing so, it addresses the assumptions that lie behind the very idea of a handbook of critical international relations. First, it asks: In what sense is work pursued under the heading of critical international relations ‘critical’? What is the meaning and possibility of critique? Second, it engages with the question of the ‘discipline’ of international relations, and asks: Does it still make sense to talk about ‘international relations’ as a discipline or field of study? To what extent is engagement or identification with international relations important? Finally, it explores the intersection of the notion of critique with the disciplinary work ‘international relations’ performs, asking: What are the possibilities of critique in international relations? Can we have a critical international relations? Is there a danger that engagement with international relations limits the very possibility of critique? 2

Introduction

Critique and the discipline In a 1986 article regularly cited in discussions of critical approaches and their origins, Robert Cox draws a distinction between ‘problem-solving’ and ‘critical’ theory (Cox, 1986). According to Cox, whilst the former operates within the prevailing assumptions – and inevitably ends up supporting the status quo, the latter tackles those very assumptions and lays out the possibility of change. The handbook begins with Latha Varadarajan’s analysis of Cox’s essay and its interpretation of Marxism, and argues that it is both unsustainable and dangerous. She argues, furthermore, that Cox’s analysis of imperialism in the latter part of his essay is problematic. Crucially, she asks us to consider in whose interest and for what purpose the ‘umbrella category’ of ‘critical international relations’ that we are working with in this handbook is maintained. In the second chapter, Sergei Prozorov also reflects on the role of critique and the politics of the category of ‘critical international relations’. He focuses in the latter part of his chapter not on a landmark essay but a landmark special issue: the 1990 issue of International Studies Quarterly that was edited by Richard Ashley and R. B. J. Walker (Ashley and Walker, 1990). Prozorov argues that political action – and hence critique – is concerned not with producing a new world, but with showing the wrongs inherent in a particular world. In that way the political subject is comparable to the critic of a work of art; their role is specific: to point up the inadequacies of the work, but not to produce another, better one. He examines the 1990 issue of ISQ as an example of how previously non-recognised themes, authors and methods were brought into the discipline, and calls for a repetition of such criticism in today’s very different conjuncture. The key, for Prozorov, is to criticise without ever becoming ‘a critic’, in other words to avoid critical international relations being kept in its place – labelled, categorised and co-opted into the existing ‘world’ of IR. Chapter 3 turns explicitly to the discipline more broadly, its origins and its limitations. Thakur and Vale offer a disciplinary history of international relations centred around the notions of race prevalent at the discipline’s beginnings in the UK and South Africa. As a challenge to common (mis)understandings, they demonstrate from an examination of the archive that the discipline was founded on concerns with race, seen at that time as ‘the native question’. Later chapters return in diverse ways to the question of the extent to which these origins remain reflected in contemporary critical international relations.

Relations beyond humanity The next section of the volume turns to questions from outside the discipline’s accepted terrain: ecology, the universe and concepts of the human. In Chapter 4, Audra Mitchell challenges critical international relations to move well outside its comfort zone and consider the critiques posed by the earth and the cosmos. She argues that international relations, critical and otherwise, is ill-equipped to consider either radical finitude (for example, the extinction of the human species) or radical infinitude (existences that radically exceed our conceptual frameworks). The discipline refuses to address the questions of radical finitude accelerating processes of extinction raise: it is too attuned to the security and survival of its particular vision of ‘humanity’. Radical infinitude prompts what Mitchell calls ‘cosmic expansionism’: for example, the idea that technological control beyond spatio-temporal limits is possible, or that we might colonise outer space, treated in the imagination of ‘NewSpace entrepreneurs’ as empty terrain. Decolonial thinking and respect for indigenous life-worlds is called for in response to these developments. The way that ignoring questions of finitude and accepting a limited horizon inhibit critique is also a concern in Chapter 18. 3

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In Chapter 5, Milja Kurki explores relationality, a topic that reappears many times as the volume proceeds. She starts by examining relational thinking in the social sciences, and critical theory in particular, beginning with Marx, and points out that it is crucial to examine thinking that claims to be relational carefully, as several strands assume pre-existing ‘things’ or ‘persons’ which then enter into relations. She draws on relational thinking in the sciences to examine in more depth how we might relate to the relations that we’re in. In relational cosmology, relationality is expanded to the universe, which is understood as an unfolding of relational processes. In this context, our knowledge as ‘humans’ is relational and situated, although, Kurki argues, there is room to stretch from our situatedness. In the challenging chapter that follows, François Debrix begins by examining the horror of images that show human body parts as indistinguishable from the built environment and suggest the dehumanisation taking place in conflict violence. He suggests that such images of horror reflect more than dehumanisation and may allow international relations to think outside its standard frameworks and re-examine the human-centred perspectives that dominate the discipline. He asks what exactly it is that is intolerable in images of horror; he argues that they force us to confront the impossibility of a view that sees humanity as distinct and privileged, and instead contemplate non-humanisation, and a world without humanity. He calls for a rethinking of international relations beyond the human.

Art and narrative The third section of the volume takes up the question of art and critique raised by Prozorov in Chapter 2 and builds further on Debrix’s analysis of the image in Chapter 6. The first two chapters work together to address the question of the significance of art in international relations thinking. In Chapter 7, Debbie Lisle examines, first, how critical thinking shows the way in which works of art in the broadest sense can function to install and maintain dominance, and, second, how artworks can, in contrast, destabilise and reorder the world. She then overturns this dichotomy: the embodied encounter with a work of art is much more complicated, and reveals the entanglement of bodies and worlds – and the importance of affect: a concern that arises again, particularly in Chapters 16 and 21. Finally she discusses the value of collaborative work with practising artists, the use of art in critical pedagogy and international relations scholars who have become creative producers themselves. Aida Hozić’s chapter explores her ambivalence about critical international relations’ view of art works as world-changing, and asks what we are not seeing when we are in front of visual representations. She notes the invisibility of the slave in the portrait of George Washington and his family – and the invisibility of race in discussions of visual global politics raised in Chapter 3. She remarks on scholars’ complicity with the systems they aspire to change, and asks whether engagement with art is sufficient to go beyond changing our ‘ways of seeing’ to change our ‘ways of being’ in the discipline of international relations. Perhaps the focus on representations has obscured rather than aided our work. We need to examine what is not within the frame, and what (or who) we are not seeing now. As well as continuing the concerns of this section, Chapter 9 returns to a central emphasis of the volume – the question of critique – and focuses on the role of narrative as a form of critical inquiry. Elizabeth Dauphinee argues that understanding ourselves and our privilege is vital to any critical approach – but also impossible, given our relationality. She proposes that narrative can reveal aspects of relations that other methods miss, and the chapter explores what type of critique narrative can offer. Narrative, she argues, challenges objectivity and prises open hierarchies. It must be concerned with self-transformation as well as the inherently linked transformation of the 4

Introduction

world, despite the impossibility of both that appears when we realise we are invested and complicit in the world we seek to change.

War, religion, security The next section of the volume turns to three specific areas – studies of war, religion and security – and provides discussions and examples of how critical scholars have approached a rethinking of these fields of enquiry or developed specific analyses within them. In Chapter 10, Shane Brighton examines how the discipline, seen by many as centred around questions of war and violence, in effect side-lines war by explaining it in other terms, terms seen as more fundamental and analytically prior. The discipline tends to see war purely as an instrument, and explains it in terms of cause rather than function or effect. The generative effects of war, largely ignored by these accounts, are taken up in critical war studies, as Brighton elucidates. Erin K. Wilson explores critical approaches to religion in a similar way in Chapter 11, arguing that questioning what religion is and what the opposition between the religious and the secular does is fundamental. The chapter tracks the move from secularisation – which assumes that religion is no longer relevant – and approaches that discuss religion as either good or bad, to critical approaches that contest the very idea of separating the religious, the secular and the postsecular. It then examines insights from the critical study of religion in a wide range of specific areas and the implications of such approaches for how the discipline of international relations as a whole is delineated and taught. Chapter 12, by Erzsébet Strausz and Charlotte Heath-Kelly, offers an example of a critical approach to securitisation and risk: a study of the UK Home Office training DVD for public sector workers charged with identifying and reporting signs of radicalisation, particularly those in the health service. The study analyses the way these workers are taught to be vigilant, to ‘see’ in line with government policy and to perceive in terms of future risk. The study comprises a detailed analysis of the video and the script that accompanies it, and interviews with professionals involved. At the end of the chapter, the authors reflect on the uses to which their analysis might be put, and the ethical issues posed. The conversation staged between them reveals critique as ‘a threatened language’ that can be spoken only in certain contexts, but one that must be assiduously passed on to new generations of speakers.

Otherness and diplomacy Otherness has long been a key topic of concern in international relations scholarship. How are we to deal with encounters with otherness? Or, alternatively, what are the possibilities of living with difference? While some see ‘the other’ as pre-existing, as something or someone already out there that we, who are not part of the other, must find ways of coming to terms with, a more critical sensibility examines how the notion of ‘otherness’ is constituted in the first place, and how ‘self’ contains ‘otherness’ within it. In Part V of the volume, Sybille Reinke de Buitrago and Erica Resende begin in Chapter 13 by surveying conceptualisations of identity and difference in the discipline. They then present cases of how identity formation happens in four examples of foreign policy and security. They conclude by calling for an approach that values difference and accepts responsibility for the other. Chapter 14 elaborates these questions and troubles the separation of self and other by turning to critical diplomacy. The author, Sam Okoth Opondo, examines what he calls ‘ways-of-beingwith-the other’ – or diplomacy – beginning with a reading of the shifts Aimé Césaire’s A Tempest produces in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. He elaborates the encounters, negotiations and 5

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translations that constitute identities and meanings as a way to avoid the easy dichotomies often present in discussions of coloniser and colonised – and the concomitant inaudibility of other voices. In the chapter, he examines writings of critical diplomacy scholars, and he explores and complicates other translational or diplomatic practices, using as cases the Ems Affair and the Gifts & Blessings: The Textile Arts of Madagascar exhibition in the Smithsonian. The final chapter in this section, by Siddharth Mallavarapu, considers the potential of Octavio Paz for critical thinking in the discipline of international relations. It discusses his contribution in terms of six ideas: the concrete person; criticism; recovery of those effaced in world history; the politics of knowledge; pedagogic strategies and the poetics of politics. This breadth of concern means that Chapter 15 contributes to several sections of the volume. Its inclusion in this section reflects its consideration of aspects of international relations that are ignored when the world is viewed through a very particular, Anglo-American framing that sees itself as universal and accepts impossible distinctions. Paz urges fresh conceptualisations, ambivalence and dialogue with others, while cautioning us on the difficulties of translation.

Spaces and times Assumptions about space and time have been closely examined in critical international relations. Instead of seeing both as neutral backgrounds, they are seen as constituted in ways that produce and are produced by particular social and political articulations. The three chapters in this section explore this in different ways, and Chapter 23 elaborates Lefebvre’s work on space. Chapter 16, by Catarina Kinnvall, examines the possibility of an expanded imagination of space as unbordered. She details how immigration and refugee policies and bordering practices in Europe intersect with populist discourses and the emotional and embodied structures that support them, and asks how other imaginings might be possible. Drawing on Lacan, an approach also elucidated in Chapter 19, she argues that existing fantasies of space are incomplete, unfinished narratives, and that fidelity to the cracks they contain may lead to traversing the fantasy that sustains bordered space and open the possibility of alternative imaginaries. Next, in Chapter 17, Dan Bulley examines questions of ethics in international politics and outlines and exemplifies a critical approach. He draws on Derrida, as does Tom Lundborg in Chapter 18. The chapter focuses particularly on how one of the elements that such an approach to ethics needs to take on board is the question of space: how notions of space are relationally produced and how they can limit our ethico-political imagination. It points to the inspiration that can be gained from political geography and sociology, and gives as an example a reading of the international relationality of global cities. In his discussion of the role of horizon, trace and finitude in critique, issues first raised in Chapter 4, Lundborg points to the importance of notions of time and the event in considerations of the international. Space, he argues in Chapter 18, has been prioritised over time in critical thinking, and yet grasping the tensions between permanence and contingency is crucial for critical thinking. For Lundborg, examining traces, which lie between horizons and finitude, is important. Singular events, thought in terms of their opening to a future-to-come and the traces they make, provide an opening to a world where we encounter something other than the spatio-temporal borders that constrain and produce the modern subject: a radical non-presence.

Resistance Section 7 turns explicitly to questions of political action and resistance. In Chapter 19, Andreja Zevnik argues that it is necessary to distinguish between political action and acting politically. 6

Introduction

While the first engages directly with existing structures and can end up reinstituting them, the second disturbs existing ways of doing politics. She argues that to understand political action it is important to first consider how the political subject is produced. Using Lacan and notions of (mis)interpellation, Zevnik shows how the political subject is produced as entwined with the very sovereign it intends to challenge, and only a break with the logic of that relation – a refusal of sovereign authority and the comfort of existence as a political subject within it – will produce a subversive political action. The chapter explores in depth what such a break might involve, and what ‘acting politically’ means. The Black Lives Matter movement is examined as an example. In her chapter, Chapter 20, Tatevik Mnatsakanyan, drawing on Bakhtin, develops the concept of the carnivalesque to explore the opening up of the political, and analyses the protest of peace campaigner Brian Haw. Bakhtin argues that the mediaeval European carnival has moved into other spaces of destabilising resistance. The carnivalesque, Mnatsakanyan argues, is a particular ontology of resistance, one that refuses to accept the closure of the political and may erupt in various domains. It can take place even where commonly considered characteristics of ‘carnival’ are not present, but where, nevertheless, the foundations of the state – and its excess – are laid bare. The carnivalesque pays attention to the specific sites and practices where the crack in the edifice of a social and political order is revealed – and the modes of suppression that are provoked.

Intimacy and embodiment The volume concludes with a section that tackles questions of intimacy and embodiment. In Chapter 21, Lauren Wilcox discusses ways that bodies appear and embodiment is theorised in the discipline of international relations. Drawing on Butler, she argues that bodies should be seen as materialised by social and political processes and practices, rather than as pre-existing material objects. She then explores how bodies in international politics are often already ‘dead bodies’ – dehumanised, objectified, or produced as ‘bare life’. It is important, she argues, to turn from how bodies are represented to what they do, and, particularly, to their relationality and how they are linked to emotions. The next chapter echoes this concern with the absence of relations in international relations: Chapter 22 proposes using ‘the intimate’ as a lens to change focus, building on feminist work, Spike Peterson’s in particular. Megan Daigle argues that taking the intimate seriously in the discipline allows us to explore embodiment, sexuality and raced and gendered lived experience of family and love. The intimate and the international are, she argues, inseparable. Unlike the local or the everyday, the intimate calls explicitly for a focus on relationality, raises ethical concerns and demands listening and writing differently. Here the chapter recalls arguments made in Chapter 9 on narrative. The final chapter of the volume, Chapter 23, reflects on thinkers, the production of theory and the process of writing. Yvonne Rinkart argues that a critical approach requires that the polyphonic character of theory be taken seriously. She explores the crucial contribution of gendered or classed others – translators, editors, typists – to writing published in the name of a ‘great thinker’ – often a white male. She explores the work of Lefebvre as an example of a particular male-bodied writer and theorist, assisted by a series of female collaborators whose contribution is not acknowledged. In an intriguing final section, Rinkart examines the process of production of the present volume. These contributions reflect a wide range of topics and critical approaches, and demonstrate the depth and significance of research underway in critical international relations. The questions of what constitutes critique, and whether critical international relations should or 7

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should not be seen as a distinctive field run through them all in one way or another. Indeed, the volume demonstrates both the richness and potential of critical approaches and how they cross-cut and intersect in productive ways despite their diversity. What also becomes apparent is a concern with the relation between politics and the political – the concern to move beyond the contestation of the contemporary conjuncture on its own terms to challenge the idea that there is no alternative to the various forms of hierarchy and inequality that structure the world. Although there may be little consensus among the various scholars represented here as to how to go about critique, there is a unity of purpose that connects their diverse approaches – at least, that is the wager of this collection.

Bibliography Ashley, Richard K. and R. B. J. Walker. (1990) “Speaking the Language of Exile: Dissident Thought in International Studies.” International Studies Quarterly 34 (3): Special Issue, 259–268. Cox, Robert W. (1986) “Social Forces, States and World Orders: Beyond International Relations Theory.” Neorealism and Its Critics, Robert O. Keohane (ed.). New York: Columbia University Press, 204–254. Foucault, Michel (1988) “Practicing Criticism, or, Is It Really Important to Think?” Interview by Didier Eribon, May 30–31, 1981 in Politics, Philosophy, Culture, Lawrence D. Kriztman (ed.). New York: Routledge, 154–155.

8

PART I

Critique and the discipline

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1 IMPERIALISM AND LIMITS OF CRITIQUE Latha Varadarajan

Introduction Robert Cox’s essay on “Social Forces, States and World Orders” is one of the most cited articles in the literature on theoretical developments in the discipline of International Relations (IR).1 This is especially true of the work pertaining to what has now become a burgeoning, if distinct, subfield in “critical theory.” Some of the major points raised by that article, particularly the insistence that “theory is always for someone and some purpose,” have indeed been deservedly celebrated (Cox, 1986: 207). Categorizing the mainstream IR theoretical traditions of the period as “problem-solving theory,” Cox correctly pointed out that the very bases of such theoretical work served the distinct purpose of perpetuating the existing relations of power, the systemic status quo. In that sense, the notion of a putatively objective, value-neutral social science espoused by the “neo” traditions (be it neorealism, the main target of the article or the related neoliberalism, often presented as the main alternative) was one that was fundamentally flawed. In contrast to the prevalent mainstream approaches, Cox proposed the framework of “critical theory.” Unlike the problem-solving approach that took the existing international system as the unquestionable start and end point of any theoretical endeavor, the critical theoretical approach was one that “stood apart from the prevailing order of the world [to ask] how that order came about.” It was a tradition that took seriously the “continuing process of historical change,” and most importantly, it embraced the notion of normative theorizing – of conceptualizing alternatives to existing reality (Cox, 1986: 208–209). So far, so good. But then, we get to the more complicated question of what else, beyond these radical-sounding generalities, characterizes critical theory. To put it bluntly, how do we know critical theory when we see it? To his credit, Cox seems to provide an answer, at least of sorts, by highlighting the historical materialist method. At first glance, this use of historical materialism to explain the evolution and dynamic nature of world orders, while illustrating “critical” theory seems to successfully serve a dual purpose: one, it reveals what a Marxist approach in IR and to global politics in general might look like;2 and two, it lays the foundation for a politically progressive alternative to mainstream IR theorizing. A closer look, however, leads to a different conclusion. 11

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In this chapter, I argue that Cox’s essay perpetuates a certain notion of what can count as a “non-determinist” or “non-structuralist” – and therefore acceptable – version of Marxism, a version that can apparently co-exist with a multiplicity of essentially incompatible worldviews under the comforting, inclusive category of “critical theory.” In doing so, notwithstanding authorial intentions, it has served to occlude, rather than clarify, not just the logic of Marxist thought and practice in IR, but also the very project of “critical theory” that it sought to establish. I do not make this argument as a prelude to demanding a resuscitation of “critical theory” in a way that incorporates a clearly articulated Marxist position. It is, of course, beyond the scope of this chapter to explore the many complexities of the history of Marxist political thought, and provide a comprehensive picture of what a Marxist analysis of global politics would look like. However, it is possible to provide a broad brushstroke view of some of the major features that ought to characterize such a world-view, and extrapolate from this the reasons why Marxism would not fit within the rubric of “critical theory” in IR, notwithstanding the catholicity of the category. I do so in this chapter through a counter-intuitive re-visiting of Cox’s essay. For, rather than being an exemplar of Marxist IR theory, the explanation of contemporary politics that Cox puts forth ultimately serves as an illustration of what a Marxist analysis would not look like, and why a marriage between Marxism and “critical theory” defined broadly is not only unsustainable, but unnecessary and politically problematic. The argument outlined above is developed in this essay in two parts. Part I begins with a brief summary of the broader discussion about the relationship between theory and practice in the field of IR, as laid out in the landmark article. This is followed by a closer engagement with Cox’s discussion of historical materialism as a theoretical approach, both in terms of its connection to Marxism and the field of “critical theory.” I spell out some of the conceptual problems in the delineation of the historical materialist approach as a segue to explaining how these problems manifest themselves in Cox’s discussion of imperialism in the second part. As I show in Part II, the analysis of imperialism presented in the essay – in terms of its explanation of the existing world order as well as the vision of possible alternatives – appears to be Marxist in form, but is at its core essentially different. And in that, it sums up the untenability of a meaningful conflation of the Marxist approach with the catholic category of “critical theory.”

Part I Theory and the nature of critique How does one understand a complex social reality, particularly when it is fundamentally dynamic in character? Is it possible, or even necessary, that any attempt to arrive at such understanding to be purely “objective”? And when it comes to IR, what is the purpose of such an attempt? These are the crucially important questions that animate Robert Cox’s essay on world orders. As he makes clear in the succinct introduction, his goal was to articulate an answer to these kinds of questions in a way that allowed for thinking about the problem of world order as a whole, without reifying it. This in essence meant that the first order of business for students of IR was to pay attention to the historical origins of particular conventions of theorizing. All theories, as Cox correctly asserted, are expressive of a perspective that “derive … specifically (from) social and political time and space,” and while more sophisticated theories “reflect upon and transcend” their own perspectives, they can never be completely divorced from that initial starting point (Cox, 1986: 207). What makes this claim even more crucial is 12

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what follows from it – the perspective, concealed or otherwise, underlying a theory is what helps us understand its purpose. And all theories have a purpose. Out of these elegantly stated claims, Cox derives his famous distinction between two kinds of theories – problem-solving and critical. The former not only “takes the world as it finds it,” but also is generally concerned with “dealing effectively with particular sources of trouble” so as to ensure the continued and smooth functioning of existing “social and power relationships and the institutions into which they are organized” (1986: 208). The latter, however, is focused more on the question of the origins of such relationships and the process of change, both intentional and on-going. Where problem-solving theory, by virtue of its focus, seems to have a precision that is lacked by critical theory, Cox points out this relative strength itself rests on a false premise, since the social and political order is itself not fixed, “but (at least in a long-range perspective) is changing”. More importantly, Cox exposes the fact that while the much-vaunted objectivity of problem-solving theory could have a limited application in the sense of its methodology (“insofar as it treats the variables it considers as objects”), it cannot be considered value-free to the extent that it “implicitly accepts the prevailing order as its own framework” (1986: 209). Having established the two categories and the distinctions between them, Cox then proceeds to engage with two theoretical traditions that he claims “have had something important to say about interstate relations and world orders” – Realism and Marxism. Briefly skimming over the historical origins of the former, the essay hones in on what is its primary focus of critique, the transformation of realism into neorealism in the post-Second World War American academy. Neorealism, for Cox, is the stereotypical problem-solving theory for which history serves merely as “a quarry providing materials with which to illustrate variations on always recurrent themes,” and the forswearing of “moral goals” is meant to underscore its “non-normative quality” (Cox, 1986: 211–212). The problem with this approach, so to speak, is two-fold: one, the ahistorical epistemology precludes neorealists from understanding or explaining the dynamic nature of world orders; and two, the claim of being “value-free” remains true only at a superficial level, since neorealism pushes for state actors to adopt a particular guide to rational action in order to secure their position in the international system. Thus, neorealism in Cox’s view falls short even within its own parameters. It is in contrast to the afore-mentioned problem-solving approach that Cox brings up Marxism, and in particular historical materialism, which he claims, can be understood in terms of providing a necessary corrective to neorealism in four important ways. First, historical materialism engages with the world through the framework of dialectics both at the level of logic and real history. This enables the theorist to pursue a dialogue based on “explorations of contradictions,” while being open to the possibility of structural change arising out of the confrontation between opposing social forces. Second, through its focus on imperialism, this approach adds a “vertical dimension of power” bringing in questions of core-periphery and metropole-hinterland relations to the analysis of global politics. Third, it “enlarges realism” by helping highlight the essential interconnectedness of state and civil society. And finally, historical materialism brings to the table the question of the production process in order to explain the various forms taken by state–society complexes (Cox, 1986: 215–216). Having distinguished these features from the neorealist approach, Cox then proceeds to restate the basic premises for a “critical approach to a theory of world order,” which predominantly rests on the recognition of a “framework of action,” within which all human activity – including theorizing – takes place. This dynamic framework, taking the form of 13

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“historical structures,” “a particular configuration of forces,” a “combination of thought patterns, material conditions and human institutions which has a certain coherence among its elements,” shapes human action and the need for, as well as the nature of, theory. The shaping of human action is done not in a mechanical sense, but rather in terms of creating the “habits, pressures, expectations and constraints within which action takes place” (Cox, 1986: 217). At first glance, this description of how one ought to understand the human experience and what the nature and purpose of theorizing about it ought to be, sounds very much in line with what one would take to be a Marxist – or to use Cox’s chosen term, historical materialist – approach. It would then follow that critical theory is analogous with historical materialism. But this is where Cox begins to muddy the water. Historical materialism, it turns out, is a “foremost source of critical theory” (Cox, 1986: 216). This then begs several questions: is historical materialism a source or is it a manifestation of critical theory; if the former, i.e., a “foremost source”, are there other sources as well, and what would they be; if the latter, is it merely one manifestation of critical theory, and if so, what would the others be and how would they relate to historical materialism? These questions are not simply a matter of academic quibbling. Rather, they serve to underscore the conceptual fuzziness at the heart of one of the foremost attempts to demarcate the boundaries of both Marxist theorizing of international politics and critical IR theory, which bleeds into several crucial issues related to political practice, particularly surrounding the question of imperialism and the struggle against it. We will return to this later on in the essay. But, for now, it is important to scrutinize how Cox himself understood the nature and logic of the historical-materialist approach.

Historical materialism and the question of history Historical materialism, Cox argues is one of two types of Marxism – “a Marxism which reasons historically, and seeks to explain, as well as to promote, changes in social relations.” It is distinct from the other form of Marxism, a structural Marxism, which “designed as a framework for the analysis of capitalist state and society … turns its back on historical knowledge in favor of a more static and abstract conceptualization of the mode of production” (Cox, 1986: 214). Cox is of course far from being the first to make such a distinction. However, in the context of laying out the parameters of critical theory in IR, the primacy accorded to this bifurcation is indeed striking. Cox presents the distinction between historical materialism and structural Marxism as being akin to that between realism and neorealism. Is the point then to suggest that there is a version of Marxism that is actually modeled on the problem-solving approach, and as such doesn’t count as critical theory?3 Cox doesn’t really delve into that question, and in fact almost makes the comparison in a cursory manner. But, this shrugging off of the structural Marxist position does mean that the way in which Cox discusses the other Marxist tradition and its connection to critical theory deserves even closer scrutiny. Historical materialism, as Cox explains, is the kind of Marxism that can be found in the “historical works of Marx”, and in the work of “present-day historians like Eric Hobsbawm” and “the thought of Gramsci.” These names are obviously not intended to serve as a comprehensive intellectual genealogy. But it is noteworthy that in addition to a very conscious delineation of Marx’s work, Cox’s list of historical materialist icons jumps from the 19th century to the latter half of the 20th with only one notable Marxist in between. The inclusion of Antonio Gramsci, the founder of the Italian Communist Party, is not in and of itself a surprising or even a novel move. As recent scholarship has revealed, there exists 14

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a virtual cottage industry of “Gramsciology” in academia, which has ennobled Gramsci as a unique and uniquely acceptable kind of Marxist – one who is attuned to the importance of culture, and unbound by the economic determinism that characterizes other (sometimes named, sometimes unnamed) Marxist theorists (see for instance, Saccarelli, 2008, 2011). In particular, “Gramsciologists” have highlighted Gramsci’s writings on the concept of “hegemony” to demarcate what is considered his distinctive contribution to Marxist theorizing, one that separates him from the rest of the flock, and allows him to be part of a pantheon that includes the founder of the historical materialist approach. These aforementioned notions have become so much part of an accepted common sense that the phrase “the Gramscian concept of” more often than not precedes the term “hegemony” in academic writings. However, what is consistently overlooked in these discussions is the fact that “hegemony” is not “Gramscian” in the sense of Gramsci having been the first, and arguably even the most important Marxist theorist to engage with this concept. Furthermore, in developing his argument about the ways in which the bourgeoisie exercized its power in society, Gramsci not only drew on the existing Marxist work on hegemony, but also actively engaged in the on-going debates in the Second and Third Internationals about the relationship between Marxist theory and practice (ibid.; see also Anderson, 1976, 2017). It is beyond the scope of this chapter to provide any real insight into these debates. But the fact that they exist and are largely ignored, despite the role they played in shaping Gramsci’s ideas, needs to be noted. The invocation of Gramsci in a way that elides the whole question of Marxist theorists of the Second International and the Bolshevik revolution creates its own set of problems. The most pressing of these would be that such an elision colors how one defines the relationship between Marxist theory and practice, between understanding the world as it is and helping craft a different world order. To bring in Gramsci without acknowledging his own historical and political antecedents does help avoid the complicated history and legacy of the Russian revolution, but it also leads to the glossing over of the most significant political moment of 20th century, when Marxists sought to not just explain the world, but arguably succeeded in remaking it. Again, Cox is not the only one to make this move, but in his case, it is more noticeable because the edifice of critical theory he attempts to build ends up resting on political quicksand, and what turns out to be, ultimately, an unstable intellectual foundation. This is an issue that becomes apparent when one turns to Cox’s own discussion of the issue of imperialism, conceivably the most important contribution of historical materialism to the study of global politics.

Part II Imperialism and the question of world orders There is, Cox argues, “little point in looking for any ‘essence’ of imperialism,” for it is a loose concept that can only be defined in terms of “the forms [of] dominance and subordination … in different successive world order structures” (Cox, 1986: 227). From this starting point, he identifies three different phases of imperialism: the “liberal imperialism” of the mid19th century, in which an expansive capitalism did not seem to require direct colonial control over the periphery; the “new imperialism” from the late-1870s onwards, characterized by the scramble for colonies among the industrialized capitalist states; and finally, the post-Second World War phase, in which the colonies gradually acquired formal independence. It is this last phase that forms the main focus of Cox’s discussion of imperialism. As he correctly argues, the nationalist struggles that had preceded the end of colonialism enabled the ruling elites of 15

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the newly independent states to claim an “anti-imperialist” label, which was essentially a misnomer. Far from marking an end of imperialism, the historical structure that replaced formal colonial rule merely ushered in a new phase – the “imperial system,” which is both “more than and less than the state” (1986: 228). Reiterating James Petras’ argument, Cox outlines the ways in which the new imperial system that evolved in the second half of the 20th century was essentially transnational, drawing on “a particular configuration of social forces” across boundaries, incorporating both states and non-state actors. It is in the context of this new imperial system that one should situate the epoch of Pax Americana. Having established this, however, Cox suggests that one stop using the term “imperial” to discuss the contemporary political system, for it might end up obscuring the its true nature, while also creating confusion about the “structurally different kinds of imperialism.” While the desire to avoid confusion is commendable, the discussion that follows about the nature of the existing world order unfortunately does not quite serve the purpose. Pax Americana, Cox explains, is a hegemonic world order, which is maintained through various mechanisms. The foremost among them was the creation of institutions, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which facilitated the demands of capitalism (relatively free movement of capital, trade, technology and a stable currency), and helped “reconcile domestic social pressures with the demands of a global economy” (Cox, 1986: 230). To supplement these was the “machinery of surveillance” that oversaw the review of national policies, so that they were harmonized. All of this, in turn, has created a system in which the state itself has become “internationalized,” with certain key agencies within various state apparatuses that are oriented to facilitating the demands of global capital, gaining precedence over others. The process affecting the very constitution of the state goes hand-inhand with the expansion, but even more strikingly the integration of production across a transnational scale. This, in turn, Cox argues, reveals the growing power of “direct investment” in which “control is inherent in the production process and remains with the originator of the investment” (1986: 233). The investor remains in possession, not of money per se, but rather of the technological knowledge required both for the purpose of present production and on-going development. In comparison to mainstream explanations of “great power” politics, the examination of world orders – from the historical Pax Britannica to the more contemporary Pax Americana – that Cox presents through his discussion of imperialism is undoubtedly one that is more historically nuanced, politically informed and analytically accurate. It not only reveals the dynamic, and essentially social nature of the exercise of power, but also highlights its deep roots in the production process. In addition, the argument presented in the essay about the various phases of imperialism is potentially persuasive, given the continuities that characterize global politics through periods that saw the very distinct attitudes towards the notion of colonization. Strangely enough, however, Cox’s argument is not so much about explaining that continuity as it is about highlighting fundamental changes. This is quite apparent if one takes seriously the explanation of the contemporary world order outlined in the paragraph above, which ultimately rests on emphasizing the novelty of the existing world order, whether in terms of political configurations or the nature of social forces. This fetishization of novelty, however, is profoundly troubling from a Marxist perspective, and in fact reveals the conceptual and political problems with what at first glance appears to be a robust discussion of imperialism past and present. To begin with, there is the notion that unlike in the past, the current world order is not one driven by demands of a dominant imperialist power. While the “central agencies of the US government” were dominant in the post-Second World War order, Pax Americana did 16

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not rest on a “hierarchical power structure,” nor did it insist on interactions between nationstates. It was, and is, held together by a consensus, maintained “through bargaining” amongst “fragments of states” (Cox, 1986: 231). Before even getting into the manner in which American imperialism has maintained itself in the latter half of the 20th century, this assertion raises the question of whether imperialism as a system was ever dominated by the demands of just a single state. A Marxist understanding of the issue would lead one to answer this in the negative. In the foundational text on imperialism within the Marxist tradition, Lenin concisely and systematically shows the ways in which the emergence of imperialism as a system was in fact contingent on the rise of capitalist states that challenged what had for a few decades been the unquestioned supremacy of Great Britain (Lenin, 1969). In making this argument, Lenin (and other Marxists like Rudolf Hilferding and Rosa Luxemburg) were not alone, and were in fact building on the insights of liberal scholars like Hobson, who had identified the phenomenon as the “new imperialism” (Hobson, 2011). Cox is obviously aware of this, for he acknowledges the phrase and in fact appropriates it in his discussion of the phases of imperialism. The problem, however, is that this appropriation rests on an unstated, yet mistaken, assumption of what the term meant, at least to those working within a historical materialist tradition. What was so novel about the “new imperialism” was not just the fact that industrialized capitalist countries suddenly developed an interest in acquiring colonies, but rather that this “land-hunger” (as Hobson had termed it) was fundamentally connected to the development of capitalism. While humanity had witnessed the existence of empires in the past, including the British empire of the 18th and early 19th centuries, the differentia specifica of the imperialist epoch was that it remained fundamentally connected to the rationality of the capitalist system, and in Lenin’s phrase, marked its highest stage. To put it differently, in the classical Marxist explanation of this phenomenon, the “new-ness” of the imperialism that manifested itself in the late-19th century was not merely a matter of form, but rather of essence. The fact that Cox’s analysis of imperialism begins with a negation of this claim is not merely an accident, or for that matter a minor definitional misstep. It is a conceptual claim that shapes the rest of his argument, including the rather incongruous assertion regarding the novelty of the contemporary world order, as revealed in its non-hierarchical institutional arrangements that are maintained through co-option. Even without getting into the very peculiar circumstances in which the post-Second World War global order was created – the unparalleled economic and military dominance of the United States, the destruction of much of Europe, including the Soviet Union, the rapid spread of anti-colonial movements, etc. – it is hard to take seriously any claim that highlights the consensual, bargaining-based maintenance of this system. It is of course true that the new network of institutions created in the latter half of the 20th century provided space to hammer out what could pass for “consensus,” but in noting this point, one should be careful to not overstate its importance for two reasons: bargains between various actors in the imperialist system, as well as seemingly convivial institutional arrangements, did exist in the prior period, even if they were not as broad-based; and, perhaps more importantly, Hobson’s scathing critique about Pax Britannica could just as easily apply to the post-war Pax Americana – “always an impudent falsehood, [it has become over time] … a grotesque monster of hypocrisy” (Hobson, 2011). The survival of American capitalism rested on ensuring the openness of the world at large, and in numerous instances this did indeed entail using the various multi-lateral fora to hammer out agreements that would appeal to factions of the ruling class in other states as well. But in a world where the very existence of the Soviet Union closed off a vast region to capitalist expansion, this also meant the continuous and escalating deployment 17

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of American troops either covertly or overtly in numerous parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Co-option through consensus building, in other words, rested on the very deliberate use of coercive techniques that even if different in form, were quite as brutal as what was deployed during the earlier phase of colonial rule. Cox is correct in pointing out that the maintenance of the imperialist system did rest on negotiations between various strata of the ruling class, across boundaries. In that sense, it is not the nation-state as a unit that “acts” in global politics, but rather social classes. This brings us to the second major take-away point from Cox’s argument. As mentioned earlier, in Cox’s analysis, bargaining about the maintenance of the system takes place between “fragments of states.” The fragmentation, moreover, is not restricted to the states. Insofar as the “social forces” are concerned, Cox argues that unlike in the past when “classes [were] found to exist within nationally defined social formations,” we now have a situation where it would make sense to think of a “global class structure alongside or superimposed on national class structures.” So instead of thinking about the bourgeoisie as a single class, we have to consider the “transnational managerial class,” that has “its own ideology, strategy and institutions of collective action” as the apex of the emerging global class structure. Then comes the national bourgeoisie that is “torn between the desire to use the state as a bulwark of an independent economy,” or find for itself a symbiotic, albeit subordinate, relationship to the transnational bourgeoisie. Applying the same logic, Cox argues, it is evident that there are very deep cleavages that exists amongst industrial workers – between “established” and “non-established,” and then of course, between the established workers in sectors dominated by international capital and those working for national capital (Cox, 1986). When presented as yet another novel feature of the contemporary world order, the idea that there is fragmentation even amongst the bourgeoisie and the proletariat is a claim that does not quite make sense within a historical materialist framework. While Marx’s famous statement about the state being the “executive committee of the bourgeoisie” is often whipped out as proof to highlight the lack of nuance in the Marxist conception of both class and the state, it is hard to sustain that argument beyond the cursory stereotyping. That there existed factions amongst the bourgeoisie is something that the founder of the historical materialist school of thought was obviously aware of, and by the time Lenin wrote his pamphlet on imperialism, the emergence of finance capital and its peculiar relationship to industrial capital, and by extension state institutions, was seen as critical to understanding global politics. While the issue of the precise nature of the “transnational managerial” class and its very specific interests remains open, the notion of different factions of bourgeoisie being locked in specific struggles and also exercising different levels of control over various state apparatuses has always been an essential feature of an imperialist world system, and not just of its latest post-colonial phase. The same argument applies to the claim that there now exist cleavages amongst the workers of the world. Marx and Engels’ disenchantment with certain layers of the unionized British working class, and their gradually strengthening belief in the importance of “backward” Russia for world revolution was very much tied to the recognition of one such cleavage. As early as 1858, Engels wrote to Marx about the dangers of opportunism in the English working class movement, which was leading at least sections of the English proletariat to become “more and more bourgeois” (Engels, cited in Lenin, 1969). By the early 20th century, this tendency had become so visible that Lenin famously warned of the ways in which the imperialist bourgeoisie, through a measly apportioning of its loot from the colonies, had created an elite stratum amongst the working class, distinct from the “lower 18

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stratum of the proletariat proper.” This, as he argued, was reflective of the “tendency of imperialism to split the workers, strengthen opportunism among them and to cause temporary decay in the working class movement” (Lenin, 1969). The point here is that while the expansion of production across boundaries and the creation of new institutions to maintain the capitalist system globally do affect the nature of the relationship between and amongst various factions of the bourgeoisie and proletariat, the changes that Cox highlights are once again a matter of form, rather than the essence of the fundamental struggle amongst classes that a historical materialist framework highlights. World orders, as Cox correctly points out, are not fixed. They are dynamic, and the changes that they undergo have to be indeed understood by paying attention not just to inter-state relations but also social forces. Having established that, it is essential for any IR theorist to explain whether these changes are at the level of form or of essence, and how they came to be. It is these explanations that allow one to understand the perspective underlying any theoretical analysis. On the question of form and essence, Cox’s analysis of imperialist world orders, as I have illustrated above is consistently different from a Marxist one, in that his usage of the term “historical materialism” to describe his critical theoretical approach seems to be a misnomer. There is one other arena in which a scholar can illustrate her theoretical perspective, and that pertains to the conceptualization of alternatives to the existing order, for this is where the theorist reveals their understanding of the relationship between theory and practice. Where does Cox stand on this question, and is this where one can find the possibility of a happy marriage between Marxism and critical theory? I turn to this question in the final section.

Practice and the problem of critique Critical theory, Cox argues, is distinct from problem-solving approaches, primarily in that it allows for a normative conceptualization of a “social and political order different from the prevailing order” (1986: 210). That certainly seems to fit with a Marxist world-view. But Cox doesn’t stop at this point. He goes on to state that what critical theory provides is a “range of choice” in terms of alternative orders to the existing one. And that it needs to arrive at this “range” after rejecting “improbable alternatives,” in the same way that it rejects “the permanency of the existing order” (ibid.). So, what constitutes this range of alternative orders for Cox? Based on his analysis of the changing production processes and the social forces they engender, Cox presents three possible futures. The first of these is the prospect of a “new hegemony” that would result from the “consolidation of two presently powerful and related tendencies” embedded within the internationalization of the production process: the continuing dominance of international over national capital and the internationalization of the state. Within this new world order, interstate power configuration would be represented by a “coalition centering upon the United States, the Federal Republic of Germany, Japan … other OECD countries … [coopted] Third world industrialized counties like Brazil” and potentially a greater linkage of the Soviet sphere into “the world economy of international production.” Social conflict – impossible to avoid due to dissatisfied strata of national capital, as well as disenfranchised workers – would be controlled through “economic corporatism” in the core countries and through a combination of “state corporatism and repression” in the peripheral countries. The second possible future is what Cox characterizes as a “nonhegemonic world structure of conflicting power centers.” This would be a product of the ascendency of “neo-mercantilist coalitions” linking national capital and established labor in opposition to the interests of 19

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international capital. And the final “and most remotely possible outcome” would be the emergence of a counter-hegemony based on a Third World coalition that would challenge the dominance of core countries, and would in fact sever the core–periphery relationship to insist on the “autonomous development” of the Third World (Cox, 1986: 237). From a Marxist perspective, the picture presented above poses some serious problems. For one, none of the options for an alternative future spelled out by Cox involves a radical transformation of the world order along socialist lines, or the dismantling of the capitalist system. It is possible to claim that all Cox is doing is describing the possibilities based on the level of development of productive forces, both economic and social, at a given point. But, when it comes to the question of envisaging alternatives to the existing order, a theorist does not merely describe what is possible – embedded in the description is a prescription of what is to be done. So, what exactly are the guidelines for political practice that one would extract from Cox’s vision for alternative futures? This is not an unfair question given that particularly from the standpoint of historical materialism, as Cox would surely agree, the task of the philosopher is not just to explain the world, but to change it. Marx, Engels, Lenin and even Gramsci saw their task as not merely explaining the prevailing world orders and social forces, but rather spelling out the ways in which specific elements within the existing order could be harnessed for carrying out a radical transformation of the system. While the world that they inhabited was not exactly the same as the one that prevailed in the second half of the 20th century, there exist (as pointed out in the previous section) enough fundamental similarities for us to juxtapose their visions for an alternative world order with that presented by Cox. Doing so makes it very apparent that whatever critical orientation it is that Cox’s worldview represents, it is not the same as that espoused by the founders of historical materialism or some of their best-known followers.4 There is a second issue that derives from the very idea of a “range of alternatives” to the existing order as a guide for practical action. It does not seem preposterous to suppose that identifying oneself as a Marxist would imply at a fundamental level, a commitment to the revolutionary transformation of the existing capitalist order into a socialist one. In other words, Marxism arguably offers not so much a range of possible alternatives, but an alternative to the existing order with the space to deliberate about the specific ways in which one might arrive at that. Even if we were to put that aside, there remains the question of how one arrives at a particular range. Cox states that critical theory clarifies a range of options, after having considered and discarded “improbable” alternatives. If Marxism – or historical materialism, if you will – is critical theory in Cox’s rendering, should not the “improbable” alternative that was considered and discarded refer to the notion of a reformed capitalism, a capitalism without imperialism, a world still characterized by the capitalist mode of production in which peace, stability and prosperity for all was possible? And if Marxism is meant to be just one of many possible critical theoretical approaches, what if the Marxist alternative to the existing order – a socialist transformation of society premised on the unity of the working class as a whole – is dismissed as “improbable” and in fact, undesirable, by a different approach also purporting to be critical? This is of course not a hypothetical scenario. While some of the discussions of critical IR theory following the publication of Cox’s article emphasized that the goal of such an approach broadly speaking was to “promote emancipation by providing enlightenment about the constraints upon human autonomy,” others were more circumspect (Linklater, 1992: 86). Mark Hoffman, for instance, pointed out that rather than embrace a politics of emancipation which smacks resoundingly of foundationalism, postmodern and poststructuralist critical theories, embrace what Richard Ashley calls “radical interpretivism” – a mode of thought that emphasizes the undecidability of social practices. These kinds of critical 20

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theories, Hoffman correctly states, are concerned with asking not the “what” question, but rather the “how” question, which is then answered by turning to “the interplay of ‘texts’, of knowledge practices in order to invert dominant hierarchies” (Hoffman, 1991: 178). Trying to bridge the gap between the modern and postmodern variants of theories categorized as “critical,” Richard Price and Christian Reus-Smit (1998) tried to argue that there were fundamental epistemological, methodological, ontological and normative commitments that bound together all critical theories.5 But, a closer look at that claim shows that, at least on the first three commitments, Marxism would have serious differences with claims made about the nature of objectivity, the scientific method and questions of the social construction of identity as a constitutive element of politics. And on the notion of normative commitments, while it is undoubtedly true that Marxists would question the very notion of “value-free theorizing,” to fold the political perspective underlying this approach into a vague statement about the commitment to the “exposure and dissolution of structures of domination” makes one pause. As it stands now, critical IR theory encompasses a whole range of approaches, most of which would find implausible, and would in fact be fundamentally antithetical to the Marxist analysis of the nature of the existing “structures of dominance” and even more so, to the notion of a proletarian revolution as way out of the impasse of the current world order. Robert Cox rightly insisted that theory is always for someone and for some purpose. So, perhaps it is time for us to ask in whose interest and for what purpose is this umbrella category of “critical theory” maintained? What appetites are being whetted through the serving of this smörgåsbord of essentially incompatible world-views? At what point does the celebration of a plurality of views end up leading to a category that is as intellectually incoherent as it is political domesticated? Uncomfortable though it might be, questions of these sorts are unavoidable for those seeking to work through the relationship between theory and political practice in the study of IR. As for the Marxist perspective, as recent scholarship points out, there has indeed been a “major efflorescence” in the discipline of IR, matched only by “[the] resurgence of popular interest.” The question of why this is so a quarter century after the end of the Cold War and the proclamation of the “end of history” is a crucial one. Some have argued that the collapse of the Soviet Union freed Marxism from the shackles of “official Soviet ideology,” leading to a “certain ideological ‘liberation’ of Marxist thought,” opening up the space for a “creative surge of historical materialist thinking” (Anievas, 2010: 1). However, this still leaves open the question of the origin and nature of those shackles. It is not a stretch to say that the spectre of the Soviet Union still haunts any discussion of Marxist theory and praxis, and the historical materialist perspective. Avoiding it, as Cox did in his landmark article over three decades ago, can only lead to conceptual obfuscations and political dead-ends. Thus, the task for Marxists is to face head-on the complicated legacy of the Russian revolution and return to the unanswered questions of the 20th century.6 This remains the crucial step in helping craft the distinct position of Marxism, both as a theoretical approach in IR and as a guide to political action.

Notes 1 The essay, initially published in Millennium, was included in the Keohane edited volume, Neorealism and Its Critics, that attempted to define the field of IR as it existed in the mid-1980s. All the citations in this essay are from that volume. 2 In his postscript to the original essay, Cox explains his preference for the term “historical materialist” to describe his own leanings. As he put it, “[but] for the contradictory diversity of Marxist thought” he would have been “glad to identify himself … as your friendly neighborhood Marxist-Leninist.” But as “things [stood] in the complex world of Marxism,” he preferred to be identified “simply as a historical materialist” (Cox, 1986: 249). This claim does set up interesting questions about how Cox

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Latha Varadarajan understood the relationship between Marxism and historical materialism, a question that became even more pertinent when he went on to disavow any Marxist leanings later on in life. However, at the point of writing this article, Cox still presented historical materialism as a strand of Marxism, and it is on those terms that the general argument has been largely understood. 3 In the postscript, Cox acknowledges that the similarity between “structuralist Marxism” and “structural realism” rests not so much on the “use to which theory is put, but on its conception of the nature of knowledge” (248). 4 While laying out his three possible outcomes, Cox acknowledges that he does not intend to “imply no other outcomes or configurations of social forces are possible” (1986: 237). But this acknowledgment is not particularly reassuring, for it doesn’t quite explain why he then focuses on the three outlined in the article. Leaving aside the curious fact that in a publication just three years prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union there’s no real discussion of that prospect, it is striking that Cox is willing to consider the possibility (albeit a remote one) of a Third World counter-hegemony at a time when even most defenders of the Third World project saw it as a waning phenomenon. The one possibility he does not consider is that of a proletarian revolutionary movement, which after all was the acknowledged political project of historical materialism. 5 Epistemologically, critical theorists question positivist approaches to knowledge, criticizing attempts to formulate objective, empirically verifiable truth statements about the natural and social world. Methodologically, they reject the hegemony of a single scientific method, advocating a plurality of approaches to the generation of knowledge while highlighting the importance of interpretive strategies. Ontologically, they challenge rationalist conceptions of human nature and action, stressing instead the social construction of actors’ identities, and the importance of identity in the constitution of interests and action. And normatively they condemn value neutral theorizing, denying its very possibility, and calling for the development of theories explicitly committed to the exposure and dissolution of structures of domination. (Price and Reus-Smit, 1998: 261) 6 The recent work of some scholars already seems to be promising in this regard. Both Justin Rosenberg and Alexander Anievas have engaged with some of the important questions that arose out of the experience of the Russian revolution, particularly by focusing on Leon Trotsky’s concept of “uneven and combined development.” For a discussion of the debates surrounding the applicability of this concept, see Anievas (2010).

References Anderson, Perry (1976) ‘The Antinomies of Antonio Gramsci’. New Left Review. Special Hundredth Issue, 5–78. Anderson, Perry (2017) The H-Word: The Peripeteia of Hegemony. London: Verso. Anievas, Alexander (ed.) (2010) Marxism and World Politics: Contesting Global Capitalism. New York: Routledge. Cox, Robert (1986) ‘Social Forces, States and World Orders: Beyond International Relations Theory’. Chapter 8 in Robert Keohane (ed.), Neorealism and Its Critics. New York: Columbia University Press, 205–254. Hobson, John A. (2011) Imperialism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hoffman, Mark (1991) ‘Restructuring, Reconstruction, Reinscription, Rearticulation: Four Voices in Critical International Theory’. Millennium: Journal of International Studies 20 (2), 169–185. Lenin, Vladimir (1969) Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. New York: International Publishing Company. Linklater, Andrew (1992) ‘The Question of the Next Stage in International Relations Theory: A Critical-Theoretical Point of View’. Millennium: Journal of International Studies 22 (1), 77–98. Price, Richard and Christian Reus-Smit (1998) ‘Dangerous Liaisons? Critical International Theory and Constructivism’. European Journal of International Relations 4 (3), 259–294. Saccarelli, Emanuele (2008) Gramsci and Trotsky in the Shadow of Stalinism. New York: Routledge. Saccarelli, Emanuele (2011) ‘The Intellectual in Question: Antonio Gramsci and the Crisis of Academia’. Cultural Studies 25 (6), 757–782.

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2 HOW TO CRITICIZE WITHOUT EVER BECOMING A CRITIC Sergei Prozorov

Introduction What has critical IR done? In the thirty-plus years of its existence as a recognizable approach or orientation in the discipline what effects has it produced? What has the critique of the discipline achieved? It is possible to answer this question in a myriad of ways, quite a few of which are ventured in this volume. For our purposes in this chapter, it is possible to categorize these effects in a threefold manner. First, it has sought the expansion of the field both theoretically (by introducing new approaches from philosophy, social and other sciences) and thematically (by introducing new themes of research from gender to science fiction). Second, it attempted to overcome, invert or at least disturb the hierarchies in the discipline (between high and low politics, levels of analysis, hard and soft power, quantitative and qualitative methods, etc.). Finally, it ventured the subversion of restrictions and assigned roles (for feminists to study national security, for third world scholars to study European integration, for post-structuralists to write IR textbooks, etc.). Overcoming exclusions, overturning hierarchies, abolishing restrictions – there is a clearly political aspect to all three of these effects. In this chapter I shall argue that the task and achievement of critical IR does indeed consist in the politicization of the discipline. This view of politicization cannot but appear controversial for two reasons. First, we are more accustomed to conceiving of politicization in terms of subjecting a field or process to the demands or judgment of a certain political principle or doctrine. From this perspective, the politicization of an academic discipline would entail its domination by some external political content, be it liberalism, socialism or nationalism, which, as experience teaches us, is never a good thing. Second, we tend to approach politics in more constructive and affirmative terms as an activity that goes beyond mere abolition and overcoming of something. We therefore expect politicization to do something more to the discipline than rid it of exclusions and hierarchies, e.g. produce a different, new and better discipline. In this chapter I shall outline the notion of politicization which inverts these two assumptions. First, the politicization we shall focus on is entirely immanent, devoid of any external doctrine and ideology and targeting the discipline’s own ‘doctrinal’ hierarchies, exclusions and restrictions. Second, it will have its entire substance in the apparently negative acts of overcoming these hierarchies, exclusions and restrictions. As I shall argue, politics is not about the construction of new and better worlds, but about undermining and transforming the 23

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ones that exist. From this perspective, the political subject will have more in common with the critic than with the artist. This claim cannot but appear controversial given the familiar references to ‘building a better world’ or a brighter future in the rhetoric of political actors of all stripes. Even when some of them are critical of the existing ‘world order’, they never fail to assert that ‘another world is possible’, usually with the implication that they would do a great job of producing it. And yet, it is precisely this poietic paradigm of politics that views it in terms of production, bringing into presence, that in our view must be overcome. The heterogeneity between political praxis and poiesis as productive activity, be it in the realm of aesthetics or the socioeconomic domain more generally, has been asserted in different ways by such political philosophers as Hannah Arendt (1998) and Giorgio Agamben (1999: 68–92, 2016: 3–24), both of whom emphasized the autonomy of political praxis from both labour in the narrow sense of the satisfaction of material needs and work more generally as the production of certain effects irreducible to the activity of work itself, from songs to stadiums to laws. As pure praxis, political action has its sole principle and its sole product in itself. It is precisely because it knows neither cause nor end that politics does not merely affirm freedom but actually and wholly consists in it. Yet, prior to introducing the figure that best embodies this freedom, let us briefly address the poietic paradigm and its relation to government and politics.

The poietic paradigm What is art as a form of poiesis? Evidently, art produces works, be they novels, paintings, operas, plays, etc. Yet, more importantly, art produces worlds, understood as regulated orders of appearance. In his Logics of Worlds (2009) Alain Badiou defined a world as any set of objects, whose appearance is governed by a certain order that he termed the ‘transcendental’. By this definition, a university, a protest march, a family all constitute worlds, distinguished from one another by the modes of appearance prescribed by its transcendental. Yet, so do Hamlet, War and Peace, and Parsifal. Every work of art sets up a world, in which its elements come to appearance, enter into relations and form new entities. Our experience of the work of art is conditioned by our entry into this world, without which the work in question remains literally impenetrable to us, simply because we have not in fact managed to penetrate the world it has set up – it remains there but ‘not for us’. If we happen to be not particularly ‘into’ a certain work, style or genre of art, this is simply because we are not in the world it produces. What defines art is then its constitution of a world, irrespective of whether this world is realistic or magical, abstract or even senseless. This world-forming aspect may be most easily traced in the 20th century (post-) avant-garde forms of art that have largely dispensed with the ‘work’ in the traditional sense of the word without thereby in any way abandoning the poietic paradigm. Readymade art, which, to its detractors, appears to do nothing but transfer any object whatsoever from its regular sphere of use to a museum, is definable as art precisely by virtue of this operation of transfer, which constitutes a new world by moving everyday objects into it and suspending their everyday functions in it. The artwork is produced without any recognizable work of ‘artisanry’ by a sheer gesture of de- and re-contextualization. Yet, other forms of art do exactly the same thing, in more or less minimalist or maximalist ways: the world of Wagner’s Ring, the world of Magritte, the world of Game of Thrones all bring to presence new forms of appearance of beings governed by a certain transcendental order. The notion of governing is important here, insofar as this productive or presencing function of art has a clear parallel with the world-making characteristic of governmental practices, 24

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which constitute worlds as ordered spaces of human coexistence: the world of global finance, the world of publishing, the world of slums, the ‘Russian world’, the fashion world, the world of IR, etc. Yet, while it is unproblematic to view these worlds as governed by a certain order, we usually hesitate to view artistic worlds along the same lines, choosing to romanticize them as somehow free or disordered. Yet, while many artists may well take exception to the sociopolitical worlds we inhabit, this does not make their own world-making activity any less rigorous and subject to ordering. There is no poiesis in chaos, only poiesis out of chaos, the presencing into a world. What we take for the anarchic character of art is rather the effect of the pluralism of its forms and genres: as Jean-Luc Nancy reminds us, there is no unity in art, there are always only arts, never Art in general (Nancy, 2006: 10–21). For that reason, the ordering particular to a certain mode of art rarely feels oppressive – one does not have to do this particular or, for that matter, any kind of art: there is always another kind to switch to whenever one feels bored or oppressed. Nonetheless, despite this freedom, which, as every freedom, is only appreciable in its absence (e.g. when a particular style becomes politically authorized as the only one admissible), there is no poiesis without the institution of a certain order. This is why the poietic paradigm applies equally well to both art and government, without in any way reducing one to the other: there is certainly a difference between the world of Regieoper and the world of New Public Management, but the world-forming character of the practices involved is exactly the same. To speak of an art of government, as was the custom since the antiquity, is not to unite the incompatible but to state the obvious. What about politics, then? In my Void Universalism (Prozorov, 2013a, 2013b) I defined politics as the practice of the affirmation in any particular world of the axioms arising from the void of being that conditions its possibility. Following Badiou, I start out from the existence of an infinite number of infinite worlds defined by a particular positive order, whose condition of possibility is the void as ‘the proper name of being’, that in which and out of which all positive worlds emerge. The orders defining these worlds are contingent, relative and particular. However, if these worlds are reduced to their sheer being-in-the-void, we may derive axioms from this condition that would be necessary, absolute and universal. They define the very worldhood of any world and for this reason are valid in any world whatsoever, since they do not depend on any worldly trait. The three axioms of freedom, equality and community, which in my reading exhaust the content of politics, describe the being of any being of any world, when the specific attributes of this world are suspended. In the absence of any identitarian predicates defining what they are, we are left with the sheer fact that these beings are: equal (devoid of any hierarchy), free (from any determination) and in common (in the absence of any boundaries). These axioms are not historically specific features of some particular worlds that are inaccessible in others, but rather properly universal axioms, valid in any world whatsoever since they are nothing but attributes of the world itself when it is subtracted from all particular content. The affirmation of these axioms within worlds, which constitutes politics, is therefore not a formative activity, since it does not introduce or produce any positive content in the world in question. Instead, it is a trans-formative or even de-forming practice, which seeks to level hierarchies and thus affirm equality, overcome exclusions and thus affirm community, reject restrictions and thus affirm freedom. Since any world is constituted by a certain transcendental order, whose exclusions, hierarchies and restrictions inevitably limit community, equality and freedom, the political affirmation of these axioms does not seek to produce a new, different world, which by definition would also be characterized by exclusions, hierarchies and restrictions of its own. It may well be that such a new world might indeed emerge as a result of the adaptation of the present world to the political 25

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challenge, the routinization of political activity, a successful restoration of the previous order, etc. Yet, politics as such does not seek to form a world but rather de-forms its transcendental order by the maximal affirmation of freedom, equality and community that levels the transcendental distinctions that constitute the very worldhood of the world. What is the difference between world formation as a governmental practice and the politics of world transformation? World-making ipso facto departs from a certain idea/vision of what the world must be and then proceeds to construct it in such a manner. Its rationality is teleo-technological, characterized by the affirmation of the goal to be reached and the design of techniques for reaching it. While no positive form of the world ever really corresponds to the blueprint for its construction, the blueprint in question nonetheless provides the terms, in which the world becomes intelligible and may be justified or contested. In contrast, politics begins with an indeterminate axiom valid for any world whatsoever and then does whatever it deems necessary to realize this axiom in a world, remaining agnostic or even indifferent about what positive form the transformed worlds would eventually take. From this perspective, it is important to understand the blackmail involved in the typical response of governmental rationalities to the challenges of radical politics. How many times have we been asked or even asked ourselves the question of how the world regulated by our ideas would look in practice, who would regulate traffic, pass laws, take care of the waste, etc. – in short, what would be the positive form of the world that we affirm in our political demands? The reason such questions are often impossible to answer is that they have nothing to do with the logic of politics and can therefore function only as diversions from properly political inquiries and practices. It is meaningless to ask a political subject what world s/he wants because the political subject does not want the world, a world, any world. What it wants is freedom, equality and community in the world, in this world here, and it does not concern itself with the myriad of governmental minutiae that may or may not be required to translate those demands into practice. The political subject proclaims the world as wrong without writing blueprints on how to set it right (Prozorov, 2013b: 28–38).

The critic as the political subject Sounds familiar? This description of the political subject is evidently far from the image of the artist that painstakingly tries to produce a better work or a better world. Yet, it resonates strongly with another figure that every artist is aware and wary of – the critic. The political subject occupies the same position in relation to government as the critic in relation to the artist. The critic does not correct the artist’s work or produce a better one – s/he judges it, praises it or finds it wanting, demolishes or ridicules it, all in the name of a few axioms s/he deems valid. It is not the task of the critic to re-produce the work of the artist as it should have been produced, only to conclude that it has not been produced in this manner. This is why from the perspective of the poietic paradigm critics are immeasurably inferior to artists: rather than produce something of their own, they just trash the work of others. Artists and audiences alike might find this unfair, and of course it sometimes is, yet we continue reading and needing the critics, as we need political subjects, even though the latter may sometimes be even more annoying than art critics. Isn’t this view unnecessarily limited? Does not politics do more than criticize and is not the very distinction between politics and government artificial? While it is certainly possible for politics to be practiced in the field of government, the two notions do not necessarily coincide and may indeed drift far apart: just as government is a general concept that refers to ordering practices in any realm whatsoever (family, classroom, corporation, mafia gang, 26

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nation-state, etc.), so politics refers to the subversion and transformation of worldly orders in any type of domain, be it parties and parliaments or religion, economy, art, science, family, etc. The difference between politics and government may be described along three axes. Politics deals with what is universal, absolute and necessary, while government is preoccupied with the particular, relative and contingent. Just as arts produce an infinite variety of particular worlds, government is an inherently particularistic domain, ordering a multiplicity of worlds in accordance with their specific transcendentals that are radically contingent and have no foundation in being (Agamben, 2011: 53–64). There is no reason why beings, which are ontologically disseminated in an inconsistent multiplicity, would have to be ordered in this or that positive way (Badiou, 2009: 111–122). It is this radical contingency of worldly orders that enables their political contestation: the only ontological claim that could be advanced in relation to any particular world is that all of its beings are in their being free, equal and in common, hence any order that limits their freedom, equality and community has no ontological justification and may be transformed (Prozorov, 2013a: 73–108). Political affirmation may in principle make the same ‘critical’ point about any world whatsoever, since, whatever their particular degrees of freedom, equality or community, no world could possibly affirm them fully and completely. In this manner, it relativizes all world orders without exception while itself remaining an absolute statement, valid for whatever world it happens to be affirmed in. Yet, what about a world structured in accordance with these absolute axioms themselves, the world that would thereby acquire an ontological foundation and be for the first time truly in line with being? The confusion of government and politics leads to the perpetual temptation of constructing a particular world in accordance with universal principles, an ontic order corresponding to the ontological foundation, a contingent and relative order that would attain the absolute and the necessary. Yet, this foundation is nothing but the void from which and in which all worlds come to exist (Badiou, 2005: 52–68; Prozorov, 2013a: 21–35). A world created in accordance with this void would be a world reduced to nothing, a non-world, or, in Nancy’s expression, an un-world (2007: 34). While the universal is an indispensable instrument of criticism, it is an extremely dangerous instrument for government: we know only too well the violent character of all attempts to produce the universal amid the particular, which end up annihilating beings in the name of their interpretation of being. The same is true a fortiori with regard to absoluteness and necessity. Whereas criticism makes use of freedom, equality and community as attributes of pure being, in whose name particular worlds could be evaluated and found wanting, the deployment of the very same axioms as ontological foundations of rationalities of government may enable extreme governmental violence that would be justified as being somehow in accordance with being itself and hence absolute and necessary, absolutely necessary. The deployment of egalitarianism in Soviet socialism or communitarianism in fascism and Nazism provides sufficient grounds to reject any use of ontology as a foundation of government rather than as inspiration for political criticism. What makes political and critical activity so effective is not only dangerous but also extremely superfluous for both government and art. Imagine a work of art that would not merely strive towards but actually embody universality, necessity and the absolute, a work of art that could no longer be criticized because it would incorporate in itself all that the critics could possibly say about it in the manner of the post-historical Wiseman in Kojève’s reading of Hegel (1969). What interest would such a work have for anyone? A work of art appeals to us precisely in its particularity (even as it strives for universality), relativity (even as it tries to express the absolute), contingency (even as it claims necessity), 27

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and a ‘critic-proof’ work would most probably be not only impossible to criticize but also not worth criticizing. Similarly, a hypothetical governmental order, in which the ontological axioms were all affirmed to the maximal degree, is not only difficult to imagine but even more difficult to endorse, as its very perfection creates a suffocating sense of closure that its apparent affirmation of freedom, equality and community would seem to deny. In short, just as the universal perspective of the critic does not easily lend itself to the particularistic poiesis of the artist, the universalism of the political subject does not yield a correlate form of governmental order. For this reason, while politics and government remain intertwined, it is impossible to reduce one to the other or completely translate one into the terms of the other. Politics does not make worlds even as it unfolds within them. It unmakes worlds without destroying them, this unmaking pertaining to the transcendental order that regulates the world in question and not to the beings regulated by it. As pure praxis without product, politics brings to presence nothing but its own operation, which in turn does nothing but absent worldly beings from the contingent, relative and particular mode of presencing that their world has consigned them to. It is this ‘absenteeist’ orientation of politics that lends it its subversive and disruptive character, which should by no means be confused with any ‘aestheticism’ that radical politics is sometimes mistakenly accused of. As we have seen, the logic of aesthetic poiesis is in fact closer to the most depoliticized managerialism than to political action of any kind. Politics deals with worlds in the same way as the critic deals with artworks; it does not build anything but rather takes apart what has been built by others in order to enhance the freedom, equality and community of those dwelling in the worlds that have been built. We now arrive at the key point in the argument: to oppose the poietic paradigm of politics is to reject the assumption of the build-ability or constructibility of existence into positive forms, whatever these might be: politics is not about building socialism or capitalism, democracy or tyranny, a bright future or a glorious past (see Prozorov, 2016). It evidently does not mean renouncing poiesis in every or actually in any of its forms: it is nice to live in houses, wear clothes and even listen to a piece of music from time to time. Yet, these activities have nothing to do with politics in themselves, even though politics might erupt in their midst as the challenge to whatever particular order this productive activity is governed by. Failure to present a blueprint for a perfect society should therefore no longer serve as disqualification from ‘proper politics’ but rather as the first step towards a genuinely political disposition. While it is no doubt more gratifying for political subjects to think of themselves as artists, they should rather think of themselves as critics – that universally vilified occupation of those who cannot do anything else, which we still cannot do without.

The immanent politicization of the discipline The abandonment of the poietic paradigm also provides us with a different perspective on the work of the critic, particularly in the fields nominally associated with politics, such as political science and IR. There is an evident temptation for critical scholars in an academic discipline to view their academic work as somehow also ‘political’, yet it is not always easy to pinpoint what this political significance actually consists it. For example, is ‘political philosophy’ itself a political practice or does it merely take politics as its object without becoming politicized itself? After all, if philosophy of art does not express itself in paintings and operas, and if philosophy of science does not make scientific discoveries, why should we expect philosophy of politics to itself produce political effects? Just as we do not expect musicology to express itself in song, should not the effects of the science of politics be distinct from its object? 28

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In our view, these comparisons are not entirely correct since, unlike the particular domains of science, art, medicine, etc, politics does not have its own specific realm of positivity and is rather an activity that is practicable across the variety of worlds: it is possible to affirm freedom, equality and community in any world whatsoever, be it a family, a hospital or a golf club. It is therefore indeed possible for a science to be political, but only because it is possible for any domain at all to become politicized. Any domain can give birth to its own critics. Nonetheless, it is important to rigorously distinguish the immanent politicization of the scientific domain from the subjection of this domain to external political evaluation: the political effects of critical IR are entirely internal and indeed coterminous with its own operation. Critical IR does not politicize the discipline by smuggling in some ‘politics’ of its own, but by affirming political axioms in the disciplinary transcendental itself. This affirmation should be rigorously distinguished from the ‘suture’ of science to any ready-made politics, whereby a political doctrine becomes the foundation of disciplinary discourse. A good example of suture of philosophy to politics is Louis Althusser’s infamous project of ‘class struggle in theory’, in which philosophy is reduced to a ‘revolutionary weapon’ (cf. Badiou, 2008: 147–175). As the fate of philosophy and social sciences in nominally Marxist political regimes demonstrates, such ‘politicization’ can only reduce philosophy to useless drivel without really helping class or any other struggle. Subordinated to an external doctrine and instrumentalized as the weapon in its actualization, science or philosophy loses its autonomy and ultimately its very identity, making it impossible to occupy the position of the critic in its own field (cf. Prozorov, 2013b: 95–99). Rather than venture to bring ‘class struggle’ or any other ideological doctrine into academic ‘theory’, one should politicize the realm of theory itself by focusing on what the affirmation of freedom, equality and community mean within the realm of theory itself. Immanent politicization of the kind that critical IR undertook since the late 1980s does not (ab)use the authority of the discipline to assist the production of political effects elsewhere, but subjects its own immediate world to the evaluation in terms of the political axioms, finds it wanting and demands its transformation not in the name of some ideological doctrine but in the name of its own being. Freedom, equality and community are nothing but the attributes of the beings of any world whatsoever that become accessible when they are subtracted from every particular worldly identity. There is not first politics and then critique outlined in terms of the latter: critique is politics and politics is critique and it can only be practiced in an immanent way in whatever world it finds itself. This approach to critical IR permits re-appreciating the effectiveness of its political interventions since the 1980s: of course, the manifold movements in critical IR (feminism, constructivism, post-Marxism, post-structuralism, etc.) did not ‘change the world’ if by ‘world’ we mean a phantasmatic totality of everything in existence, which we routinely invoke despite its manifest inconsistency (Badiou, 2009: 109–111; Prozorov, 2013a: 8–14). Yet, it most certainly did change its world, which is in fact the only world it could change, since it was applied there and not e.g. in the worlds of ballet, Chinese food or DC Comics. To take just one example, the 1990 issue of International Studies Quarterly, edited by Ashley and Walker, featuring the contributions of Cynthia Weber, James Der Derian, Michael Shapiro and other authors, evidently did not make the ‘outside’ world a better place in any recognizable way. But what about the world of IR itself? As the first collection of broadly post-structuralist texts in a major IR journal, that special issue had enormous effects on the discipline by bringing to presence its ‘inexistents’ (Badiou, 2009: 321–324; Prozorov, 2013b: 1–18). The inexistent object of a world is ontologically there in the world in question but is proscribed from appearance by the transcendental of the world in question: it exists in the world as nothing. Yet, this reduction to 29

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inexistence has no ontological foundation, since all beings of all worlds are, in their being, free, equal and in common. Bringing the inexistent to existence is therefore the way the universal axioms of politics are affirmed in any given world. To affirm freedom, equality and community is to problematize the world in question in terms of the entities resigned to inexistence within it and to deactivate the hierarchies, exclusions and restrictions that make this inexistence possible. In terms of the world of IR in the late 1980s, such inexistents included themes (identity, culture, language, gender), authors (feminist or literary theorists, French philosophers) and methods (discourse analysis, deconstruction) that were entirely heterogeneous to the IR mainstream (and even its margins) at the time. Starting from the editorial introduction with its page-long epigraphs from Kristeva and Foucault (Ashley and Walker, 1990), the ISQ issue performed the quintessential political operation whose formula is familiar from the Internationale: what had not been IR now became IR. What was nothing must become, if not everything, then at least something – the ISQ publication certainly counted and still counts for quite a lot. Moreover, it is important to note that this intervention did not take place at the margins of the discipline but at the very heart of the mainstream: certainly, the authors affirmed ‘speaking the language of exile’ but they did so from the pages of a recognized IR journal (Ashley and Walker, 1990). What made this intervention effective was that it was not practiced from a marginal or borderline position, but from within the disciplinary structures: the inexistent is always specific to a given world and it is there that it must be restored to existence. The strategy of cultivating marginal spaces that is sometimes affirmed in critical discourses is therefore politically meaningless, even if it might be ethically and existentially reassuring. It makes little sense to valorize and celebrate the inexistent where it actually exists. The point is rather to bring it into presence where its existence is not recognized as such. The ISQ special issue therefore marked the instance of non-IR becoming IR, of IR ‘as it was’ relativized and displaced by the addition of the formerly inexistent to its corpus. Today’s student would certainly not be shocked by an epigraph from Foucault, which could only strike one as pretty trivial given his citation index in the humanities and social sciences, but this is precisely the change that politics as criticism and criticism as politics seek to achieve: demoting the abnormal by challenging and displacing the limits within which the normal is contained. This is what made this intervention a paradigmatic political move that today’s critical IR must venture to repeat in a markedly different context.

Critique and identity: critical IR after the ‘Great Debates’ The parallel between the critic and the political subject is not merely helpful for understanding the logic of the politicization of the discipline but also serves to keep critical IR wary of its own becoming disciplinary. As we have seen, the political subject is not an identity but a mode of praxis that subverts every identity in which it erupts (Prozorov, 2013b: 13–18). Just as there is no properly political sphere, but only the possibility of ceaseless politicization, so there is no predicate in terms of which the political subject can be identified except for the paradoxical predicate of dissolving every possible predicate. The condition of possibility for the formation of the political subject is the disidentification of the individual or group in question from their positive identity or ‘place in the world’, which enables their contestation of the order of this world as a whole, as opposed to advocating its particular modifications. Similarly, then, the critical scholar is not defined by its identity within a certain disciplinary structure, but by its capacity to subvert every such structure through a disidentification with one’s place in it. From this perspective, the current post-Great Debate situation in the discipline may be more problematic than it appears. At first glance, after the fervent yet fruitless debates of 30

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the late 1980s–early 1990s, in which the very legitimacy of critical IR was at stake, the present non-communicative entrenchment of ‘camp IR’ (Sylvester, 2013), in which each orientation is more or less left free to ‘do its thing’ in its conference panels, journals or publishing houses, is at least a first step forward (cf. Dunne, Hansen and Wight, 2013). Yes, but a step forward to what? It is undeniable that the discipline as a whole has made progress in its tolerance of critical approaches, from feminism and postcolonialism to postMarxism and poststructuralism, and their integration into the overall disciplinary structure, yet has this progress been accompanied by any great success of the disruptive activity of the critic? It appears that the price for greater disciplinary acceptance has been the lesser attention or receptivity of the disciplinary mainstream to the disruptive ventures of critical IR. While brilliant studies in the critical vein were published in the last decade, they arguably did not have the impact of the first wave. While myriad articles and monographs of exceptional quality have been published in critical IR in the last ten years, we struggle to think of one making a similar impact as that 1990 ISQ issue. At first glance, this is the price of success: having politicized the discipline to such an extent that the formerly inexistent have risen to existence in it, sometimes quite prominently (e.g. Foucauldian poststructuralism), critical IR has run out of inexistents to affirm. And yet, this would be an overly optimistic diagnosis, not only because every world has inexistent objects by definition (Badiou, 2009: 321–324) and the world of IR is only pluralistic and tolerant when compared to its recent past. Even more importantly, the scission of the discipline into non-communicating camps that regard each other with condescending toleration makes it more difficult to affirm inexistents, since they have been assigned a place where (and where alone) they may actually exist without bothering others with their obtrusive existence. Indeed, once a place in the overall order has been carved out for most critical discourse, critical IR may be kept in its place more effectively not by denying its belonging to the discipline, science or rationality in general, but rather by emphasizing its particular contributions while effacing its more general and universal ambition or function. In this manner, critical IR becomes hypostasized into an identity of a specific approach, school or ‘paradigm’ within the discipline. We may identify two strategies of this sedimentation of critical IR into an identity. Theoretically, critical IR may be incorporated into the self-image of the discipline as a marginal representative, which deserves an obligatory chapter, section or subsection in a textbook, which would demonstrate the distance of this approach from the mainstream. Particularly given the contemporary fondness of the mainstream for ‘analytical eclecticism’ (Lake, 2013), this distance ensures that critical IR would continue to be marginalized even in the climate of relative tolerance, simply because only reasonably compatible orientations, i.e. those already in the mainstream, may enter into ‘eclectic’ combinations. Moreover, given the preference of analytical eclecticism for consensus over criticism, it is difficult to see how the disruptive agenda of critical IR might be incorporated into it. Of course, there is no reason it should be incorporated there at all: the task of the critic is to subvert any consensus, irrespectively of whether it was arrived at eclectically or otherwise. The task of the critical disposition today consists precisely in the investigation of the inexistents produced by the more pluralistic and eclectic mainstream of the present moment. It might find out that the current appearance of the fragmentation of the mainstream need not necessarily be a sign of its weakening but rather of a more effective consolidation. Empirically, the sedimentation proceeds by the (self-)limitation of the focus of critical IR to particular themes and questions. Since their emergence in the 1980s the ‘new’ critical approaches have become concentrated in a number of issue areas, e.g. poststructuralism 31

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becoming prominent in migration and refugee studies, post-Marxism occupying important heights in IPE, postcolonialism focusing on culture and identity. While such concentration is understandable and almost self-evident in some cases, it has had the largely unintended effect of maintaining the hegemony of the mainstream in the guise of pluralism. It appears that the price for the incorporation of critical IR into the disciplinary structure has been the abandonment of the meta-theoretical objective of the deconstruction of the discipline for the empirical project of the deconstruction of policies and practices from within the discipline. Of course, it is not a matter of any or all of us abandoning the empirical sites of our interest for the vain attempt to subvert the totality of IR. Nonetheless, it is clear that the specialization of critical IR detracts from its production of general effects of critique. The good news is that the two activities actually do not exclude one another: specialization can be combined with critique precisely because critique is not itself a specialization. One cannot be specialized in critique since there is no particular place in any system that is reserved for its subversion. As we have seen, the critic attains its subjectivity by means of disidentification from its identity, which is not complemented by taking up some other identity within a given order. Let us recall the famous description of the communist society in Marx and Engels’s German Ideology: in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic. (Marx and Engels, 1970: 53) Of course, in Marx’s vision of communism, every human activity becomes generic and nonspecializing. However, in our approach, which pertains to any society whatsoever, the role of the critic is different from that of other professions or specializations, precisely insofar as one can criticize but can never ‘become a critic’, if that entails assuming some positive identity, like that of the fisherman, the herdsman and the hunter. The critic is always already generic and the decision to specialize only leads to the weakening or exhaustion of critical impact. Of course, as long as we are not in a communist society, one must presumably specialize in something, hence one can only ‘criticize after dinner’, as a supplement to our day jobs. And yet, the very notion of the supplement makes it clear that we are not talking about some extra-curricular, after-work activity in addition to our principal practice in the discipline. The supplement in the Derridean sense both makes that principal practice complete and subverts it from within, bringing the after-dinner hour of criticism right into the working day (Derrida, 1998: 144–151). The challenge is precisely this: criticizing ‘all day’ as ‘after dinner’, without ever retreating into a disciplinary identity of the critic. Thus, critical IR should continue to speak the ‘language of exile’, while being fully aware that it is not a matter of any particular language, theory, method or style. As I have tried to demonstrate in this chapter, what defines the critical disposition is not a particular theoretical orientation but the drive for the immanent politicization of the discipline, the overcoming of the exclusions, hierarchies and restrictions that sustain it. While particular ‘critical’ approaches, be they those of Foucault, Derrida or Žižek, might easily end up accepted and incorporated into the disciplinary identity as yet another minoritarian ‘theory’, what matters more is one’s perseverance in the subject-position of disidentification from one’s place in the existing disciplinary order. Yet, the second conclusion is that this disidentification must always be practiced in the midst of the disciplinary domain: there is no home to return to or reclaim, no garden to 32

How to criticize

tend to at the margins of the discipline. As soon as we disidentify with our prescribed place, there is only the exile that must never be appropriated as a home. What must be cultivated is therefore the ethos of estranged belonging to the discipline that enables us to navigate the field without becoming so invested in its reproduction that we lose sight of our task as critics. Critical IR scholars should neither be content with occupying their own marginal niche within the discipline nor aspire to take over the discipline in its entirety. Instead, they must traverse the entire disciplinary space in the mode of exile, overcoming its exclusions, hierarchies and restrictions whenever possible without ever claiming it as its sovereign domain.

Bibliography Agamben, Giorgio (1998) Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Agamben, Giorgio (1999) The Man without Content. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Agamben, Giorgio (2011) The Kingdom and the Glory: For a Theological Genealogy of Economy and Government. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Agamben, Giorgio (2016) The Use of Bodies. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Arendt, Hannah (1998) The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Ashley, Richard and Walker, R.B.J. (1990) ‘Speaking the Language of Exile: Dissident Thought in International Studies’. International Studies Quarterly 34 (3), 259–268. Badiou, Alain (2005) Being and Event. London: Continuum. Badiou, Alain (2008) Conditions. London: Continuum. Badiou, Alain (2009) Logics of Worlds. London: Continuum. Derrida, Jacques (1998) Of Grammatology. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Dunne, Tim, Hansen, Lene and Wight, Colin (2013) ‘The End of International Relations Theory?’. European Journal of International Relations 19 (3), 405–425. Kojève, Alexandre (1969) Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: Lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Lake, David A. (2013) ‘Theory is Dead, Long Live Theory: The End of the Great Debates and the Rise of Eclecticism in International Relations’. European Journal of International Relations 19 (3), 567–587. Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich (1970) The German Ideology, Part I. New York: International Publishers. Nancy, Jean-Luc (2006) Multiple Arts: Muses II. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Nancy, Jean-Luc (2007) Creation of the World, or Globalization. New York: SUNY Press. Prozorov, Sergei (2013a) Ontology and World Politics: Void Universalism I. London: Routledge. Prozorov, Sergei (2013b) Theory of the Political Subject: Void Universalism II. London: Routledge. Prozorov, Sergei (2016) The Biopolitics of Stalinism: Ideas and Bodies in Soviet Socialism. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Sylvester, Christine (2013) ‘Experiencing the End and Afterlives of International Relations/Theory’. European Journal of International Relations 19 (3), 609–626.

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3 THE EMPTY NEIGHBOURHOOD Race and disciplinary silence Vineet Thakur and Peter Vale

Social Science is a gift of the First World War. Although the scienticisation of social theory began earlier in the nineteenth century, the ‘Great War’ elevated natural science and its methods to a new high. So if in 1916, Lord Cromer, a British statesman, could say that Germans were barbarians because they were notoriously scientific; by the end of the war, all traditional understandings of politics, education, organised religion and economic order were thoroughly discredited and, the historian D.S.L. Cardwell (1975: 454–455) tells us, only science remained as the ‘great solace’. A ‘relatively new ideology and faith that social sciences could solve social problems’ had taken hold as philanthropic organisations (such as the Rockefeller Foundation) encouraged efforts to carve social sciences in the fashion of natural sciences (Lamont, 2014: 74). As social scientists set about ‘solving the world’s many ills’, topping their agenda was the ‘world race problem’ (Lamont, 2014: 74). Joining the scholarly fashion of finding scientific solutions to human-centered problems was a new discipline: International Relations (IR). The defining problem that drove the discipline was, we are told: ‘War’, and so securing peace in the international system was the discipline’s priority. But, the central unit of this new analysis – the state – was an unstable notion and, interestingly, wholly unsuitable for an investigation which claimed to be ‘scientific’. This was one problem for the discipline; another was that some states were readily identifiable but others were colonial possessions. How was IR to negotiate this difference? Close at hand lay another, far more expedient social category, Race. The inter-national and the inter-racial, Robert Vitalis’s (2015) work has shown, were the two strong components of ‘the scientific study of international relations’ in the interwar era. But disciplinary histories tell a different story. These focus on the ‘inter-national’ and are underpinned by the trope of ‘idealism’ which argued that the inter-national was only a stage in the evolution of world society. Decidedly forgotten in the disciplinary narratives is the fact that the imaginations of world society in this period were informed by racial thinking. This ‘norm against noticing’ race means that, save for the recent work, IR historiography has had little to say about the question of ‘Race’ in the interwar years (Vitalis, 2000: 333). Admittedly, racial tones of the post-Second World War IR were more subdued (Hobson, 2012). In the latter period, the category of race was replaced with terms such as ‘ethnicity’ and ‘culture’ (Barkan, 2003: 703). However, such moves were not innocent. Nicolas Guilhot 34

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(2014) has demonstrated that race and decolonisation were sidelined in post-World War II disciplinary conversations in order to silence non-western perspectives. While American IR remains the primary target for this disciplinary amnesia towards race (Guilhot, 2014; Schmidt, 1998b; Vitalis, 2015) recent work on Alfred Zimmern, Gilbert Murray, J.A. Hobson and Leonard Woolf has also fingered racism in British IR (Cain, 2002; Long, 2005; Moorefield, 2009; Peatling, 2004; Stray, 2007; Wilson, 2011). Indeed, during the interwar years, the discipline was more of a ‘British social science’. While most interwar IR thinkers who influenced the discipline were British,1 influential chairs of IR existed at Aberystwyth, London School of Economics and Oxford. Furthermore, the London-based Royal Institute of International Affairs and its affiliates spread across the Dominions also shaped the early identity of the discipline.2 In this intervention, we delve into the core of British IR thinking. Rather than dismissing the ‘idealism’ of interwar British thinkers, we take it seriously. Indeed, we argue that British idealism, which strived for a world state, had ‘race’ as a core conceptual category. We also argue that race and imperialism, while conjoined, were iterated in a specific form of AngloSaxon supremacy. We take the history of the discipline back to post-Anglo Boer War South Africa, where we argue some of the ideas, methods and institutions that shaped IR were first concretised.

‘Scientific study of international relations’ The field of IR, the conventional story runs, emerged from the ‘epistemological big bang of 1919’ (Carvalho, Leira and Hobson, 2011: 745). After all, two newly established institutions ‘birthed’ professional IR that year: the Woodrow Wilson Chair of IR at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and the Institute (later Royal) of International Relations. The latter was founded as a joint American-British initiative at the Paris Peace Conference but when the Americans did not respond, a full-fledged British initiative was started next year. Importantly, this professionalisation of the discipline rested on self-reinforcing impulses: a ‘scientific’ study of international affairs was necessary to build world peace (King-Hall, 1937). So, systematic thinking about IR was not to be an idyllic profession, self-consumed for its own sake, but rather a moral force of bringing peace into the world. The horrors of the First World War had made international politics too serious a task to be left to politicians and diplomats alone. The academic charted the future, while the politician and the diplomat could only dabble in the present. Hence, the ‘science’ of the international was to elevate the rational mind over the emotional and the self-interested (Lassman, 2011: 437). The development of IR and understanding of science in the interwar era was strongly informed by the Hegelian ideas of progress. History, in this telling, was a march of progress and, consequently, scientific study entailed historically tracing the evolution of an idea. This understanding was also steeped in the nineteenth-century British tradition of ‘knowing’, primarily reflected in (and influenced by) Herbert Spencer’s (1820–1903) belief that human nature itself was constantly evolving. Hence, the purpose of science was to empirically establish this history of human progress and authenticate its telos. Through a historical method, a social scientist would map the past, identify the crucial tipping points and accordingly reveal the future. Such teleological thinking defined IR in the interwar era. Contrast this with the post-Second World War IR, where historical consciousness was considered immaterial because human nature was static and irrational (Morgenthau, 1946) or even innately evil Schmitt (2007 [1932]).3 Morgenthau’s critique of ‘scientific thinking’ in international relations was premised on such an understanding. Likewise, Carr (1946 [1939]) 35

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critiqued the interwar ‘scientific’ thinking, although he claimed that interwar idealists only engaged in primitive notions of science. Accordingly, the post-Second World War American science of international relations, in its classical, neo-realist and rationalist versions, has discarded the historical method. But, the idea of progress and science that underpinned the ‘idealist’ version of the field were also embedded in race and its international expression, colonialism. Let us turn our attention to this important point.

An error of omission? E.H. Carr’s (1946 [1939]) characterisation of pre-Second World War international affairs as ‘idealist’ has been amply disputed. While multiple opinions persist on what the realism– idealism debate entailed, and whether there was a debate at all (Ashworth, 2002; Osiander, 1998; Palan & Blair, 1993; Quirk and Vigneswaran, 2005; Schmidt, 1998a; Wilson, 1998), there is general acceptance of Hedley Bull’s assertion that interwar idealism was characterised by ‘progressivist doctrines’ (Ashworth, 2006). British interwar idealism is identified with efforts towards democratisation, the creation of an internationalist mindset and the institutionalisation (through the League of Nations) of stronger international law – all of these assisted by ‘men of peace’ (Bull, 1972: 33–36). For Peter Wilson (2011: 32–33), interwar idealists ‘are bound by a common morality with its bedrock in basic human rights and the Kantian principle that human beings should be respected as ends in themselves and never treated as mere means’. But, one theme that is conspicuously missing from these ‘idealist/moralist’ retellings is race. Indeed, Carr’s Twenty Years’ Crisis, which has done so much to define the identity of the discipline, omits race as a feature of interwar idealist thinking. This is not to claim that Carr does so deliberately. Rather, because Carr’s seminal text is used to understand, critique and supplement interwar idealism, the race issue is reduced to a conjectural body of thought in the writings of the ‘moralists’. Of course, there is nothing wrong with using the word ‘moralists’ in its strictly relativist sense – viz prioritising a particular value, but Carr (1946 [1939]: 146–169) himself often uses it in a sense of propagating a superior ethical position. However, closer scrutiny suggests that interwar idealism was far removed from this position. A cursory look at the issues of two major British journals, The Round Table and International Affairs, and IR books demonstrates how questions of race, or ‘the native question/problem’ – as it was often called – were predominant concerns of most IR scholars. Consider this illustrative sample which is from the first introductory text of IR published in 1916: The civilised peoples are not all of one grade, nor are the backward all of another. Mankind is divided into a graduated scale varying infinitely from the zenith of civilisation to the nadir of barbarism. But, while it is difficult to establish any exact standard by which the comparative civilisation of peoples can be judged, the fact that there is a difference between them, and that this difference is one of quality and not merely of kind, is one of the most fundamental facts in human history. To refuse to recognise that the savages of Africa are immeasurably behind the Americans, or that the masses of India or Egypt, whatever the attainments of individual Indians or Egyptians, are definitely less advanced than the peoples of Europe to-day, is willfully to close the eyes to truth and fact. (Kerr, 1916: 142) 36

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These ponderings were not merely ‘academic’ iterations, they were institutionalised through the policy of Mandates, a form of colonial trusteeship which was promoted by the Round Table movement during the First World War. The author of the above, Philip Kerr, was a founding member of the Round Table and in his then capacity as political secretary to the British Prime Minister, was directly involved in drafting the final wording of Article 22 of the League of Nations on Mandates. But it is also the case that the proposals of Jan Smuts, the South African leader who is acknowledged as the individual who authored the policy of Mandates, were significantly influenced by an anonymous article that appeared in the journal The Round Table in December 1918. This article was written by Lionel Curtis (1918). Lionel Curtis is a little-studied figure within IR which is curious: more than any other person, perhaps, he was responsible for creating the field. The body of literature critiquing interwar idealism hardly refers to Curtis. Indeed, many of his ideas are attributed to others. So, for instance, the idea of ‘British Commonwealth of Nations’ is often associated with Alfred Zimmern (Miller, 1979), even though Curtis had started using the term in 1909 (Curtis, 1920: 42; Donnelly, 1959). Likewise, as already noted, the Mandates System credited to Smuts was first enunciated by Curtis. Lionel Curtis was the founder (and was called the ‘prophet’) of the Round Table movement within the British Empire. This lobby was the thought collective behind the establishment of IR’s first journal, The Round Table; its first institute, Chatham House; and its first Chair, at Aberystwyth. Moreover, the Round Table movement was instrumental in creating institutes of IR across the Dominions in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India, and most of IR’s Chairs which were established in the interwar period were occupied by members of the Round Table. Formally, Curtis is acknowledged as one of the founders of the Royal Institute of International Affairs: but, as Chatham House once admitted, he was the founder in ‘a special and unique way’ (RIIA, 1952). It was Curtis who initially organised meetings of American and British representatives on the sidelines of the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, where the ‘Joint Institute’ with branches in the UK and the US was conceived. However, when the Americans subsequently showed little enthusiasm, an independent British-only institute was formed in 1920. Both the ‘labour and inspiration for the Institute’ came from Curtis (RIIA, 1952) and, in the years that followed, Curtis almost single-handedly sustained the Institute by raising the necessary funds. He conceived of both Chatham House, and a series of other institutes that were to open across the world, as places for scientific study of international affairs. The Canadian merchant banker, Edward Robert Peacock (1871–1962), was to claim that the greatest contribution … [of Lionel Curtis] is this conception of his that the scientific method must be applied to the study of international affairs. In founding the Institute [Chatham House], he did for international affairs what was done for science when the Royal Society was founded. (RIIA, 1932) Intriguingly, the nonappearance of Curtis in disciplinary history is the embodiment of the very notion of ‘scientific study of international affairs’ that he was obsessed about creating. So it is that much of Curtis’s work was authored anonymously, under the belief that pegging a particular research to an author impairs its objectivity. The anonymously-written article on Mandates – to which reference has already been made – was titled ‘Windows of Freedom’. Drawing on US President Woodrow Wilson’s fourteen points, the article proposed a system where ‘some democratic power shall be made 37

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responsible for creating and maintaining peace and order’ in the ‘derelict territories’ (Curtis, 1918: 26). Arguing that one of the causes for the war was protective trade policies of colonial powers in their colonies, through the Mandate System the League would serve as a trustee for ensuring free trade for all colonial nations (Curtis, 1918: 25–26). In advancing these ideas, its author (Curtis) acknowledged the influence of Philip Kerr and Alfred Zimmern. Kerr however credited Curtis with being the first to propound ‘the necessity for some civilized control over politically backward peoples’ (Butler, 1960: 68). The reach of the journal (and, through it, of Curtis) was wide: Jan Smuts, Curtis later claimed, had consulted the ‘Windows of Freedom’ piece when he wrote his proposals for the Mandate system (Curtis, 1931). These (and other ideas) were later fleshed out in the influential three volume study Curtis wrote in the mid-1930s, called Civitas Dei (the American title was, The Commonwealth of God). The final volume appeared in 1937, the very year that E.H. Carr started writing his critique of the idealists. The Curtis book was everything that Carr’s criticism centered upon. Proposing a radical form of idealism, Curtis outlined a case for a World Commonwealth, which would be the final stage of political community and which would represent the ultimate manifestation of the progress of world history (Curtis, 1938). Carr would, in turn, label these proposals as fancy dreams; and so did the historian Arnold Toynbee, another of Carr’s idealists (Lavin, 1995: 268). But while these criticisms focussed inordinately on the utopianism of the ideas themselves, what no one seemingly noticed was the racial premise upon which Curtis has proposed his idea. This was largely because racial discrimination was the commonsense of the times, which underpinned most British liberal world views. So what was Curtis’s argument? Essentially, Curtis believed that the Greek Commonwealth was the embodiment of the most advanced principle of political organisation – namely, a community living through a sense of duty towards others. This approach drew from the influential role that the study of the Classical World had on British thinking at the time (Moorefield, 2009). A World State, Curtis held, could only be founded on the idea of a sense of duty towards others, not on force or the exercise of power. This said, he did not rule out a minimalist armed force for securing internal peace. Indeed, the Greek Commonwealth had failed mostly because it refused to extend the principle of duty towards others to those who it deemed ‘Gentiles’ (Curtis, 1938: 882). In Curtis’s estimation, the Christian faith had universalised the Greek principle of ‘infinite duty of each other to all’ (Curtis, 1938: 883). Christ, he wrote, ‘applied to the whole human race the principles which had begun to be imperfectly realised within the narrow limit of the Greek Commonwealth … ’ (quoted in Lavin, 1995: 266–267). This very idea was to be realised within the British Commonwealth, albeit with a necessary twist, race. Recognising that Europeans could not have the same sense of duty towards nonEuropeans as they would have towards ‘civilised’ Europeans, Curtis isolated two different forms of duty towards others: fraternal and paternal. Within the British Commonwealth of Nations, the white community was duty bound to each other fraternally while towards their native populations they were paternally obligated to standards of civilisation. Therefore in his mapping of the World State, Curtis argued that the British Commonwealth of Nations would form a core which will organically expand into the World Commonwealth (Curtis, 1938: 932–938). Curtis’s racially-centered ‘Christian gospel in political dress’ (Hughes, 1955), was not exceptional for the times. Indeed, the history of political thought has long acknowledged the Janus-faced nature of British thinking on a chain of issues – exclusion, eugenics, evolution. (Boucher and Vincent, 2012; Freeden, 1986). Surprisingly, however, in IR the only framing used to refract this intersection of the social and the political is the ‘realist/idealist’ binary. Its 38

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use grants the latter the status of ‘moralists’ when their notions of progress were deeply racist and imperialist.

The birthing of IR In December 1908, the first issue of a bilingual journal in English and Dutch called The State/ De Staat was published from Johannesburg. The very fact that a journal called The State came into existence before the state in question (which was formed in 1910) suggests a crucial nexus between knowledge and power. However, for now, let us focus on its cover. The journal cover depicted a bronze statue, called, ‘Physical Energy’, which was made by the English sculptor George Fredrick Watt. First cast in 1902, the sculpture (in the words of Watt) symbolised ‘that restless physical impulse to seek the still unachieved in the domain of material things’. It was first erected at the grave of Cecil John Rhodes in the Maputo Hills and later moved to the memorial to him in Cape Town, where it still stands. Rhodes’ energies for most of his later life were devoted to bringing southern Africa under the domination of the ‘Anglo-Saxon race’. So, effectively, the journal’s cover was both a posthumous tribute to Rhodes and a promise that its contents would focus its own ‘restless energy’ into fashioning ‘the still unachieved’ goal of statehood in South Africa. As early as 1877, Rhodes had written this article of faith in the first of his many wills. I contend that we [Anglo-Saxons] are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race. Just fancy those parts that are at present inhabited by the most despicable specimens of human beings what an alteration there would be if they were brought under Anglo-Saxon influence, look again at the extra employment a new country added to our dominions gives. (Rhodes, 1877) He then went on to propose: Why should we not form a secret society with but one object the furtherance of the British Empire and the bringing of the whole uncivilised world under British rule for the recovery of the United States for the making the Anglo-Saxon race but one Empire? (Rhodes, 1877) The new journal was formed by a group of young Britons (all trained at Oxford) who were living in South Africa and who shared this faith. Derisively called the Milner’s Kindergarten, they had been brought to South Africa after the Second Anglo-Boer War to work on the reconstruction of Transvaal. The group included Lionel Curtis, Philip Kerr, George Robertson (later, Dawson), John Buchan, Robert Brand and Patrick Duncan. These imperial devotees agreed with Alfred Milner’s desire for a ‘permanent organic union’ of the Empire and tirelessly worked for it. The first step in the search for this ‘Organic Union’ was to unite the colonies in southern Africa – this would set the template for furthering a broader union of the Empire. The Kindergarten’s evolving work in South Africa drew on their deep faith in the power of knowledge to create reality. Curtis, in particular, believed that creation of knowledge through the ‘scientific method’ leads to ‘truth’ which needed to be disseminated through propaganda (Curtis, 1910a; 1910b, Kerr, 1910). These ends were pursued through a series of initiatives, and to these our attention will now turn. First they initiated an elite thought-collective called ‘The Fortnightly Club’ (1906–1908) which discussed and debated ideas about South Africa’s future and deliberated wider thoughts 39

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about the possibilities of an imperial union. From 1908, the ideas thrashed in the Fortnightly Club were pushed through an organisation called ‘The Association of Closer Union Societies’, with branches spread across the southern African colonies. The propaganda organ which serviced these societies was the journal The State. The Kindergarten also produced a series of other publications. The first of these was a document issued in the name of the then-British High Commissioner, entitled Selborne Memorandum (Williams, 1925). This made a case for the Union of southern African colonies. Two further volumes were called The Government of South Africa (1908). These analysed the possibility of statehood in South Africa while another, The Framework of the Union, compared South Africa with other federal constitutions (Closer Union Society, 1908). We can turn now to the theme of this book by asking this question: How is this background important for the discipline of IR? Robert Vitalis (2015) has called Foreign Affairs, which started as the Journal of Race Development in 1910, the first journal of IR, although The Round Table commenced publication in the same year. Indeed, the Round Table was modeled – in its form, purpose and ideas – on the South African-based journal, The State (Thakur and Vale, 2016). Both publications enjoyed the same benefactor – South African mining magnate and a close friend of Rhodes, Abe Bailey, who was later to donate money for founding the Chatham House and who, from the late-1920s, was to bequeath an annual sum of £5000 to the operational costs of the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Moreover, Philip Kerr, the first editor of The State, undertook the editorship of The Round Table, while Lionel Curtis, as in South Africa, became the roving ambassador of the new movement. Alfred Milner was the patriarch of the Kindergarten as well as the Round Table movement. In a Dominion-wide tour from September 1909 to March 1912, Curtis established Round Table Societies across the Dominions which mirrored the Closer Union Societies he had helped found in South Africa. The cultural link between the two experiences was replicated in other ways, too. So, individual meetings of the Round Table were called ‘moot’ – following the ‘Moot House’ in Johannesburg where the first meeting of the Fortnightly Club had taken place in September 1906. During his Dominion tour Curtis also wrote drafts of a memorandum, which was to serve a purpose akin to that of the Selbourne Memorandum. Called the Green Memorandum, the draft underwent several revisions over the following years. In 1916, a concise version of this memorandum, entitled The Commonwealth of Nations (1916), was issued. This made exactly the same case for a British Commonwealth as earlier work by the Kindergarten had made for a common state in South Africa. Indeed, Curtis’s later book, Civitas Dei, was an organic expansion of his ideas from South Africa to the British Commonwealth to the World Commonwealth. Besides these post-South Africa initiatives, two further points of continuity from South Africa are important. First, the impulse for the ‘scientific study’ that later became the credo of the discipline was sharpened by the Kindergarten experience. Lionel Curtis would often point out how the Kindergarten’s work on statehood in South Africa was backed by ‘scientific’ (read, objective) research (Nimocks, 1968: 165). The preparation of the document on the British Commonwealth of Nations followed a similar procedure. As he would argue, any final memorandum could only be written once the ‘facts’ had been ascertained; after being written down they needed to be ‘tested by the criticism of men like themselves in all the countries concerned’ before they could be accepted (Curtis, 1910b: f. 148). The preparation of this memorandum would usually be a long and testing process where Curtis would make extensive field visits, discuss ideas with local groups and send his drafts to these groups for comments and revise – often completely re-writing – his drafts. In this manner, he argued 40

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such drafts were collectively and objectively written, parsing any of his personal biases, leading to in the end, ‘the truth’. Through such application of ‘the methods of scientific study to politics’, Curtis felt he could do his ‘missionary work with real effect’ (Curtis, 1910b: f. 149). Second, the racial anxieties of the Empire were roundly demonstrated in all these initiatives, and they went on to become permanent fixtures in the world-view of the Round Table movement. The nation-building project in South Africa proceeds through a repeated assertion – page after page in The State – that South Africa was a nation of people of British and Dutch descent who faced a ‘native problem’. To which the only solution was ‘segregation’ (see, for example Kerr, 1909: 268). Likewise, in the 1920s and 1930s, racial segregation remains the dominant paradigm of understanding Africa in the pages of the two premier journals of the Round Table movement, The Round Table and International Affairs. Because one of the assertions in our work is the racial nature of IR, we must dwell on this issue. Among the papers that were presented in one of the earliest Kindergarten initiatives, the Fortnightly Club in Johannesburg, between 1906–1908, was one entitled ‘The Place of Subject People in the Empire’. In it Curtis (1907) had first theorised his idea of segregation in South Africa. In the paper, he begins by critiquing the assimilationist logic of left-liberals who believed that ‘non-Europeans’ should be integrated into European society and its civilisation. For Curtis, however, this kind of thinking held two dangers. One, there were innate differences among races which meant that they could not co-exist under the same system. Patrick Brantlinger (2003) has argued that settler colonialism has at its core, what he calls, the ‘extinction logic’, which is that in the colonial encounter the natives cannot cope with the European civilization, ensuing a process of auto-genocide of the native through diseases, violence and savagery. In South Africa, the members of the Fortnightly Club argued, that the native strength was too overwhelming, comparatively organised and resistant to such forces of extinction. Hence, attempts at civilising the native would actually result in corrupting the European, leading to a reverse-extinction of Europeans in South Africa. Two, Curtis argued that non-Europeans were cognitively incapable of understanding democracy. Instead, they only appreciated authoritarian rule which these societies had inculcated for centuries. To think that the natives could be lifted to the level of European civilisation was not only foolish but also dangerous to the natives themselves. Instead, appropriate systems of government need to be developed to fit the innate developmental capacity of the natives. To this end, he recommended that in South Africa, Europeans and Africans should be segregated into designated areas and the latter should be allowed to practice their own customs under a ‘Native Affairs Department’ controlled by white administration. Such a bureaucracy, he argued, would have to be efficient as well as sufficiently authoritarian to keep the Africans in check. Curtis also made a distinction among Europeans. The Anglo-Saxons, to him, were clearly far more superior than all other stocks of Europeans, and consequently would be at the forefront of designing appropriate political systems for the natives (Curtis, 1907). The emphasis on Anglo-Saxon authoritarianism was reinforced by William Honnold (1908), an American engineer. In a paper delivered to the Club, Honnold drew a comparison between the issues faced in South Africa and the ‘Negro problem in America’. He argued that Africans/ Negroes had an internal trait of ‘retrograde development’. Left all to herself, the black individual enjoys only base instincts that are ‘inimical to survival’ and knows ‘little selfcontrol, obligation and cooperation’. He argued that whatever the ills of American slavery, it had ‘saved’ the black population from self-inflicted extinction through the intervention of the ‘parental’ hand of the white man. In his The Government of South Africa Curtis credits Honnold’s 41

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paper for influencing his thinking on the ‘native question’ in South Africa (The Government of South Africa 1, (1908: 164). It is certainly so, that Curtis did change his views with regard to some non-Europeans. By the middle of the 1910s, he had come around to accepting that Indians and Egyptians were capable of self-government. Indeed, he was instrumental in drafting proposals of selfgovernment for India, and assisted Indian diplomats in securing more political rights within the British Commonwealth for overseas Indians (Curtis, 1920). But on the issue of Africans, his segregationist world-view remained. In his book, The Commonwealth of Nations, he argued that while Asians had developed a form of absolutist theocratic state, Africans (except Egyptians) and Pacific Islanders could only organise as tribes (Curtis, 1916: 3–7), and so, they were thoroughly incapable of developing any form of modern political organisation. Furthermore, his ‘Windows of Freedom’ proposals were an extension of his ideas for racial forms of rule which he had advanced first in South Africa, and consistently advanced in his later writings. As a result, the birth of IR is imbricated in a history of racial ideas of rule. In South Africa, Milner’s Kindergarten worked for the creation of a common statehood, a dream of their ideologue, Cecil John Rhodes, but it was to be a sovereign state that excluded the black majority. Once the South African project was completed, the Kindergarten moved – almost naturally – to the next stage: Organic Union of the Empire. Through the instrumentalities offered by the Round Table movement, Curtis and his colleagues propagated the notion of a federal state of the Empire in the 1910s. Although the British Commonwealth did not turn into a federal state, various institutional mechanisms were developed through the world of the Round Table to enable cooperation among the Dominions. The platform offered by the Commonwealth itself was used to push for a much grander ambition, a world state. Two of the most enthusiastic supporters of this idea were Lionel Curtis and Philip Kerr, the two original Kindergarten members. For them, there was a singular thread of ideas which through an Anglo-Saxon influence, connected statehood in South Africa to a world government (Lavin, 1995). Indeed, towards end of his life, when Curtis was asked why he thought the world state was a workable idea, he pointed towards the successful union of South Africa. The Second Anglo-Boer War, he reflected, had pushed the four colonies of southern Africa to transfer their individual sovereignties into a greater Union, thereby forever ending the spectre of war in the country (Lekon, 2003: 9). If there was one model for a world state and achieving peace, it was to be South Africa. But, and this is the crux of this contribution, it was to be racially-exclusive.

IR as anthropology: IR returns to South Africa As we have argued, the ideas that nurtured institutional IR spread from South Africa. But, ironically, among all the settler colonies, South Africa proved to be the most difficult turf to conquer for professional IR. The pre-1919 Round Table societies that were established across the Dominions in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as noted earlier, were later instrumental in founding institutes dedicated to IR in these countries. But in South Africa, despite many efforts of members of the Kindergarten, who remained in the country, Round Table societies could not be sustained. Indeed, in the early 1920s, they were convinced that South Africa had been ‘lost’ for the British Empire (Van der Baag, 2005). The opposition to this incorporation came from the deep suspicion of Afrikaners not only of the Kindergarten, but the Empire itself. The two white communities had no common understanding when it came 42

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to the idea of the international, and the only possibility of a common agenda between them was to focus on race as a political and conceptual category. Indeed, the first effort at institutionalising IR in South Africa was driven by the desire to find a solution to the ‘native problem’. This was set out in a letter written by the then ViceChancellor of the University of Cape Town, Sir J. Carruthers Beattie to Chatham House’s Secretary Ivision Macadam on 30 January 1928. Stating the need for an institute for gaining ‘knowledge of the work done in different parts of Africa for the solution of native problems’, Beattie asked Macadam for information which would assist in forming such an institute (Beattie, 1928). Beattie’s letter reflects the dual nature of the ‘native problem’ for South Africa. The issue of race was not only central to the country’s internal politics, but also to its international identity. In perfecting a domestic system of white–black/European–Native interaction, South Africa would become the lodestar of world politics. Let us expand on this. From 1920 onwards when South African Prime Minister Jan Smuts got the Native Affairs Act passed in parliament, there was an increasing need to train administrators for South Africa’s ‘native’ areas. To furnish this need, Smuts turned to anthropology. In 1921, he personally invited the British anthropologist, Alfred Radcliffe-Brown, to head a new Social Anthropology department (the first such chair in the world) at the University of Cape Town. Smuts believed that ‘a knowledge of anthropology’ was ‘most useful … to conserve the native social system, while ridding it of what was barbarous and degrading’. Soon after, three other white universities – Pretoria, Stellenbosch and Witwatersrand – opened ‘Bantu Studies’ departments (Campbell, 2014; Dubow, 1995; Smuts, 1930: 45). Pitched as the science of human relations in the post-First World War era, anthropology came to be seen as ‘the science of man in the service of the state’, concerned with finding the ‘human laws of motion’ (Myers, 1929). As the prominent South African liberal academic J.D. Rheinallt Jones (1926: 91) put the challenge in his Presidential Address to the South African Association for the Advancement of Science in 1926: ‘a definite responsibility rests upon scientific workers in the fields of anthropological and psychological research to collect the data from which general principles may be deduced in the adoption of a sound policy in race relationships’. In a country defined and created through racial divisions, IR – unsurprisingly, perhaps – became an extension of applied anthropology. Applied anthropology invoked Boasian relativism, an idea which seemed less racially problematic than social Darwinism (Dubow, 1995). However, it also gave a new impetus to the ideas of segregation both within as well as outside South Africa. Within Chatham House, South African-style segregation was touted as a solution to the global colour problem – a view, of course, long held by its founders, such as Lionel Curtis and Philip Kerr. The Africa Study Group at Chatham House, which started in the mid1920s, viewed the continent in anthropological terms and amidst the various models of colonialism – French assimilation, Portuguese miscegenation, South African segregation – Hugh Wyndham, the group’s Secretary, advocated a preference for the latter. Indeed, in the interwar years, South Africa’s evolving international relations revolved largely around its claims of securing a pan-regional racial order through the creation of a Greater South Africa (The Round Table, 1930). This implied that in order to implement a singular model of segregation across southern Africa, South African sovereignty should extend from the Cape northwards as far as Kenya. Such claims complemented the Leo Amery led-Colonial Office plans to secure Closer Unions in Eastern and Central Africa along the lines of the uniting of South Africa in 1910. His satrap in East Africa – Edward Grigg – enthusiastically promoted the idea, too. Both Amery and Grigg were close associates of the Round Table (Gregg indeed was the former editor of The Round Table) (Callahan, 1997; Oldham, 1929). 43

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Even institutionally, research in Africa was limited to anthropological, not international, matters. For instance, in 1925, Hugh Wyndham’s proposal for an institutional parallel to Chatham House in Africa was to be a School of African Culture, whose purported aim was to train administrators of an African Civil Service. Such an institution, he reasoned, would utilise the new anthropological knowledge about African societies in training administrators who, in turn, would also serve as active field workers ‘where the information and experience afterwards acquired by them should be collected and made available to others’ (Wyndham, 1925: 177). It was proposed that Cape Town was the most convenient place for such an institute and that a common African lingua franca ‘must be evolved to serve as the medium of African culture’ (Wyndham, 1925: 177). Indeed, later initiatives of Chatham House such as Lord Hailey’s acclaimed Africa Survey were anthropological rather than IR forays into the continent (Hailey, 1938). No person symbolises this anthropologising of IR better than South Africa’s most famous internationalist of the era and, possibly, the most canonised political figure in interwar idealism: Jan Smuts. In his Rhodes Memorial Lectures at Oxford University in 1929, he proposed segregation as a global template, under which ‘[w]herever Europeans and natives live in the same country it will mean separate parallel institutions for the two’ (Smuts, 1930: 39). The underlying philosophy of this was, of course, much less benign. In a letter to Philip Kerr in May 1928, he confessed to his imperial ambitions: If sufficient land is reserved for elbow-room for White expansion and civilization on this continent, we may have the makings of something very big in future, south of the Equator. There is land enough for White and Black, but I am afraid that with the somewhat negrophilistic temper which is about today, due regard will not be given to these larger points of view. (Cell, 1989: 485) In one of the Rhodes Memorial Lectures, Smuts argued that the African ‘has largely remained a child type, with a child psychology and outlook’ and, thus, ‘[n]o other race is so easily satisfied, so good tempered, so care-free’ (Smuts, 1930: 37). Consequently, ‘a race so unique, and so different in its mentality and its cultures from those of Europe, requires a policy very unlike that which would suit Africans’ (Smuts, 1930: 38). A policy towards Africans therefore ought not to either ‘de-Africanise the African and to turn him into a beast of the field or into a pseudo-European’ – both of which were tried in South Africa and which the conventional wisdom had found reprehensible as well as supremely harmful to the development of Africans (Smuts, 1930: 38). He went on, [i]f Africa has to be redeemed, if Africa has to make her own contribution to the world, if Africa is to take her rightful place among the continents, we shall have to proceed on different lines and evolve a policy which will not force her institutions into an alien European mould, but which preserve her unity with her own past, conserve what is precious in her past, and build her future progress and civilisation on specifically African foundations. (Smuts, 1930: 39) For Smuts, Africa was not yet an identifiable international entity – it had to first develop institutions that gave it a coherent ‘civilised’ identity. South Africa, he continued, was ‘the cockpit of race issues’ and could serve as an example for the rest of the continent, as ‘the young countries to the north [of South Africa] can start with a clean slate … and can ab initio reserve ample lands for the natives to live and work on’ 44

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(Smuts, 1930: 39). Segregation, he also said, was implied in the notion of imperial trusteeship of the League of Nations and hence was a recognised global solution to dealing with racial issues. Invoking the liberal canard of cultural relativism, Smuts was pushing for segregation as a progressive pan-African model (Smuts, 1930: 40). In 1929, the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) was opened in Johannesburg. This effort was independent of the influence of the Round Table and of Chatham House. But South African liberal academics, such as S.H. Frankel and Reinhallt Jones who were behind this initiative were also closely in talks with Chatham House for opening the latter’s affiliate in South Africa. In the years to come SAIRR played a crucial role in pushing forth segregation as the liberal idea of the times (Rich, 1981). But SAIRR’s establishment also meant that the mandate of a Chatham House affiliate, if it were to open in South Africa, had to be entirely different. It took another five years to finally open the South African Institute of International Relations (SAIIA) in Cape Town and when it did it was immediately caught in the English–Afrikaner politics of identity. Stripped off its mandate on race and caught in the politics of identity, SAIIA had little time to do ‘international relations’. Although it started with an inaugural lecture from Jan Smuts, from there on until the end of the Second World War, SAIIA remained partly defunct. It produced not a single paper, and the only purpose of its existence in South Africa was sending delegates to the Chatham House convened Unofficial British Commonwealth Conferences. It was only revived in 1944 in Johannesburg and as the war ended it focussed its work on international questions in the post-Second-World War world.

Conclusion This trek across the first half of the twentieth century has shown that race was central to the imagination of the interwar era. For the founders of IR, the ‘world race problem’ needed global solutions. Individuals like Curtis were opposed to the idea that race should be considered only as a domestic issue. As far back as 1907, Curtis had called for a geographical segregation of the Empire on the basis of race – whites should live in the temperate zones, and tropical areas should be reserved for non-Europeans (Curtis, 1907). He understood that this was unrealisable, but went on to propose a form of segregation which was more manageable – pushing non-European populations into small enclaves secured through white bureaucratic rule in a form of mandate or trusteeship. The ‘color line’ similarly ran through his world state (Curtis, 1938). In the interwar period, we have shown, the ideal of peace was closely tied to race and imperialism: in the case of the British efforts, these were enjoined in a particular form of AngloSaxon supremacy. In telling this particular story, we have highlighted the role of individuals, like Lionel Curtis, Philip Kerr and Jan Smuts. Their stories, however, are imbricated in a wider context where worries about the waning hegemony of ‘Great’ Britain were uppermost. The turning from British state to the British Empire (or Commonwealth) as the central organising unit in the age of ‘new imperialism’ tells us why race was central to British IR. Highlighting the unity of the ‘Anglo-Saxon race’ was one way to bring the white settler colonies together; while in an Empire comprising white settler colonies ‘native administration’ as a means of control was essential. The latter meant that while in the Victorian age, race served as a function of imperialism and was restricted to matters of everyday life, in the Edwardian and interwar eras, it emerged as a central organising principle of the Empire. The ‘British World’, to use Leo Amery’s phrase, was a world centered around race far more than the previous Victorian era Great Britain. Finally, what about the possibilities of critique of IR? As authors speaking from opposite ends of academic careers in the discipline, our expectations differ. But we are united in our 45

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belief that a disciplinary insurrection will require populating its realm with as many alternative stories as possible … this begins, as we have, in the archives!

Notes 1 In several disciplinary chronicles, most of the idealist thinkers IR’s historians list are British. See for instance, Long and Wilson (1995), Ashworth (2006), Thies (2002). 2 Of course, this is not to say that there were no other IR traditions. For Continental IR, see Jørgensen (2000). 3 On the relationship between Morgenthau and Schmitt and their ideas, see Scheuerman (2007).

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PART II

Relations beyond humanity

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4 CAN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS CONFRONT THE COSMOS? Audra Mitchell

Earthly ruptures such as climate change and accelerating patterns of extinction are rocking the foundations of International Relations (IR) and global politics. These phenomena do not simply demand critique: they are modes of critique in themselves. In their diverse eruptions, they manifest and expose enormous gaps between IR and global theory, earth and the broader cosmos. These earthly critiques are framed in a number of ways: for instance, as ‘evidence’ in Western scientific discourses of climate change; or as the expression of broken laws, protocols and relations with many Indigenous knowledge systems (Mitchell, 2018). By making themselves felt in plural ways, they force IR and global theory to confront two profound possibilities: radical finitude and radical infinitude. ‘Radical finitude’ refers to the idea of the total, complete and possibly imminent negation of existence. Meanwhile, ‘radical infinitude’ reflects existences that vastly exceed the temporal horizons of dominant, Western modes of human life – for instance, Ancestral beings that pre-date, co-exist with and will post-date Western time. Both of these possible conditions place central concepts and assumptions of IR and global theory into question. For instance, as a knowledge system fundamentally invested in sustaining dominant forms and subjects of survival, IR and global theory cannot – or will not – address the radical finitude raised by the possibility of ‘mass extinction’ (Mitchell, 2016). On the contrary, concepts such as ‘security’ and ‘survival’ generate blind spots that maintain IR’s alienation from earthly conditions, and its own role in generating them. On the other hand, some anticipatory responses to the possibility of radical finitude aim to extend these subjects of survival, and particular modes of ‘human agency’ into more spatio-temporal dimensions. In particular, plans for the colonization of outer space, emerging largely within the private sector, challenge existing understandings of survival, colonial power and sovereignty. In this case, too, these foundational concepts of IR and global theory close the disciplinary imaginary to the possibilities and pitfalls of addressing radical infinitude. In combination, these blockages prop up an IR and global theory that is inarticulate about, and unresponsive to, the conditions that shape the multiple, co-existent presents and possible futures of worlds on earth. This raises an important question for the future of IR and global politics: can they confront radical (in)finitude and respond to critiques raised by earth and the broader cosmos? By critiquing mainstream responses to radical (in)finitude – or the lack thereof – this chapter questions whether IR’s foundational concepts can address the critiques raised by earth 51

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and the broader cosmos, and better attune itself to their conditions. To this end, it engages with several important forms of critique that might shape the future of, and beyond, IR and global theory. First, by framing earthly disruptions as direct, material critiques of abstract frameworks, it calls for future IR theories that are attuned and responsive to their cosmological conditions. Second, by engaging with speculative critique and theory, it opens up space for the imagination of multiple possible futures that transcend foundational concepts such as survival, security, sovereignty and mainstream norms of ‘humanity’. Third, it engages with Indigenous thought, including Indigenous futurisms, which challenge the colonial cosmovisions of mainstream IR by bringing Ancestral knowledge to bear on multiple future modes dwelling in relation to other beings on and off earth. Together, these modes of critique offer radical visions of future IR theories that could open up space for plural modes of coflourishing in the face of profound, earthly disruptions.

Radical finitude and global extinction Does life on earth have a long-term future? Increasingly influential discourses of ‘existential risk’ argue that states and international institutions need to pay more attention to developments that ‘threaten the existence of our entire species’ (CSER, 2015). They examine a range of possible threats to the survival of homo sapiens, from those raised by emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, nano-technology and synthetic biology to climate change, global pandemics, nuclear terrorism and even cosmic events such as asteroid strikes and gamma-ray bursts (Bostrom and Cirkovic, 2008). Although the probability of these events varies considerably, they each present a non-zero possibility that homo sapiens might be eliminated. For this reason, existential risk researchers seek to shift the register in which threat and the possibilities of survival are understood and governed globally. As Martin Rees (2013) has suggested, IR, global politics and international policy-making should focus less on the ‘minor hazards of everyday life’, such as car accidents and carcinogens, and more on events that ‘have not yet happened but which, if they occurred even once, could cause worldwide devastation’ (Rees, 2013). Homo sapiens, however, is not the only life form thought to be facing the possibility of extinction. Since the 1980s, biologists and ecologists have warned that sharply accelerating rates of extinction may mark the beginning of a new ‘mass extinction event’. This term refers to an earth-wide pattern of extinctions – which Western science defines as death of every member of a species – that eliminates 75 percent or more of extant life forms. Unlike the previous five mass extinctions experienced by earth, which had diverse causes such as the emergence of cyanobacteria and an asteroid strike, the potential ‘sixth mass extinction crisis’ is thought to be driven by ‘anthropogenic’ change. In particular, Western scientists identify four main drivers: climate change, habitat destruction, direct killing and the transfer of life forms across the planet. Although these drivers are attributed to the activities of ‘humanity’, they are predominantly associated with Western political formations such as industrialization, colonization and extractive capitalism (Mitchell, forthcoming). In combination, these phenomena have driven the extinction rates of recorded species well above the ‘background rate’, or the presumed standard rate of extinctions before ‘human’ activities became a determinant factor. This has produced significant decreases in the diversity of life forms globally and across all major taxa. For instance, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF, 2016) recently reported a 58 percent decrease in species diversity between 1970 and 2012 alone. Anthony Barnosky and his colleagues (2011) claim that current extinction rates could produce – within just three centuries – a magnitude of extinction last seen in the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event, 52

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which eliminated the dinosaurs (see also Régnier et al., 2015). Several prominent scientists and science journalists working in the area of mass extinction have offered dismal pictures of the implications of these trends for human security. They envision an ‘uninhabitable earth’ (Wallace-Wells, 2017) wracked by global crises in food security, economic collapse (Barnosky, 2014), authoritarian governance, global warfare over dwindling resources (Oreskes and Conway, 2014) and even the forced exile of humans to other planets (Newitz, 2013). Written in overtly securitizing tones intended to shape international governance and policy, these framings of radical finitude have the potential to shape IR and global theory and discourses in problematic ways. In the style of Western disaster or horror films (Colebrook, 2014), they adopt a position of voyeurism that borders on apocalypse porn: it exposes privileged Western readers to thrilling images of sublime destruction, while masking the inequalities of threat and responsibility, and normalizing the violences, that produce these ruptures (Mitchell and Theriault, 2018). For instance, by framing ‘humanity’ as a unitary subject and future victim of ‘extinction’, these narratives obscure the disproportionate effect of global patterns of extinction on worlds in the global south. Moreover, by imagining the destruction of worlds as a future hypothetical, they ignore the modes of world-ending violence enacted by colonization and survived by Indigenous peoples (Whyte, 2016). However, these narratives also confront IR and global theory with irruptions of radical negativity (and possibility) with which it is ill-equipped to contend. Specifically, extinction narratives delineate the boundary conditions of IR, a discipline concerned with, and limited by, its specific concepts of survival. Despite its preoccupation with survival, no branch of IR has directly theorized extinction. In the rare cases where the actual term ‘extinction’ appears in IR discourses, it is used solely as a metaphor for the dissolution of states (see Wight, 1960; Morgenthau, 2005) and should not be interpreted literally. Some major concepts in IR and global theory have flirted with the concept of radical finitude raised by extinction narratives. For instance, the idea of ‘nuclear winter’ popularized by Carl Sagan (1983) predicted that a full-scale nuclear war would destroy life on a massive scale, and undermine the conditions for its regeneration. Remaining humans – and of course, other life forms – would face starvation, viral epidemics and a global-scale deluge of deadly toxins and ultraviolet flux (Sagan, 1983: n.p.). In a similar sense, John Somerville’s (2012 [1983]) concept of ‘omnicide’ suggests that nuclear warfare or ecological collapse could threaten the survival of all modes of life on Earth. Both of these concepts suggest the large-scale destruction of life almost to the point of total extinction. Nonetheless, they treat extinction as a non sequitur, and offer no insights on how awareness of radical finitude might reshape IR thinking. More recently, legal activists have proposed a law of ecocide (see Higgins, 2010) which seeks to extend international laws for the prevention and punishment of genocide to include ecological damage that destroys unique ecosystems and forms of human life. However, the concept of ecocide is designed to fit within the constraints of existing international law. As a result, it only applies to instances in which individual culprits can be identified and accused with prosecutable crimes. Although, as mentioned above, they can be attributed predominantly to capitalist modes of organization, accelerating patterns of extinction are driven by the convergence of multiple forces and systemic patterns. As such, a law of ecocide would do little to address them. Meanwhile, in contemporary security discourses, extinction is understood as a problem of biopolitical management. Over 150 international conventions govern the management of ‘biodiversity’, most notably the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) which does not even mention the term extinction. Instead, it focuses on means of monitoring and managing the ‘diversity’ of species and mitigating – rather than critiquing, let alone dismantling – the structural political-economic drivers of extinction. Other major treaties, such as the Convention 53

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on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the World Heritage Convention, contain instruments for managing species and biodiversity, such as restrictions on trade and targets for population numbers. Each of these projects assumes that extinction can be allayed by managing biopolitical economies of birth, reproduction and death. The same assumption underpins contemporary security discourses where they intersect with the threat of extinction. In such discourses, human extinction is often framed as a ‘hyperbole of insecurity’ (Aradau and van Munster, 2011: 3) – that is, as an intensification of existing, governable threats. This has helped to generate modes of biopolitical governance that entrench the structural drivers of extinction while producing ‘resilient’ citizens capable of living in its wreckage (Evans and Reid, 2014). Meanwhile, having framed catastrophe as inevitable, states and other security actors increasingly renege on their responsibilities to act to prevent it (Evans and Reid, 2014). In these ways, IR and global theory refuses to address the possibility of radical finitude raised by accelerating patterns of extinction. Apocalyptic rhetorics of total destruction may contribute to this issue by inuring Western subjects to the imagery of the destruction, masking the inequalities and violences that generate it, and arresting ethical response through over-exposure to the sublime. At the same time, IR and global theory is rooted in cosmological assumptions that preclude critical engagement with the possibility of radical finitude. Simply put, IR and global theory has made this possible condition unthinkable by suggesting that the extinction of humans is literally beyond human cognition. This form of unthinkability is based on what Quentin Meillassoux (2009) calls ‘correlationism’: the assumption that existence coincides with the presence of human subjects. For many Indigenous thinkers, engagement with Ancestral presences that long pre-date homo sapiens – and who may be long ‘extinct’ or never ‘alive’ in Western terms – is an integral part of daily life and survival, making the notion of correlationism absurd (Sheridan and Longboat, 2006; Benton-Banai, 2010; Borrows, 2010; Povinelli, 2016). Meillassoux points out that it is nonsensical even within a positivist perspective: after all, Western scientists regularly debate the date of the formation of the earth, the lives of dinosaurs and, indeed, the emergence of homo sapiens – all of which preceded and created the conditions for the existence of modern Western subjects. From these perspectives, it is possible – and common – to think beyond the existence of these subjects, and to theorize their extinction. However, within dominant Western culture, extinction is made unthinkable in a second sense: there is a taboo against discussing it. Such discussions are often understood to be antihuman and misanthropic. As Claire Colebrook (2014) points out, these taboos preclude discussion of whether or not ‘humanity’ – in particular the universalist, exclusive subject of ‘human security’ and ‘humanitarianism’ (Mitchell, 2014) – should exist. This, in turn, entrenches dominant norms of ‘humanity’ as an individualized, rigidly gendered and racialized, economicallymotivated being reducible to biological functions and ontologically separate from other beings (Mitchell, 2014). These narratives ignore the existence of, and preclude the emergence of, postor other-than-human life forms that transcend these boundaries (Braidotti, 2013), or other kinds of human existences, subjectivities and ways of relating to earth (Alfred, 2005). As a result, IR and global theory remains preoccupied with constructing and ensuring the survival of a ‘humanity’ incapable of transformation and exclusive of pluralities. In these conditions, existing IR and global theory’s engagements with radical finitude – constructed as the ultimate threat to this form of survival – are likely to entrench this subject of humanity and the structures that produce it, while ignoring the radical challenges to it raised by the earthly rupture of extinction. All of this suggests that mainstream IR and global theory, and the global politics it sustains, are not capable of addressing extinction or the condition of radical finitude it foregrounds. On the contrary, they are constructed to be unreceptive to the material, ecological and cosmological critiques of its theories, structures and practices raised by escalating patterns of 54

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extinction. An IR and global theory more attuned to the pluralities of expressions of ‘humans’ and other life forms, or for their potential emergence, would loosen the grip of dominant norms and open up space for alternative ideas of survival and flourishing. By rejecting the demand for the survival and security of ‘humanity’ at all costs, this future IR might embrace forms of flourishing and well-being that do not imply or assume permanence but rather embrace fluidity. It might also involve creating space for posthuman futures enabled by the nourishing of links with other life forms or technologies (see Braidotti, 2013; Colebrook, 2014; Evans and Reid, 2014). Moreover, this future IR and global theory might center Indigenous modes of governance rooted in treaties, protocols and other ethical-legal relations with other beings – including other animals, water and earth itself (see, for instance, Atleo, 2011; Simpson, 2011; Kimmerer, 2013). Each of these possibilities would contribute to an IR and global theory more attuned and responsive to earth, to the structural violences that existing IR and global theory bolster, and to the multiple possible futures that can be imagined against images of radical finitude. Indeed, confronting radical finitude opens up opportunities for creativity. Numerous cosmo-visions suggest that negation is the source of re-creation. For instance, the Kumolipo, the cosmogonic chant of the Kānaka Maoli people of Hawai’i, locates the origins of the universe in what Western science might label as ‘nothingness’ (Oliveira, 2014). Hopi Elder Thomas Banyacya (cited in Mohawk, 2010), relates his peoples’ cosmological history, in which earth has been totally destroyed and regenerated three times in response to the breaking of protocols by humans. Working within Western critical theory, Alain Badiou (2009) suggests that irruptions of ‘the void’ – the field of non-being and total negation – are the source of radical transformation. Each of these perspectives suggests that negation can be a profound source of creativity, and that confronting radical finitude can create opportunities for co-creating plural futures. Future IR theories that take seriously the critiques raised by earthly ruptures such as extinction might relinquish their grip on the survival of a particular model of ‘humanity’ to make space for these futures.

Radical infinitude and cosmic expansionism Radical finitude, however, is not the only cosmological challenge undermining the foundations of IR and global theory. In fact, it is deeply intertwined with imaginaries of radical infinitude. Some responses to collective fear of finitude have produced movements that aspire to the extension of control, capital and territoriality into spatio-temporal scales that vastly exceed the limits of Western scientific knowledge. They embody an ethos that I will call ‘cosmic expansionism’: the extension of dominant forms of agency, governance and socioeconomic power beyond the specific, Western spatio-scales associated with ‘human’ experience and cognition. This form of expansionism includes techno-scientific and/or capitalist interventions into the nano-sphere; quantum computing; synthetic biology; and large-scale terra-forming or geo-engineering on earth and other planets. It also involves the colonization of other temporalities, including those of Indigenous and other non-Western worlds (Rifkin, 2017) within the linear, unidirectional, homogenization structures of Western secular time. Cosmic expansionism seeks to offer radical infinitude to ‘humanity’ by asserting domination not only over land and living bodies, but also the conditions of matter, time and space that shape and transform cosmos. One of the most salient expressions of cosmic expansionism is found in movements to colonize and extract resources from outer space. As images of a volatile, irreparably damaged and unsafe earth proliferate – that is, apocalyptic discourses of radical finitude – a new crop of 55

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commercial space entrepreneurs (‘NewSpace’) is promising an escape route. They suggest that the colonization of other planets and outer space bodies will create more space for an expanding ‘humanity’, ensuring its indefinite survival. In a 2014 conference address, NASA chief Charles Bolden stated that ‘only a multi-planet species can survive for a long period of time’. Similarly, space entrepreneur Elon Musk warns that ‘either we spread Earth to other planets, or we risk going extinct’ (Kleinman, 2013). Explaining his projects as an ‘insurance policy’ (Carroll, 2013), Musk approaches space colonization as a form of highly profitable yet publicly beneficial speculation against the possible extinction of homo sapiens. Although the colonization of outer space is often dismissed in public discourses as a science fiction plot, NewSpace entrepreneurs are committing billions of dollars to achieving their goals in a matter of decades. If they succeed, they will not be the first members of homo sapiens to make outer space their dwelling place. Many Indigenous peoples maintain relations with Ancestors, animals, plants and places on other planets and celestial bodies. To offer just three examples, Aboriginal people in Stradbroke Island, Queensland, are related to a man called Mirabooka who dwells in Sky Country in the form of a constellation and looks after the people of the earth (Bhathal, 2006). In Anishinaabe traditions, cosmic bodies including the sun, moon and stars form a family, who are the progenitors of earthly life forms and influence their lives (Benton-Banai, 2010). Similarly, within Haudenosaunee traditions, the first human – Sky Woman – fell to the watery abyss that would become earth from a hole made in the floor of Sky World by the uprooting of a sacred tree (Mohawk, 2010). From within these and other Indigenous cosmo-visions, the area designated as ‘outer space’ by Western science has been continually inhabited by Ancestors, the dead, distinct worlds and non-living beings that command respect in their own right. According to Seneca faithkeeper Oren Lyons (cited in Alfred, 2009) his people have always theorized their worlds in relation to the cosmos. This is exemplified by the Thanksgiving Address, a daily offering of gratitude to all beings. As Lyons relates, ‘you start with the grass and you wind up with the heavens and the universe, so obviously you’re thinking even more than just global, you’re thinking universal’ (Alfred, 2009: 237). Within this cosmo-vision, earth and what Western science calls ‘outer space’ are a continuous field of inhabitation and relation. Yet despite their rich and widespread presence in Indigenous philosophies and histories, the existence of these inhabitants is erased within mainstream, colonial discourses on outer space, which treat it as a dead, empty terrain with ‘no natives’ awaiting colonization (Reinstein, 1999; Grinspoon, 2004; NASA, 2014). Based on this assumption, Western scientific, military and commercial interests have made significant strides to annex, claim and shape outer space. Attempts to annex outer space within Western regimes of power have a significant history. Practices of remotely observing, mapping and naming the features of celestial bodies have been employed continuously since the 18th century (Lane, 2010), projecting imaginaries of planets and worlds onto these beings (Dittmer, 2007). Since the 1960s, outer space has been shaped by the material culture of the space race and human commerce, including thousands of satellites, rockets, their debris and the signals they beam to the Earth (Gorman, 2005; Collis, 2009). From this perspective, outer space has already been subject to significant material and ideational colonization. The emergence of the ‘NewSpace’ sector marks a significant intensification of these imaginaries and an amplification of their colonial ambitions. Since the 1980s, this group of primarily US-based entrepreneurs, advocates and scientists have sought to commercialize ‘outer space’ through a diverse range of projects, from asteroid mining to space-based tourism (Valentine, 2012). Emerging almost exclusively from backgrounds in technology and venture capital, NewSpace activists fund technological development by reinvesting profits from past 56

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technology ventures or by linking technologists with angel investors (Valentine, 2012). Prominent NewSpace actors include PayPal entrepreneur Elon Musk, founder of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX); entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, a principle in mining company Planetary Resources and tourism firm Space Adventures, and who created the $10 million X-Prize for commercial spaceflight innovation; Amazon owner Jeff Bezos; and serial entrepreneur Richard Branson, who owns space travel company Virgin Galactic. These companies pursue various goals, including the development of reusable, cost-effective launch systems (SpaceX, Blue Horizon); off-Earth mining (Deep Space Industries, Planetary Resources) and space tourism (Virgin Galactic, Space Adventures). Many NewSpace entrepreneurs have expressed the aim of creating human colonies in outer space. For instance, Musk has openly stated his desire to ‘occupy Mars’ by the 2020s (Carroll, 2013), while Deep Space Industries trades on its potential to provide fuel for future space exploration and settlement. The emergence of a vibrant and lucrative NewSpace sector marks a shift from state-driven outer space activity towards private enterprises, which many US-based NewSpace entrepreneurs attribute to the retraction of state funding after the end of the Cold War. Many of them frame space colonization as a private-public partnership in which ‘the role of government is to provide the infrastructure and investment to establish a viable industry that will then have “benefits for all mankind”’ (Valentine, 2012: 1054). Jason Beery (2012) points out that although major space agencies such as NASA have been contracting with private companies for decades, governments increasingly regard commercial projects such as space ports as part of their core efforts to promote economic growth, stability and the reproduction of the political-economic system (Beery, 2012: 25). Peter Dickens and James Ormrod (2007) use David Harvey’s (2003) account of interlinked circuits of capital to explain this relationship. Space colonization promises to offer direct profit from the development of technologies and the extraction of outer space resources (the primary circuit), while reinvestment of profits and government funding produces a second circuit, and the accumulation of capital for scientific research and development form a third circuit. Along with this vision of freely-circulating, constantly-expanding capital, NewSpace entrepreneurs also articulate explicit territorial ambitions. Indeed, Virgin Galactic’s (2015, italics mine) slogan, ‘space is Virgin territory’, is surprising literal in its meaning. For many NewSpace advocates, extending capital markets into outer space is a means of gaining exclusive legal control and physical domination over space and resources. In 2015, the Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship (SPACE) Act passed by the US Congress granted the exclusive right to US companies to exploit minerals, water and other resources (excluding biological life) found in outer space on a first-come, first-served basis. Although the SPACE Act does not technically constitute a claim of sovereignty by the state over any outer space body, it grants sovereignty in the form of property rights to private companies. In so doing, it unilaterally alters the legal status of outer space, which has been recognized as res communis (a global commons) since the ratification of the UN’s Outer Space Treaty in 1969. While the Outer Space Treaty prohibits any state or nation from appropriating outer space bodies, its framers did not anticipate the emergence of private actors with the resources to launch space missions. As a result, its text does not explicitly prevent individuals or private companies from pursuing a policy of ‘first grab’ – a loophole that the SPACE Act openly exploits. The 1979 ‘Moon Treaty’ bans the appropriation of the moon or other space objects by any state or individual (excepting international bodies). However, to date it has gained only 16 signatories, none of which are major ‘space-faring’ countries. Due to these substantial gaps in international law and the difficulty of enforcing law in outer space, this sphere may come to resemble less the American frontier of the 1850s to which is often compared (see Grinspoon, 57

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2004; Planetary Resources, 2014) as modern resource extraction frontiers. That is, it is likely to emerge as a weakly-regulated space shaped by destructive, often violent conflict amongst multiple state, commercial and private actors over lucrative resources circulated on global commodity markets (Tsing, 2005). Indeed, the outer space envisioned by NewSpace entrepreneurs offers prime sites for mining and other forms of extraction. Aside from the desire to escape the earth, the value of space colonization lies in its perceived potential to provide access to limitless ‘off-earth resources’ (Virgin Galactic, 2014). For instance, Planetary Resources states that a single platinum-rich 500 meter wide asteroid contains approximately 174 times the annual output of platinum, and 1.5 times the known world-reserves of platinum-group metals (ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium and platinum) (Planetary Resources, 2014). These resources are intended to meet increasing resource demands made by a rising population on Earth, but also to fuel the extension of resource extraction projects beyond the solar system. As Planetary Resources co-founder Eric C. Anderson describes it: ‘we need to use the resources of space to help us colonize space … That’s why Planetary Resources exists’ (Fallows, 2013). Similarly, Deep Space Industries is preparing itself to be ‘the gas station, the oasis for food and water, and the building supply station for the frontier’ (Deep Space Industries, 2014). These claims suggest that the self-sustaining exploitation of outer space resources will make it possible to put a definitive end to resource scarcity, while creating no adverse environmental impacts on Earth. In fact, they bank on the possibility of exporting the externalities of resource extraction ‘safely outside of our delicate biosphere’ (Planetary Resources, 2014). Consider Eric Anderson’s rhetorical question: Wouldn’t it be great if one day, all of the heavy industries of the Earth – mining and energy production and manufacturing – were done somewhere else, and the Earth could be used for living, keeping it as it should be, which is a bright-blue planet with lots of green? (quoted in Fallows, 2013) This quote suggests that NewSpace entrepreneurs and activists view ‘off-earth’ resources not only as a source of profit but also as a means of ensuring the continual cosmic expansion of ‘humanity’. Indeed, although NewSpace is propelled by the search for profit and economic sovereignty, it is also driven by a form of aspirational, universalizing humanism (Valentine, 2012). As Michael Oman-Reagan’s (2015) work illustrates, this subject is almost exclusively imagined in NewSpace rhetoric and speculative imagery as white, cis-gendered and heterosexual. Indeed, proponents of space colonization promote deeply racialized and gendered images of ideal space colonists who fit the ideal of ‘scientific manliness’ (Lane, 2010) and are assumed to be a ‘superior subset of the larger group from which they spring’ (Dolman, 2001: 27). Meanwhile, opponents of space colonization – including states who fail to fund it – are characterized as neutered, feminized or sexually impotent ‘eunochs’ (Lewis, 1996). Moreover, many NewSpace actors envisage an ‘improved’ form of (post)humanity modified to survive in outer space. These include modifications of lifestyle, culture and perhaps even physique or genetics. As such, while NewSpace entrepreneurs claim to be conquering outer space for ‘humanity’, they are in fact pursuing a particular set of technologically-mediated posthuman futures. Like the issue of extinction, this possibility challenges the bases of existing IR and global theory in a particular notion of ‘humanity’. NewSpace entrepreneurs interpellate these subjects – and work to design futures for them – through initiatives designed to activate emotional investment. This includes Planetary Resources’ 58

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online ‘Asteroid Zoo’,1 an application that encourages members of the online public to ‘hunt mineral-rich asteroids’ using an online application and data from NASA’s Catalina Sky Survey. Similarly, projects such as Google Mars and the World Wide Telescope (funded by Google and Microsoft respectively) enable online users remotely to ‘travel’ across the surfaces of planets’ celestial bodies, compiling their ‘own’ personalized maps based on their aesthetic responses to the data. Strategies like these enable NewSpace actors to frame their efforts as a ‘grand unifying project’ (Dickens and Ormrod, 2007) undertaken in the name of ‘humanity’. Even the resource extraction company Planetary Resources promises that ‘the entire human race will be the beneficiary’ (Planetary Resources, 2014) of its work. These statements give the impression that access to outer space and its resources is, or at least should be, shared across a unified and uniform ‘humanity’. The Outer Space Treaty, the Moon treaty and the European Union’s draft Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities (2014) all call for the distribution of the profits and benefits of space colonization across ‘humanity’. However, they offer no specific prescriptions for effecting the global structural changes necessary to ensure the fair sharing of space technologies, resources or profits, making these goals little more than aspirational norms. Nor do they acknowledge or address existing relationships, patterns of dwelling and laws pertaining to the lands they annex as ‘outer space’. Plans for space colonization are a direct response to the possibility of radical infinitude and an expression of the desire to colonize radical infinitude in order to secure the ongoing survival of a specific norm of ‘humanity’. Above, I discussed the co-existence of multiple temporalities, including Ancestral times, cyclical times and discourses of deep time that not only predate and coexist with Western time, but will also persist beyond its boundaries. Cosmic expansionism is a culturally specific response to awareness of this condition. Through techno-scientific, capitalist and overtly colonial modes of intervention, it seeks to extend and assert a particular form of ‘human’ agency beyond a Western concept of time (and space) limited by the conditions of earth. This movement seeks to ensure the infinite domination of a particular (post)human subject by asserting spatio-temporal dominance over other times and dimensions, violating the forms of sovereignty engendered by the distinct worlds they support (Rifkin, 2017). Indeed, cosmic expansionism puts into question existing accounts of sovereignty rooted in Western scientific beliefs about the limitations and parameters imposed on ‘humanity’ by a recalcitrant earth. Emerging forms of space sovereignty (including the state- and commerciallybased economic sovereignty represented by the SPACE Act) seem to assume that existing statecentric sovereignty can be transferred to space without articulating how this might function. NewSpace entrepreneurs are joined by major state actors such as China and India in the scramble to gain control over ‘off-earth resources’. However, it is entirely unclear how territorial claims or jurisdiction could be determined in the unbounded space of the cosmos – or indeed, what kind of political community might be invested with this power. Current NewSpace projects are crystallizing around corporate structures based on resource extraction, in which communities comprised mostly of workers and some colonists would be sent into outer space at the behest of private companies. It is uncertain whether the citizenship and rights of this (presumably international) workforce would hold on other planets, and whether companies would continue to be regulated by states whose sovereignty is earth-based. The explicit flouting of the Outer Space Treaty by the approval of the SPACE Act (see Mitchell and West, 2016) has set a precedent that international law does not apply to other planets and celestial bodies. Since the jurisdiction of international law is designed to end at the boundaries of the planet, it is unclear whether or not states will respect claims to sovereignty made on outer space bodies. What’s more, even existing international space law ignores, effaces and violates the forms of 59

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sovereignty embodied by Indigenous modes of dwelling and laws related to Sky Country or Sky Worlds. Indeed, by declaring ‘outer space’ to be res comunis, the UN effectively annexed this vast place, and the plural worlds it fosters, as terra nullius to be colonized and exploited by ‘humanity’. Future IR and global theories addressing ‘outer space’ should attend to the coexistence of multiple forms of sovereignty rooted in plural spatio-temporalities, cosmovisions and relations. Indeed, movements towards cosmic expansionism, and space colonization in particular, demand future IR theories that are overtly decolonial in nature. Crucially, these future decolonial IR theories must be attuned to the transformations of colonial logics and structures as they move across spaces, temporalities and material or technological conditions (see Wolfe, 2006). In NewSpace discourses, modes of colonization and settler colonialism responsible for widespread genocides, displacements and oppression across earth are lauded as desirable strategies. As discussed above, proponents of space colonization justify their rhetoric on the apparently commonsense knowledge that there are no Indigenous people or other ethically-relevant beings in outer space. Yet, the examples above show that the place labeled as ‘outer space’ within Western scientific discourses is richly populated with the relations (human and otherthan-human; living, dead and non-living in Western terms) of plural Indigenous peoples. Colonization of outer space bodies, the mining of asteroids or even movement through interplanetary space may damage these beings irreparably, severing their co-constitutive relations with people and other beings on earth. Moreover, given that each of the Indigenous knowledge systems discussed above considers these beings to be kin, the destruction of or trespass onto ‘outer space’ bodies constitutes a harm or transgression in itself. The space industry has a history of displacing Indigenous peoples and polluting their sacred lands on earth (see Redfield, 2000; Gorman, 2005). Plans for space colonization threaten to extend this violent legacy beyond earth, exponentially extending the spatio-temporal reach of settler colonial violence. In addition, NewSpace promotes colonial cultures based on the transfer of populations to environments to which they are unaccustomed and in which they will be at the mercy of colonial leaders. In this case, access to the technology required to travel to and exit from outer space bodies would remain concentrated in the hands of space entrepreneurs, who would potentially control every aspect of life in the colonies. Given the risk associated with outer space enterprises, and ongoing patterns of migration on earth, it is likely that the first colonizers would be members of economically marginalized and vulnerable groups. This would accentuate inequalities and structural violence currently experienced on earth. Due to the specific conditions of outer space – including distance from the earth and the bounded nature of the economies that would emerge on small, resource-driven space colonies – the power of space entrepreneurs would include almost total control over the social, political and economic aspects of life in the colonies. If the bodies of colonizers require modifications in order to survive in outer space conditions or the ecosystems of particular planets or other bodies, space entrepreneurs may also gain control over the genetic and physical characteristics of colonizers. In this sense, humans travelling to space to join these settlements would simultaneously be colonizers and intensely colonized. Future decolonial IR and global theory need not rule out the inhabitation of other celestial bodies, but it could envision non-violent modes of life that respect outer space beings. This would involve taking seriously Indigenous and other non-Western ethical-legal systems and kinship relations, and ensuring that any actions within Sky Country/Sky Worlds or other Ancestral territories were respected. What’s more, imaginaries of outer space should include Indigenous and non-Western visions of these forms of dwelling. Morten Klass (2000) 60

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notes that existing plans for space colonization envision communities in ‘outer space’ that almost exclusively feature North American and (north) European community and economic structures. As Dickens and Ormrod (2007) suggest, most imaginaries of space colonization are rooted in Western forms of science fiction such as Star Trek, which reinforce images of eminent domain and expansive capitalism. A future decolonial IR and global theory could engage with the emerging genres of Afro-futurism (Nelson, 2000; Womack, 2013) and Indigenous futurisms (see Dillon, 2012) to imagine other futures. Through visual, digital, musical and filmic mediums, many works in these genres imagine futures in which Ancestral knowledges and contemporary realities fuse with emerging technologies to engender nonviolent forms of encounter and co-existence with other beings on earth and elsewhere. A future decolonial IR and global theory could take its cues from these sources – not simply Western science fiction – to imagine plural future forms of flourishing on and off earth.

Conclusion As earthly ruptures puncture and deflate the globe that underpins IR and global theory (Latour, 2016), these disciplines need to attune themselves to different forms of critique. These ruptures expose profound gaps between existing IR and global theory and the cosmological conditions in which it is embedded. As a result of these gaps, IR and global theory is unable to confront some of the most profound and challenging conditions that face it. The contributions to this book each, in different ways, query the limits of critique in IR, and whether IR can still be meaningfully understood as a discipline. In this chapter, I have foregrounded a form of critique that goes beyond the limits of existing frameworks: the direct critiques asserted through the eruption of planetary crises and cosmic conditions into the frameworks of IR. I have also centred speculative theory and philosophy as a potent mode of critique within, and of, IR and global theory. To some degree, all of the arguments made in this chapter rely on speculative thought – that is, reasoned thought abstracted from current knowledge about possible future events. This form of critique is not ‘mere (science) fiction’: it involves modes of reason that integrate elements of imagination and the contingency of the unknown. Speculative thought, which has become an important aspect of contemporary philosophy (see Bogost, 2012; Morton, 2013), anthropology, science and technology studies (see Haraway, 2008) and which has for centuries been central to Western science, offers a great deal to scholars interested in the future of earth and the wider cosmos. Indeed, rather than limiting critique and the projection of futures to existing theory, it draws on incipient, emergent patterns (Connolly, 2011) to imagine other possible worlds and configurations of existence. Finally, I have engaged throughout with Indigenous philosophies and cosmo-visions. In so doing, I have sought to highlight the plurality of worlds that co-exist on earth, and the multiplicity of forms of dwelling, relations with earth and other planets, and possible futures they incubate. This, in turn, performs a critique of the universalizing tendencies of existing Western-centric IR and global theory, whose exclusions and erasures of these worlds have helped to alienate it from the conditions in which it is embedded. These modes of being, dwelling, flourishing and imagining challenge dominant Western, colonial norms of ‘humanity’ and the oppressive, often violent, political and economic structures they engender. In combination, these forms of critique open up possibilities for plural futures – even in the face of radical (in)finitude.

Note 1 The ‘Asteroid Zoo’ is accessible online: www.asteroidzoo.org

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References Alfred, Taiaiake (2005) Wasáse: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Aradau, Claudia and van Munster, Rens (2011) Politics of Catastrophe. London: Routledge. Atleo, E. Richard (2011) Principles of Tsawalk: An Indigenous Approach to Global Crisis. Vancouver and Toronto: University of British Columbia Press. Badiou, Alain (2009) Being and Event. London: Bloomsbury. Barnosky, Anthony D. (2014) Dodging Extinction: Power, Food, Money and the Future of Life on Earth. Oakland, CA: University of California Press. Barnosky, Anthony D., Matzke, Nicholas, Tomiya, Susumu, Wogan, Guinevere O.U., Swartz, Brian, Quental, Tiago B., Marshall, Charles, McGuire, Jenny L., Lindsey, Emily L., Maguire, Kaitlin C., Mersey, Ben and Ferrer, Elizabeth A. (2011) ‘Has the Earth’s Sixth Mass Extinction Already Arrived?’. Nature 471, 51–70. Beery, Jason (2012) ‘State, Capital and Spaceships: A Terrestrial Geography of Space Tourism’. GeoForum 43, 25–34. Benton-Banai, Edward (2010) The Mishomis Book: The Voice of the Ojibway. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Bhathal, Ragbir (2006) ‘Aboriginal Skies: Astronomy in Aboriginal Culture’. Astronomy & Geophysics 47 (5), 27–30. Bogost, Ian (2012) Alien Phenomenology, or, What It’s Like to Be a Thing. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Borrows, John (Kegedonce) (2010) Drawing Out Law: A Spirit’s Guide. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Bostrom, Nick and Cirkovic, Milan M. (2008) Global Catastrophic Risks. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Braidotti, Rosi (2010) ‘The Politics of “Life Itself” and New Ways of Dying’. In Coole, Diana and Samantha Frost (eds.). New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency and Politics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 201–218. Braidotti, Rosi (2013) The Posthuman. Cambridge: Polity Press. Carroll, Rory (2013) ‘Elon Musk’s Mission to Mars’. Guardian online. www.theguardian.com/technology/ 2013/jul/17/elon-musk-mission-mars-spacex. Center for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) (2015) ‘Emerging Risks from Technology’. online. http://cser.org/emerging-risks-from-technology/. Colebrook, Claire (2014) Death of the Posthuman: Essays on Extinction. Vol. I. Ann Arbour, MI: Open Humanities Press. Collis, Christy (2009) ‘The Geostationary Orbit: A Critical Legal Geography of Spaces Most Valuable Real Estate’. The Sociological Review 57, 47–55. Connolly, William C. (2011) A World of Becoming. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) Global Biodiversity Outlook 3. Montreal: Secretariat of the Convention on Biodiversity. Deep Space Industries (2014) ‘Promotional Video’. online. http://deepspaceindustries.com. Dickens, Peter and Ormrod, James S. (2007) Cosmic Society: Towards a Sociology of the Universe. London: Routledge. Dillon, Grace (ed.) (2012) Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press. Dittmer, Jason N. (2007) ‘Colonialism and Place Creation in Mars Pathfinder Media Coverage’. The Geographical Review 97 (1), 112–130. Dolman, Everett (2001) Astropolitik: Classical Geopolitics in the Space Age. London: Routledge. Evans, Brad and Reid, Julian (2014) Resilient Life: The Art of Living Dangerously. Cambridge: Polity. Fallows, James (2013) ‘The Coming of Age of Space Colonization’. The Atlantic online. www.theatlantic. com/technology/archive/2013/03/the-coming-age-of-space-colonization/273818/ Gorman, Alice (2005) ‘The Landscape of Interplanetary Space’. Journal of Social Archaeology 5 (1), 85–107. Grinspoon, David H. (2004) ‘Is Mars ours? The Logistics and Ethics of Colonizing the Red Planet’. Slate online. www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2004/01/is_mars_ours.html. Haraway, Donna (2008) When Species Meet. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Harvey, David (2003) The New Imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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5 RELATING TO RELATIONAL WORLDS Critical theory, relational thought and relational cosmology Milja Kurki

Social sciences and humanities have experienced a ‘relational revolution’ from the latter part of the 20th century onwards. This has entailed an increasing interest in conceptualizing the world around us in terms of ‘relations’, rather than ‘objects’, ‘laws’ or indeed ‘objective God’s eye knowledge’ of their patterns. The relational ‘revolution’ has implied an emphasis on the processual, constantly evolving, mutable nature of ‘objects’ and ‘subjects’ in a relational world. Today, relational thinking is far from unusual in the study of ‘International Relations’ (IR). As the very title of this ‘discipline’ suggests, IR scholars are interested in understanding ‘relations’ which define and condition international political realities, actors, discourses and political dynamics. Following the post-positivist revolution in the 1990s especially, we have seen increasing efforts by IR scholars to reflect on how the so-called essential ‘objects’ that seem to make up the international political world (especially states, but also cultures, social structures, systems) are ‘made’ through various social or linguistic relations. In an already interdisciplinary field, this has facilitated a furthering of cross-disciplinary efforts to explore how the political, economic, cultural, sociological or gendered dynamics, for example, interact globally to bring about the patterns characteristic of ‘International Relations’ such as conflict, pockets of peace, or flow of capital. Relational patterns of thinking are arguably taking over from ‘atomistic’ traditions of thought – those which emphasized the ‘point-like’, individuated and/or essential qualities of objects or indeed human individuals. This is in part thanks to the influence in the 20th century of various critical theories in social sciences and in IR, theories which have placed central importance on relationality. If classical liberal theories emphasized the role of individuals, or corporate objects such as states, and if they directed us to study the ‘laws’ or ‘patterns’ of their behaviour, critical theorists have been systematically undoing this way of thinking about the world by emphasizing relations – material, social, structural, discursive, linguistic – which condition any ‘acts’ by ‘individuals’ and which seem to ‘constitute’ the very objects themselves. But what are these supposed ‘relations’ that relational thinking points to? And how do we contend with the proliferation of different forms of relational thinking in the social sciences and IR today? What implications might the divergences of approach to ‘relations’ have for 65

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critical theorizing in IR and related fields? Are ‘relational’ forms of theory and practice in IR relational in the same way at all, and what is at stake in how we metaphorically engage ‘relations’ (see also Coward, 2018)? This chapter tries to take some steps towards addressing these questions. In so doing it seeks to engender further debate on – and debate between – relational forms of thought. I do so by exploring the potential of a new type of relational frame of reference that I am particularly interested in, what I call here ‘relational cosmology’. This perspective, which emanates from the physical sciences, specifically scientific cosmology, but which seeks to also develop the philosophical, social and political implications of relationality, is, it is suggested here, a perspective which can help in some important ways, if not in ‘solving’ the problems of contending with ‘relational worlds’, then in orientating to them. The piece argues that relational thinking in the social sciences is welcome but also that we should seek to position debates on relationality within a wider relational shift in the sciences. It is argued that it is not a surprise that relationality receives attention today in the social sciences for it has been long on the march to greater recognition in the natural sciences. By positioning relational thinking in relational cosmology I try to argue that we can better grasp why relationality matters but also how we might ‘relate’ to it. I argue that as ‘we’ process the relations we are ‘in and of’ cosmologically, new ways of understanding and experiencing relationality is both to be expected and welcomed. From this perspective what relationality means for the theory and practice of the sciences, and for ‘IR’, is still, and perhaps will always be, ‘up for grabs’. Indeed, I highlight here that the challenge for relational thinking is not to pin down the meaning and content of relations but to find and explore new ways of ‘relating to relations’. This short chapter will proceed first by giving an account of relational thinking in social theory and critical theory in particular. It highlights the centrality of relational thought to such perspectives but also the shifting sands of relational thinking over time. The second section explores the gear-shift in relational thinking – posthuman relationalism – and places this in the context of an even wider form of relational thinking: relational cosmology. This form of relational orientation, it is suggested, allows us both to understand and to develop further relational thinking in the social and natural sciences. The final section explores, through a relational cosmology frame, the question ‘how should we orient to relations?’ It is argued that in the constantly moving relations which we encounter from relational situated perspectives, rather than ‘knowing’ relations, and trying to fix what they mean conceptually, a kind of openness to re-relating the universe and relationality might be what we could look to. This has some implications as to how we imagine critical theory in IR today, which I reflect on here.

Relationality, positivism and critical theory In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. Marx, Preface to A Contribution to a Critique of Political Economy 66

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This famous quote by Marx reveals the centrality of a relational critique to his critique of political economy. Marx contended that social scientists – from economists to historians and philosophers – had misunderstood the structural, relational underpinnings of social life. While it might appear to us ‘obvious’ that individuals think, act and shape the social world, in fact, Marx pushed us towards a view which suggested that it is the material and ideational contexts, conditions and social relations within which we are defined that produces ‘us’ and our ways of acting and thinking. ‘We’ are the products of the relations that we are ‘of’, which precede us and are not controlled by us, even as we ‘reproduce’ them through our thoughts and actions. Central to the social world and social sciences then is to avoid a reduction of the world to ‘our’ acts, feelings or behaviours in favour of understanding (the often difficult-todirectly-observe) relations, contexts and conditions which give rise to our individual characteristics and behaviours. This relational critique called into question the (‘progressive’) liberal as well as other, more ‘reactionary’, ideological frames. Intriguingly, it suggested to social and political actors, and academics: ‘be careful when you think you know yourself, others, or the contexts that you are in’. For if you are the product of social forces, so is your thinking, and your ‘science’ of society. We do not look upon the world around us ‘from up high’, benefitting from pure reason, objectivity and hindsight, but rather our attempts to understand the world are tied up in the relational contexts within which we are bound. This relational critique also had a wider aim. It sought, in important ways, to challenge the dominance of atomist and empiricist lines of argument in the philosophy of science and philosophy of social science more widely. It challenged the idea that tracing the movements of ‘observable objects’ was the aim of science or social science. The relational critique argued that there are deeper layers of reality which we cannot see or conceptualize if we assume the essential nature of ‘discrete observable objects’ or their law-like patterns of movement. The challenge of science is the conceptualization and abstraction of relations, not observation of patterns. Indeed, for these perspectives, going ‘beyond appearances’, how objects appear to us, was to be the core aim of the social sciences. As scientific and critical realists (the philosophy of science inheritors of these critiques of atomism, individualism and empiricism) attest, to explain social behaviour we must go beyond what we ‘see’ conceptually to get at structures and processes which may not appear to us as self-evident, and we must challenge the notion that individuals are the innocent drivers of social affairs (Bhaskar, 2008 [1975], 1998 [1979] in IR see Kurki, 2008; Wight and Joseph, 2010). These kinds of critiques, as will be examined below, have become a relatively common theme of much of 20th and 21st century social theory, social science and philosophy. The emphasis on relationality and its consequences in terms of the critique of individualism and empiricism, has been, unsurprisingly, particularly pronounced in various forms of postpositivist, critical theoretical and post-Marxist strands of thought in these fields, but is not even unique to them. There are various quite distinct ways of conceptualizing relations – and these engage in a politically significant dialogue with each other. When we speak of relations, then, what do we mean?

Differing imaginations of relationality in IR We have seen that relational thought has been on the rise but what are relations and what do they mean in the context of the study of ‘IR’, the interdisciplinary field which has sought understand international and global relations? 67

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For realists in IR relations are central: it is the structural relations (of anarchy) which constrain state responses and rationalities and which thus determine responses of states. For Marxists, relations are crucial too but it is the class relations which condition the nature and aims of behaviour. Feminists have for some years pointed to the importance of gendered social relations in the underpinnings of state and international organization power, but here they seek networks of gendered power relations within the personal as well as public realm. Crucially, it is important to note that just because perspectives speak of relations this does not mean that they are relational in the same way. Relationality can be conceived of in many different ways and drawing some distinctions between these relational forms of thought would seem important. Indeed, some forms of relational thinking may not be entirely antithetical to individualist or atomist frames. Martin Coward’s (2018) recent critique of ‘network thinking’ is a good example of an account that emphasizes the ways in which even ‘liberal’ thought today works through ‘relational’ metaphors, but in a distinct, partly ‘atomist’ manner (denying the context and contingency of global network nodes). As we discuss new forms of relationalisms in an IR context then, it is important to remember that today many liberal perspectives, often classically conceived of as atomist, also allow for relations, but a very specific imagination of relations. For the liberal tradition individuals interact in relational contexts. The social world even for the liberal ‘atomists’ then is made fundamentally of the ‘interaction’ of agents. Indeed, it is the interactive capacity and the institutional structures within which they interact that define relations, or networks, within this frame. But it is not such ‘interaction’ that Marxists or critical theorists have in mind when they speak of relations: they imagine structures of relational capacities. For them relations are abstracted social capacities which render thought and action possible: being a ‘woman’, a ‘tenant’, or a ‘professor’ are socially structured positions which we ‘hold’ by virtue of our positioning in social relations which structure both material and ideational capacities for us. The relations of the Latourian new materialist on the other hand lack the abstracted depth ontology of the Marxists and instead, somewhat akin to the liberal view of relations, focus on immediate touching points or affects of relations. Relations are imagined as assemblages of objects in contact. Each perspective critiques the other on account of the political as well as theoretical consequences of conceptualizing relations in particular ways. This reminds us that what is at stake in discussion of relational critiques is not necessarily relational versus non-relational thought but also how we understand, conceptualize and analyze relations. It may very well be that we have many, many relational frames but what is at stake in relational shifts and debates are the kind of imagination, conceptual treatment and language we use in relation to relations. Famously, major debates – sometimes fierce debates – have characterized the inter-relations of different forms of relational thinking. Thus, Frankfurt School critical theorists, while extending Marx’s critique to a critique of culture and ideology, tended to still believe in the possibility of a critical theorist expanding or correcting knowledge of social affairs. Adorno’s writings called this into doubt and alongside poststructuralist thought extended a more ‘negative’ critical theoretical tradition into the social sciences and humanities. Here the ability of the critical theorist to ‘transcend’ or ‘pull out’ of the linguistic, cultural and ideological mores and ways of thinking was called into question, as well as simultaneously the ‘stability of meaning’ of modern ways of knowing, thinking and being. There is no authoritative standpoint, epistemologically or ontologically, that would allow us to ‘fix’ our gaze, or concepts, or knowledge, or even experience, in such a way as to allow certain or even truth-approximating knowledge to arise. 68

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Other critical theorists took issue with this critique. Some post-Marxists, postcolonialists, and especially so-called critical realists alongside feminist standpoint theorists, while rejecting all God’s eye points of view, sought to ground critique still in attempts to gain knowledge, even if not objective and from nowhere. All knowledge for these scholars is limited, and situated socially, but nevertheless as such able to provide a perspective of the knower from within their situatedness. A new kind of critical social as well as natural science then for them is to be built on taking seriously our situatedness in a world which shapes us but with a view to using our situatedness in it as a way of accessing the world’s complex, multi-layered ‘realities’. Despite the disagreements between critical theoretical positions – disagreements which have intensely significant political implications for how one conceives of oppression and resistance – there is a common relational critique in their frame: human language as well as concepts and social structures place us in relational context understood not just as ‘interactions’ but as varied sets of relations (ideological, discursive, social structural) that define for us our ways of being and also knowing. The social theoretical, and by extension IR theoretical, debates on relational imaginations then are important and ongoing. Yet, I also now want to suggest that they are delimited in certain important respects: crucially, they do not directly take on wider sets of contexts in which we might address the challenges of ‘relational’ thought and political practice. Indeed, often discussions in social theory and IR assume that it is the social sciences that introduce and reproduce this special attention to the problems of relationality. Yet, this is not a very accurate identification of the fortunes and challenges of relational thought. We need to pay attention to sciences and their views on relationality as these can in fact assist us in thinking through the multiplication of and lack of fixity of relational thought. Indeed, we should remember that the relational critiques in social sciences do not stand on their own. Many natural sciences have experienced a ‘relational revolution’ from the latter part of the 20th century onwards. Instead of ‘essences’ and ‘things’ science finds more and more ‘processes’ and ‘relations’. In the context of biological thought this has been there for some time but geography, physics and cosmology have also gone through significant shifts in this regard. In physics too the move to think of reality as constituted by dynamics of relational networks, or particle fields, has taken over the view that particles ‘really’ exist as discrete entities (for accessible introductions see e.g. Carroll, 2012; Rovelli, 2016). What I want to do in the following section then is explore, first, the increasing openings in the social sciences to thinking about the sciences and how social and natural sciences should intersect. I have specifically honed in on an important relational track of thought that has arisen from such openings: what you might call posthuman relationalism. The second part of the following section then probes this important new extension of relational thinking from the point of view of relational cosmology with a view to giving us a sense of how it helps us reason through the importance of extending how we think relations and also (as expounded in the section that follows) how it may help us think how to ‘relate to relations’ in a new way.

From human relations to posthuman relations and cosmological relations Critical realism (Sayer, 2000) and standpoint epistemology (Harding, 1986) have been two important traditions of thought concerned to help social scientists think through where and how the sciences fit within the social scientific frames, and vice versa. They have been joined by others from within the poststructuralist and feminist movements, such as Deleuze and 69

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Guattari (2013 [1980]), DeLanda (2000) and Donna Haraway (1997) for example to try and think through how ‘natural’ sciences produce knowledge and what the relevance of critical theoretical relationalism(s) is for them. These authors have been joined by yet others from within philosophy (Serres, 2007 [1980]) and the so-called Science and Technology Studies (or STS), such as Bruno Latour (2005) and Isabelle Stengers (2010) to develop new takes on both natural science and social science. Followed by a series of ‘new materialists’, many thinkers today emphasize the connections between ‘natural’ and ‘social’ sciences and natural and social ‘things’. As new materialists put it there is a certain fundamental liveliness, or vibrancy, to all matter, even matter once considered ‘inert’ (Connolly, 2013; Frost and Coole, 2010). Some of these perspectives draw on relational thought of Alfred North Whitehead (1978), a rich source of thought on critique of mechanistic imaginations in favour of relational imagination. Another important set of debates emerge from within the ‘speculative realist turn’. Continental philosophers turned ‘realist’ and ‘materialist’ have contested in recent years whether and how we should relate reality, our thought/language and materiality. While all speculative realists have argued against linguistic ‘correlationalism’ (where reality becomes correlated to thought/ language), they contest how we should discuss matter or reality beyond thought. Many speculative realists, despite their internal debates, wish us to return to a recognition of the autonomy of ‘reality’ and its ‘objects’ (see e.g. Harman’s object-oriented philosophy; for an excellent account of these debates see Bryant, Srnicek and Harman, 2011). Fundamental to many of these perspectives is denying the foundational separation not only of the knower and the known, facts and fictions, but also of matter and subject, and the natural and social sciences. Embedded in these distinctions are, problematically for these critics, a kind of human-centrism. Indeed, building on from these perspectives, and critical of various previous humanist forms of relational thinking, so-called posthuman thought and political practice are on the rise (Braidotti, 2013). Posthuman critique emphasizes the inseparability of humans from their living and non-living environment and that ‘we have never been human’ (as Latour would have it) if by human we mean ‘the free agent, the citizen builder of the Leviathan, the distressing visage of the human person, the other of a relationship, consciousness, the cogito, the hermeneut, the inner self, the thee and thou of dialogue, the presence to oneself, intersubjectivity’ (Wolfe quoted in Serres, 2007 [1980]: xi). Posthuman thought includes various strands of work. Interesting examples include the work of figures such as Karen Barad (2007), whose work based on feminism and quantum physics seeks to take on both natural and social scientific knowledge and crucially their thinking on relations. For her, interestingly, relationalism does not entail ‘things’ ‘interrelating’. Crucially, she argues that we must make the conceptual leap to grapple with the notion that we are part of an unfolding universe of ‘intra-actions’. Aspects of the universe in this view relate intra-actively, in relational boundedness, rather than existing as ‘separate’ ‘things’ which then seek ‘relations’. This way of thinking, which draws in part, if sometimes implicitly, on a Whiteheadian image of a relational universe presents an important new avenue for relational thinking for two reasons: 1) it ties physics to the social and defies separation of the fields and 2) it binds ontology and epistemology together, denying the notion that there is a world and knowledge about it. The kind of a ‘posthumanist turn’ suggested by the work of Barad and others is an important development in relational thinking, and indeed in International Relations despite the fact that only a few truly posthumanist writings have so far been published and they have drawn from somewhat different sources. Perhaps the most notable development of posthuman thought, from the point of complexity theory, is Cudworth and Hobden’s Posthuman 70

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International Relations (2011). This work is a rich exploration of the need to challenge humanist frames in how we think about the relations that matter. It is in reference to the emerging posthumanist critique that I wish to point to a way forward by exploring relational cosmology, a branch of physics which seeks to develop a relational understanding of physical phenomena and the cosmos, but simultaneously is interested in exploring the implications of such a view for cultural, social and political thought and life. I want to suggest here, from a perspective arising also out of scientific cosmology, that a posthumanist relationality is both to be encouraged and to be better understood with a wider perspective on the world, a cosmological perspective. Before we get there we need to first explore the meaning and traditions of thought in scientific cosmology.

Turn to cosmology Scientific cosmology is the scientific study of the cosmos: its constitution at macro and micro scales (not least because the micro and macro are intimately connected). Theories of scientific cosmology try to develop ways of understanding, conceptualizing and potentially testing different ways of ‘understanding’ the cosmos and its constitution: the nature of matter, the processes driving galaxy and star formation, the nature of gravity, the limits of the universe and so on. Partly because cosmological questions are very challenging to ‘conclusively settle’, but also because of the complex stakes involved – politically, ethically and scientifically – in these theories, there is no such thing, however, as a ‘singular’ cosmological perspective. Throughout history various cosmological frames, discourses and accounts have been put forward and tested, improved and re-approximated, an excellent account of which is provided by the rich work of Helge Kragh (2013). Today, contestation continues. We have the so-called multiverse theories today contesting the ekpyrotic, or cyclic, models and the singular universe theories.1 We also have some intriguing historical continuity between past theoretical models and today’s thinking, but even so, we also have evidence that some ways of conceptualizing the cosmos – the vector models of the past for example – are not useful or accurate. What is crucial to note then is that despite their multiplicity, cosmological theories are not ‘all equally valid’ as some critics of science of such scale and ambition might be tempted to argue. And unlike religious or mythological cosmologies these models can be ‘made vulnerable’ to the recalcitrance of ‘the universe’2 to our ideas of it. Or phrased in other terms, the universe is a context which limits and conditions our cosmological knowledge of it – it is part of relations we are in – and as such, when exposed to our theories, limits the persuasiveness of some ways of relating to it. This is in part why the science of cosmology and its attempts to ‘test’ our theories matters: it is not about objective methods and God’s eye view, it is about opening up to dialogue with the universe of relations through systematic conceptualizing, theorizing and testing. This way of conceptualizing cosmology is particularly interesting to so-called relational cosmology, which I want to turn my attention to now. Relational cosmology is an orientation which may allow us to understand something new about the relational turn. While it complements and builds on the by now many critiques of classical physics’ conceptual systems, it builds a rather distinct philosophical system of thought in its emphasis on the ‘reality’ and ‘relationality’ of ‘the universe’. Relational cosmology is a strand of scientific cosmology which argues that fundamental to our understanding of physics of the cosmos today must be to grasp its relational and processual flow. Instead of understanding the cosmos as made up of laws of movement in relation to ‘celestial’ objects, it understands the ‘history’3 of the universe as an unfolding of 71

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relational processes. Developed in conjunction with loop quantum gravity and new interpretations of space/time, relational cosmology argues that, based on experimental and empirical science as well as our conceptual shifts based on what we have found prodding the universe, we must work with a relational nature of the cosmos. On this view there really are no such things as ‘laws’, or ‘objects’, or ‘backgrounds’: space, time and every ‘thing’ in ‘them’ is processing relationally and is to be conceptualized as relations (Rovelli, 2016; Smolin, 1997; Unger and Smolin, 2014). The universe is not a place where objects move against backgrounds but where relations unfold relationally and where we are situated in those relations trying to grapple with our limited brains with the relational connections we can see, fathom, conceptualize, re-approximate. This view of physics, much like many quantum physics philosophies, is a challenge to physics itself, especially classical physics, but also many non-classical visions of physics. Thus, while critical of classical physical concepts, it is also highly critical of string theory and mathematical interpretations arising out of related quantum theories (Smolin, 2006). These models are criticized for being dis-interested in the reality of the universe, for being overly mathematical in readings of the unfolding of relations, and in advocating, in principle, untestable idealizations of speculative multiverses. For relational cosmology, the universe is real, singular and, within it, time is real (Smolin, 2006; Unger and Smolin, 2014). This vision, built on an emphasis on the ‘reality’ of ‘the relational universe’, is interestingly also tied to a wider philosophical and political vision. In their recent book Singular Universe Roberto Mangabeira Unger and Lee Smolin (2014) develop this cosmological interpretation into a ‘natural philosophy’ with implications also for how we interpret social and political life and principles. They suggest that the relational revolution implied by this new cosmology will have profound consequences also for our social and political imaginations. Yet, besides Unger’s and Smolin’s book, and fragmentary reflections by Smolin on the subject (see especially 1997), the full implications of relational cosmology have not been developed extensively in relation to the ‘social’ world on a global scale. This has been my aim with a recent book project called International Relations in a Relational Universe. What is interesting to me, ultimately, about relational cosmology is that it allows us to do three things: to position social sciences and posthuman relationalities in a wider frame; to understand why a relational revolution is on the way; and to start developing ways of ‘relating to relations’. First, relational cosmology is interesting for me because it allows us to position in a wider context the moves towards posthuman relationalities. Ultimately posthuman relationalism ‘makes sense’ from a relational cosmology perspective because relational cosmology sees the entire universe as relationally processing. In this view, there is something indeed curious about the lifting of ‘man’ above the earth. Man is part of the processing of relations in the universe. Relational cosmology also helps in this regard for taking on the theological origins of the difficulty of thinking on these lines, in physics and beyond. Indeed, relational cosmology argues that we must take on the conceptual premises of current physics thinking, which are still, despite quantum revolutions, built on conceptual foundations that allow us to trace mathematical patterns, and laws, and which still reference ‘things’ and believe in objective knowledge. Such assumptions were built onto science through the legacy of JudeoChristian theological thinking, but, argue relational cosmologists, alongside many different types of scientists, we must now surpass this image and conceptual universe with one based on an acceptance of all knowledge as situated relational knowledge. As such, relational cosmology allows us to push ourselves to also overcome the ‘humanist’ bias with its equally theological origins. It is crucial to note that the tendency to emphasize 72

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the special qualities of humans, and their special role in the cosmos and on this planet, has distinctly Judeo-Christian origins. It is this theological legacy for humanism which, in part, relational cosmology allows us to dislodge (alongside many other currents of thought). It does so particularly effectively by emphasizing that we of course only know of the world around us from our situated perspectives but also that our situated perspectives are conditioned by our natural and social legacies which constrain and limit our perspectives. For relational cosmologists, we always approximate to trying to understand the world but are not in essence special, above or knowledgeable on the cosmos. We are defined by our processing in specific sets of natural, biological, geological and social relations but must always try to also ‘stretch’ our horizons of thought beyond (see Kurki, 2015). One important way of doing so is to realize our deep embeddedness in natural and social processes – including beliefs in ‘humanism’ – which define and limit ‘us’. Relational cosmology is also interesting because it allows us to consider what relationalisms’ expansion means. It may be, as Lee Smolin (1997) argues, part of a wider relational revolution humans and their environment are undergoing in how they ‘know’ and relate to the universe they are in. As our knowledge about the universe increases and changes, we are pushed, he argues, in various fields – from aesthetics to science, from music to geology, from social sciences to philosophy – towards relational ways of thinking. The challenge in this is that we do not quite know what this relationalism means and how we should compare or deal with the different forms of relational thinking. They also sit ill-atease with our occasional attraction to objective and firm God’s eye views, knowledges and ethics. Yet, the relational revolution is important because it is pushing us to deal with – in terms of knowledge but also more widely experientially, emotionally – with relational ways of thinking and being. And as such, even as we still are negotiating through various relational thinking and becoming confused about which traditions or ways we should think relations, at least we are now dealing with relational conversations in a relational universe, which is part of this conversation, not ‘outside it’ or an ‘inert background’ to it. But how do we deal with relations in a relational universe?

Relations without an end: towards re-relating If we live in relations and with multiple forms of relational thinking and practice, how do we negotiate these relational thoughts and experiences? Building on the relational cosmology frame, but drawing insights from philosophical and political literatures beyond, I want to make some suggestions as to how we might orient ourselves to dealing with relations and what this might mean. Critical theorists have argued in multiple ways that situating and reflexivity are important for dealing with our situatedness in relations we are in. I agree this is important. If we only ever know and experience from relations we are in, reflecting on where we are is important for how we know and inter-relate. Yet relational cosmology also suggests something more. It suggests two further moves. First, it suggests that to deal with our situatedness we also need to stretch away from our situatedness. We cannot then glorify our situatedness but also need to seek to push away, push further from it (see Kurki, 2015). That is because we are indeed so limited by our situatedness there is little to celebrate in it. We must not then respond, as many social scientists have, to the evaporation of the God’s eye view with a firming up and glorification of the ‘ground-up’ view. We must ‘stretch’ our situated knowledge, and can do so in various ways: from queering our concepts to approximate the world in new ways, and from using scientific 73

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methods to ‘push’ at our concepts and data, to exploring new ways of ‘experiencing’ the world and relations in it (developed in more detail in Kurki, 2015). It is our delimited situatedness, which in part justifies the need for an open pluralist approach to ‘knowing’ and ‘being’ in the world. Further, second, I want to develop here another way in which we could think about ‘relating’ when relationalities abound. How we think and ‘are’ in relations is ethically and politically important for how we ‘relate’. Indeed, thinking about relations is ethically and politically important not just for knowing but also being in the world. Relational cosmology has pushed me to think about relationalities as something we need to ‘re-relate’ to. The challenge of knowing and being is not, it would seem to me, one of fixing relations but about exploring and re-relating to relations we are in. Thus, relating to social relations of capitalism is one important relationality I’ve tried to know and also ‘relate’ to in personal life; but I’ve also tried, in part through relational cosmology, to push myself to ‘re-relate’ to the earth, to animals, to plant-life, partly because of ‘stretching’ situated knowledge but also by ontologically, and politically and ethically, re-relating to relationalities with these adjacent relationalities. What is particularly intriguing for me about this way of thinking is that it helps us to be less worried about ‘fixing’ relations we are in – as the Marxists and many other critical theorists of relationality have done – but makes relationality the processual, challenging, always(-for-us-) ‘pushing’ context in which we ‘swim’. Instead of simply identifying the ‘relations that matter’ (class relations, ideological positions, discursive hegemonies) we must also unfix relations and seek new relational experiences and knowledges. Importantly, this also challenges the idea that relationalities that matter in IR are simply ‘human’ or that human sciences or theories allow us to think through relations. Indeed, in the relational cosmology view of science, science too is not a way of ‘knowing’: it is in fact about a kind of vulnerable being of limited situated beings in relational processes. Science here is not ‘beyond’ the social, or the experiential, in the world of ‘knowledge’: it is about pushing of oneself in thought and in relations to relations. It is about the exploration of ethical being with humans and non-humans, but by not ‘protecting’ the human from the relations of the cosmos (as many social scientists do by saying the human, the social is special) but by exposing ‘the human’ to the vulnerabilities of knowing and being in a relational cosmos. Here then we have a challenge for critical theorists, in IR and beyond. Yes, we should engage in critiques of the atomist image of relations as ‘inter-actions’, and explore new ways of relating as well as thinking (for example, on the lines of Barad’s intra-actions). But we should also remain open to relating to the world in other ways, new ways. A critical theoretical impetus is one of innovatively, and bravely, working with the delimitations we have to know and to feel and to be, by exploring new concepts, feelings, notions – new ways of exploring the recalcitrance of the universe to our knowledge about it. Such a view supports an open multi-method multi-perspectival science of society – and of nature. It also supports an approach to IR which sees this ‘discipline’ as part of a wider whole of sciences – not as methods of accounting, but methods of vulnerably being in the cosmos. The challenge of being in a dynamic relational world is ultimately that we lack firm knowledge of relations we are in and of, and more fundamentally that we lack of any firm, constant, view of relations or even relationality. This challenge may seem daunting but ultimately is itself in part produced as a challenge by discursive and social relationalities which require or aspire to ‘order’, ‘authority’ and ‘objectivity’. Instead of ‘fixing’ relations we can also try and ‘flow’ in relations and in so doing re-relate to the relations around us. 74

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Conclusion This chapter has sought to explore the ways in which we might think through the relational turn in social and political sciences and critical theory. I have highlighted the rise but also the contested and open nature of relational thinking in social – and natural – sciences. What the relational revolution adds up is still up for grabs, always up for grabs, as we re-relate to the relations we are in and to relational language, concepts, notions, experiences. Relationality is a confusing and far from easy conceptualization to ‘grapple with’, and it may not be the best way so to do either. Even so, it does some important things to our political and social imaginations. First, it relates us to our surroundings, challenging tendencies to treat us as special. Second, it highlights the relationality of knowledge, challenging God’s eye points of view. Third, it challenges ethical universalisms and laws by emphasizing the need to relate but also to push ourselves, to re-relate. This is a challenge critical social sciences have taken on, with all the discomfort that arises therein. Yet, the social and natural revolution relational thinking pushes on us is welcome, and is in itself a form of, a process of re-relating. The challenge for us is to live with that condition where our wishes for objectivity, security and certainty are gone. This lacks comfort for us. Yet, there is also what Smolin describes as a ‘lightness’ to knowledge and to being without the unrealistic expectations of God or the human stamping certainty and order on the world. Ultimately, it is appreciation of this ‘lightness’ (Smolin, 1997: 372) then which relational cosmology can highlight for us for: life is light … both because what we are is matter energized by the passage of photons through the biosphere and because what is essential in life is without weight, but only pattern, structure, information. And because the logic of life is continual change, continual motion, continual evolution.

Notes 1 Multiverse models (which come in many different flavours) argue that there are multiple universes co-existing; the ekpyrotic models emphasize the cyclical nature of universe (and thus big bang as a ‘bounce’ in eternal expansion and contraction of the universe). Singular universe theories, much like ekpyrotic models, emphasize the singular, processual nature of the universe and oppose the invention of ‘multiverses’ in order to address mathematical puzzles. 2 I use the notion universe here, in part because the relational cosmology I develop argues for a ‘singular’ universe interpretation. I recognize however that to speak of ‘the universe’ in and of itself is a conceptually loaded notion, with theoretical significance and consequences. 3 History of course in this context is far from classical linear history because time itself is not a ‘background’ to the universe but part of its unfolding relations.

References Barad, Karen (2007) Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham: Duke University Press. Bhaskar, Roy (1998 [1979]) Possibility of Naturalism: A Philosophical Critique of the Contemporary Human Sciences. Abingdon: Routledge. Bhaskar, Roy (2008 [1975]) A Realist Theory of Science. Abingdon: Routledge. Braidotti, Rosi (2013) The Posthuman. Oxford: Polity Press. Bryant, Levi, Nick Srnicek, and Graham Harman (2011) The Speculative Turn: Continental Materialism and Realism. Melbourne: re.press. Carroll, Sean (2012) Particle at the End of the Universe. New York: Dutton Press.

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Milja Kurki Connolly, William (2013) The Fragility of Things: Self-Organizing Processes, Neoliberal Fantasies, and Democratic Activism. Durham: Duke University Press. Coward, Martin (2018) ‘Against Network Thinking: A Critique of Pathological Sovereignty’. European Journal of International Relations 24, 440–463. Cudworth, Erika and Stephen Hobden (2011) Posthuman International Relations: Complexity, Ecologism and Global Politics. London: Zed Books. DeLanda, Manuel (2000) A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History. Brooklyn: Zone Books. Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari (2013 [1980]) A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. London: Bloomsbury Press. Frost, Samatha and Diana Coole (eds.) (2010) New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics. Durham: Duke University Press. Haraway, Donna (1997) Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium.FemaleMan_Meets_OncoMouse: Feminism and Technoscience. New York: Routledge. Harding, Sandra (1986) The Science Question in Feminism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Kragh, Helge (2013) Conceptions of Cosmos: From Myths to the Accelerating Universe: A History of Cosmology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kurki, Milja (2008) Causation in International Relations: Reclaiming Causal Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kurki, Milja (2015) ‘Stretching Situated Knowledge: From Standpoint Epistemology to Cosmology and Back Again’, Millennium 43 (3), 779–797. Latour, Bruno (2005) Reassembling the Social – An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Rovelli, Carlo (2016) Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity. New York: Riverhead Books. Sayer, Andrew (2000) Realism and Social Science. London: Sage. Serres, Michel (2007 [1980]) The Parasite. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Smolin, Lee (1997) Life of the Cosmos. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Smolin, Lee (2006) The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next. New York: Houghton Mifflin. Stengers, Isabella (2010) Cosmopolitics I. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Unger, Roberto Mangabeira and Lee Smolin (2014) The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time: A Proposal in Natural Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Whitehead, Alfred North (1978) Process and Reality: An Essay in Cosmology. New York: The Free Press. Wight, Colin and Joseph, Jonathan (2010) Scientific Realism and International Relations. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

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6 CONFRONTING HORROR International relations beyond humanity François Debrix

The horror(s) of Aleppo Recently, on its website, CNN featured a series of photographs taken by activists and aid workers in the aftermath of Syrian government and Russian airstrikes on the city of Aleppo in Syria (Munayyer and O’Sullivan, 2016). In particular, the photos detail the fate of Aleppo resident Brahim Sawas and his family after their house was destroyed by the attacks. Among the images, several stand out as particularly graphic and gruesome. They show various parts of Sawas’s son’s body, protruding from the rubble, barely recognizable as the boy’s own body parts, almost unidentifiable as human, and indistinguishable from the dust, debris, and fragments of the building that has collapsed on top of the boy. What remains visible of the boy’s body is covered with the same sandy and muddy matter that has swallowed up the bits and pieces of objects that can still be seen in the rest of the image. The boy’s body parts look petrified, fused and confused with the dirt and the rocks all around them, looking like jagged bits of a shattered statue that was once carved out of stone. One online viewer feels compelled to write that “this isn’t Pompeii, this is Aleppo” (Munayyer and O’Sullivan, 2016). This image of Sawas’s son’s dismantled body and petrified body parts, and others like this one in the CNN series, is meant to encapsulate the horror that has fallen onto the city of Aleppo for months, if not for years, almost since the early days of the armed rebellion against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Identified by the Assad regime as the heart of the anti-government opposition, Aleppo and its inhabitants have been bombed, repeatedly attacked by various groups (government forces, ISIS, anti-Syrian government sympathizers, the Russian airforce), and often besieged. Since summer 2016, humanitarian supplies—food, fresh water, and medicine, above all—have often not been able to reach Aleppo, and international organizations have seemingly been unable or unwilling to break the Syrian government-imposed siege (Tahhan, 2016). Reports of what is going on inside Aleppo are often smuggled out by aid workers and medical personnel who have managed to send some information (and, at times, some graphic images too) to the outside world. When international—often Western—media pundits, policy experts, and politicians speak of the “horror” or “horrors” of Aleppo (Cumming-Bruce and Barnard, 2016; Sanchez, 2016) they often have in mind pictures such as the one described above, iconic images (they tell us) of Aleppo residents’ daily sufferings and of the inhumanity that is apparently on display there 77

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(and, perhaps, by extension, in other parts of Syria as well). The motivations behind the insistence on the “horror(s)” of Aleppo are diverse and complex. Some invoke it to try to force a sustained and, perhaps, on-the-ground military intervention against the Assad regime in Syria. Others wish to point to the lack of an effective humanitarian response to the conflict, irrespective of the geopolitical stakes. Yet another group of pundits, experts, and politicians hope to use the horrific images and stories out of Aleppo to condemn the role of Putin’s Russia in the Syrian conflict. Still, no matter the motivations, the mobilization of a discourse and representation of horror is meant to signify that there may not be any higher form of violence against humans on display across the world these days. This horror in this place, Aleppo, is a most extreme modality of dehumanization, and words—as well as images, perhaps—may not be enough to explain what is happening to human lives and bodies there. There, in Aleppo and, perhaps, in other parts of Syria, is where the contemporary assaults on human dignity, human life, human integrity, and human bodies are at their highest and possibly at their most incomprehensible. I suggest in this chapter that, more than dehumanization or indeed inhumanity, what images such as those described above may help us do is think about the non-human/non-humanity in international relations today. The image of horror (and the horror in the image), I want to argue, despite its obvious gruesomeness, can force international relations and international relations thinkers out of their comfort zone. Among other things, horror and its image may be able to enable a comprehensive rethinking of international relations beyond humanity or, more precisely, beyond human-centered perspectives and assumptions that have long been at the heart of international relations theorizing and have helped to shape the contours of the field of International Relations (IR, the discipline) as a way of thinking the acceptable in world politics versus the non-acceptable, or the properly representable versus the unrepresentable. Horror’s push towards non-humanity, then, demands that we rethink politics (and its purpose) in international relations and by IR and, in particular, that we reconsider the role and place of the unacceptable, the intolerable, or the unrepresentable image in international relations/IR.

The horror of the unacceptable or intolerable image The evocation of horror(s) in Aleppo by way of photographs invites us to ask what the function of the image of horror is in contemporary representations of politics and international relations. What is this horror that the image is said to show? What are we to make of such a horror, and how are we meant to apprehend it? And what is the linkage between horror and what cannot or must not be accepted in politics and international relations? In several essays, philosopher Jacques Rancière starts to address these questions by asking: “what makes an image intolerable?” (Rancière, 2011: 83). For Rancière, the intolerable in the image, while not exactly the same thing as horror (as I have explained elsewhere, horror does not care whether it is tolerable or not for humans/humanity; see Debrix, 2017), shares a resemblance with what horror manifests itself or appears as when it is conveyed by an image. Horror also resembles Rancière’s intolerable in the way horror’s visual irruption into humanity’s field of vision is dealt with. Indeed, often, what makes an image intolerable, according to Rancière, is a shift from the “reality” or “real scene” depicted by the image (unbearable as it may be to look at) to the image itself. What becomes intolerable or unacceptable is not so much what the image shows but, rather, that the image shows. As Rancière puts it, the “shift is from the intolerable in the image to the intolerable of the image” (2011: 84). Responsibility for the intolerable is displaced from the content of the visual display or representation to the form, appearance, or realism/reality of the image. A similar diagnosis could be offered about 78

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the horror of the image. As we will see below, what is especially troubling—perhaps intolerable—about horror is not so much the gruesome inhumanity/dehumanization at work in the image but rather, through it, the possibility of the non-human as a factual (political) reality/materialization (a “kind of abrupt dive into [the horror of] literal Death” is the way Roland Barthes once put it; see Barthes, 1999: 92). This transposition from the unacceptable/intolerable in the image to the unacceptable/ intolerable of the image implies that what is presented and understood as such moves from a supposedly real, dramatic, or traumatic condition “over there” (in Syria, for example, as in the above described situation) to a reality of the image “in here” (the location/place where this image is seen/consumed), and thus potentially to everywhere as well. To put it in Rancière’s terms, “a single flood of images, a single regime of universal exhibition” is facing us, a visual and exhibitory regime that “would constitute the intolerable today” (2011: 84). Following Rancière’s account of the intolerable of/in the image, and translating his critical insight into the context of horror and its glimpse into the non-human, the distance between the “reality” of horror in the image and the “real” horror of the image is abolished. Horror and the non-human, in other words, are there for everyone to see or apprehend. Horror’s display erases any distance that regimes of representation may seek to secure. With horror, there is no longer a here and a there, an “us” and a “them,” unfortunate innocent victims “over there” and safe or secure viewers/consumers of the image “in here” (allegedly buffered by the representational/visual distance of the image). All there is with horror is the reality of pulverized human bodies, unrecognizable human body parts, and indistinguishable/ undecidable forms and matter (neither human nor non-human) that could be anywhere or could take place at any time. The sight/scene of horror is an assault on humanity, on human lives and bodies, on the fact of the human (Cavarero, 2009: 43). Although Rancière does not specifically refer to horror, horror and its image allow Rancière to think about the intolerable or unacceptable in an image in terms of a “single regime of universal exhibition” (2011: 84) or perhaps universal “extermination” (as he puts it in another essay) whereby the human is “a minuscule figure in the middle of the enormous clearing” (Rancière, 2009: 128). This does not mean for Rancière that it is unimportant to keep in mind which human bodies are being dismantled in the image of horror. The “reality” that the image described at the onset of this essay shows is about Aleppo, about Syria today, about Syrian bodies and lives, and about Brahim Sawas’ son (and what is left of him after the odious air assaults by Syrian and Russian war planes). But the “reality” that the horrific image shows is also more than Aleppo and more than its destroyed human bodies/lives. It is about what horror reveals: a timeless and placeless capacity on the part of humans to obliterate other humans; a perverse urge of humanity to undo itself perhaps, starting with frontal offenses against human dignity, human life, or human integrity/bodily integrality (Cavarero, 2009: 9). The image of horror—horror itself, perhaps—is always in excess of historical and geographical contexts. While it emerges from a specific situation, it operates by way of contagion or proliferation. As Adriana Cavarero puts it about the mythological figure of the Gorgon, perhaps the paradigmatic vision of horror, it targets human forms beyond particular experiences or instances of extreme violence. The Gorgon/horror “alludes to a human essence that, deformed in its very being, contemplates the unprecedented act of its own dehumanization” (Cavarero, 2009: 16). With horror’s “essential” dehumanization, it is not just a given human figure, body, or form that is targeted. It is also the privilege/priority of the human that is confronted by horror. The horror that emerges through/as an image (from Aleppo, from suicide bombing attacks in Jerusalem or Baghdad, from ISIS beheadings, from terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels, Istanbul, Boston, London, and so on) reveals that there is no basis for the belief in the 79

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superiority or priority given to human life, human forms, and human matter (Thacker, 2011: 48; Debrix, 2017). Or, perhaps, it discloses that claims about privileging the human are always ideological. It also shows, often vividly, that the presumption about the superiority or privilege of the human/humanity is constantly threatened and under attack by humans themselves. Thus, horror matters as a principle of disorganization of humanity and as a sight/scene that exposes the non-human as the undoing of humanity. Horror and its image, philosopher Eugene Thacker suggests, are about “the limits of the human” and about “the thought of the unthinkable” (unthinkable to the extent that, at least from the perspective of what Thacker calls the “world-with-and-for-us,” the possibility of losing humanity remains unthinkable) (2011: 8–9).

International relations facing horror For horror and its image, the aim is not really to represent death. The intolerable or unacceptable shown by the horrific image is not just human death as a result of extreme force, violence, terror, or cruelty. In fact, many images of horror do not capture the violent act against human bodies; rather, they provide us with a freeze-frame of its aftermath, once human bodies and lives have been petrified, paralyzed, and, in some cases, rendered unidentifiable and almost visibly nonhuman (indistinguishable from all other sources of matter, organic or inorganic, alive or inert). In this way, the image of horror may need to be differentiated from live or replayed videos of death and violence that have become all too familiar in our digital media age and whose terrorizing effects, while shocking, have become commonplace too (see, on this topic, Cole, 2015). As I have argued elsewhere (Debrix and Barder, 2012), horror operates beyond biopolitics (the politics of life itself, of life’s management and enhancement) and also beyond thanatopolitics (the politics of death and death-making, the making of “death-worlds,” as Achille Mbembe (2003) puts it). The sight/scene of horror (unlike many online videos of human deaths, for example) is in excess of human life and human death and, instead, it insists on the pulverization and recomposition of human matter into a materiality, a “reality,” a thingness, or indeed a liveliness that is no longer just of, about, or for the human. In his book War after Death, Steven Miller (2014) examines the effects of war violence on some human bodies (soldiers’ bodies, to start with) beyond the actual death of those bodies. By focusing on what war and war violence do to bodies after wars have taken place, after violence has been perpetrated, and after bodies have been killed and lives have been exterminated, Miller (interestingly, not an IR scholar/theorist) opens up a way of thinking about horror and its targeting of the human beyond life and death in contemporary politics. In Miller’s account, international relations violence often seeks to reach beyond the death of bodies, even when the outcome of this violence is to proliferate “death-worlds.” In Miller’s language, the violence of international relations is “extralethal.” Miller writes that, often, in its extreme forms, this “extralethal dimension [of international relations violence] … becomes the object of political discourse” (2014: 3). Violence is extralethal when it “disregards the distinction between the living and the dead, persons and things, combatants and noncombatants” (2014: 5). Thus, for Miller, “the problem with war [and other instances of potentially horrific international relations] … is not killing as such” (2014: 5). While Miller prefers to speak in terms of “extralethal” violence rather than in terms of horror, he finds himself compelled to mobilize the notion of horror when he addresses suicide bombing. At this point, Miller turns to Jacqueline Rose’s reading of suicide bombing as a “special horror” (Miller, 2014: 108). What seems to compel Rose to think about suicide bombing in terms of horror is, as Rose puts it, “the fact that the attacker also dies” (Rose, 80

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2004: 21). Why the death of the attacker seems to call for horror, according to Rose, is because, in a suicide bombing attack, the attacker and the victim are conjoined in death. Their bodies become oddly intimate at the precise moment when they are destroyed. Indeed, together, inseparable, they form what Rose calls a “deadly embrace,” and attacker and victim are now allegedly identifiable as one body. Interesting as Rose’s reading of suicide bombing may be, it does not exactly capture what is horrific about this supposedly deadly embrace. Here, Rose’s and, by extension, Miller’s thinking about suicide bombing still relies on an image/representation of human bodies as singular, or as figural unities. They become decomposed figural unities, to be sure. But the deadly embrace resulting from the suicide bombing attack seemingly enables the bodies to retain a trace of identification/identity even if it is now revealed to be one single monstrous or vile body, with characteristics and forms and matter and parts from both the attacker and the victim forced together. This is, of course, one abhorrent body. But it is still identifiable, at least according to Rose, as one human body. Perhaps it must remain one human body, despite its barely thinkable monstrosity. As I have had the opportunity to theorize (Debrix, 2017), this sort of reading of suicide bombing—insistent on a decomposition of human forms and identities—may not go far enough in its analysis of what horror (here, the horror of suicide bombing and its visible aftermath) is and does. What is horrific about the sight/scene of a suicide bombing attack is that this sight/scene makes identification—of the one, victim or attacker, or of both, together, embraced—impossible or pointless. As suggested above, Rose still hopes to find human identification, human identities, and decomposed and conjoined yet somehow recognizable bodies or body features in the aftermath of suicide bombing attacks, even if this modality of identification/recognition of bodies assumes death (an unbearable, violating death at that). But the horror of suicide bombing, beyond death and its odious embrace, lies in its purposeful offense on human identity, its assault on bodies and lives as markers of human identification, recognition, or individual existence. This assault is undoubtedly about an “essential” decomposition of humanity (and human forms) by other human bodies. But it is also about a recomposition of sorts, one that leaves human matter unrecognizable, undecidable, and indifferent from any other matter (an undecidable petrification that, once again, was visible in the Aleppo picture of Brahim Sawas’ son’s no longer identifiable or no longer distinguishable body parts). This decomposition/recomposition of the human (if it can still be called human) may also recall a long history of monstrosity with regards to certain “human” bodies and forms whereby the “human” monster that does not or cannot conform to acceptable norms of human appearance, figurality, identity, or being becomes deprived of key human attributes and of his/her/its humanity. In this way the “human” monster is perhaps always already decomposed and recomposed as less than human and perhaps as nonhuman (Shildrick, 2002: 2–3; see also Edkins, 2015: 165). Consider the following account of a suicide bombing attack that took place in Afghanistan in 2008 against NATO troops: That morning we set off from Jalalabad in a convoy of about eight vehicles … About 40 minutes later we came to a small town, Khogyani … We stopped. The driver and the commanding officer got out, and everyone started jumping off the back of the flatbed, all the police meeting each other … Paul and I waited in the truck. We had the windows down and were smoking, talking, when I heard a huge bang. Then I saw black. I still don’t know if it was smoke or if I actually blacked out … Then I looked toward the vehicles, 20 yards from where the bomb had gone off, and I saw six or seven bodies … All around people were shredded like minced meat, mangled bodies 81

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missing heads, legs and arms. I didn’t see many wounded. I remember one guy alive sitting among all these bodies. I think it made an impression just because he was alive in this mess … Eventually, the Americans … gave us a medevac flight to Bagram Air Base, outside Kabul. Paul is here, too. He’s got five holes in the back of his head, two the size of golf balls. There’s a bone fragment stuck inside one. They don’t know if it’s his or somebody else’s. (Dupont, 2008) In the above description of the immediate aftermath of a suicide bombing attack in Afghanistan, Rose’s deadly embrace has turned into a heap of “mangled bodies missing heads, legs and arms.” Bodies have been “shredded like minced meat.” Identification has become an arduous and perhaps impossible task. Bodies are beyond recognition. Differentiation between attacker and victim, other and self, and enemy and friendly bodies has been rendered meaningless. There may well be some sort of strange intimacy here. But it is an intimacy that involves bits and pieces of bodies, body parts, or perhaps shreds of flesh or meat that are now mangled and mingled with non-organic matter (for example, a skull has been cracked and a head has been penetrated by a bone fragment that may not even be human). The horrific fusion and confusion of matter, whether human or non-human, takes precedence over any form of identification. In his treatise on suicide bombing, Talal Asad (2007) connects instances, images, and representations of suicide bombing attacks and, in particular, their immediate aftermath to horror. Asad writes that the horror of suicide bombing reveals (borrowing the phrase from Stanley Cavell) “our origins as human beings … [as] unaccountable” (2007: 68; see also Cavell, 1999: 418–419). This “unaccountability” of the origins of the human but also nonhuman matter that is visible after the attack can be opposed to Rose’s search for human identity/ identification. Confronted with the horror of the “sudden shattering and mingling of physical objects and human bodies” (Asad, 2007: 69), one has no choice but to witness what Asad calls the “confounding of the body’s shapes” (2007: 70). Often, as a result of the image of horror, this “confounding of the body’s shapes” exhibits one’s (and perhaps humankind’s) incapacity to reconstitute human bodies and/or human identities out of the “reality” or materiality of the represented scene/sight. Operating once again by way of contagion or proliferation, horror leaves one highly uncertain about the possibility that one might ever be able to reclaim this confounding of shapes in the name of traces or fragments of human life, or for the sake of opportunities for human bodies to live on or to survive in the face of horror’s dismantling of human forms. Images of horror, accounts of suicide bombings and their aftermaths, a violence of war and politics in general that targets bodies beyond death and irrespective of whether human bodies are still alive or dead: this is international relations’ horrific stage. Horror confronts international relations with the non-human. Horror exposes a violence that resides not so much in the depicted or captured (on screen, by the image) scene of destruction, but in its aftermath. This is an aftermath not only of dehumanization but also of decomposition of the human/humanity and, furthermore, of its recomposition as something, some reality, or some materiality (monstrous as it may be) for which the human is merely one element among many others. What horror and its image reveal, then, is not just dehumanization (even if the dehumanizing eradication of humanity by humanity itself is very much on display), but something that, perhaps, we should call non-humanization. As a stage upon which horror is exposed, international relations may be a fertile ground for thinking non-humanization, for thinking the unthinkable. 82

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International relations and non-humanization Today, it often looks like the violence of international relations is about (to use Thacker’s turn of phrase) “the subtraction of the human from the world” (2011: 5). This realization of a “world-without-us” that horror exhibits may not be new. Yet, the degree of inventiveness on the part of humanity to ensure its own undoing may at times appear to be extreme or without recourse. Purposeful strategies and techniques of pulverization of human forms, of human bodily integrity and integrality, are everywhere and no longer can be said to be the prerogative of socalled barbarian others. The horrific sight of the dismantling of the human is on all political sides (supposing we can still call them political). What Cavarero calls the “destruction of the living being as singular body” (2009: 12) is as much about the allegedly enlightened West as it is about the supposedly backward or uncivilized non-West (often represented today through multiple agents/figures of terror and terrorism). Thus, the assault on the human can come as much from predator drone attacks conducted by Western militaries as it can from beheadings or other modes of human dismemberment perpetrated by ISIS sympathizers. Nobody, no human group, has a prerogative on human destruction. And the image of horror does not pick sides either. If anything, horror levels the playing field of humanity’s undoing. Beyond ideologies, strategies, and technologies of violence, horror may thus also matter as a great equalizer. In horror’s wake, on all sides, not much of the human is left. Here, once again, dehumanization is no longer what is at stake, for dehumanization still takes place or searches for meaning in relation to some standard about what it means to be or to remain human. What is at stake or, better yet, what is within sight with horror is what Thacker, once again, refers to as the “world-without-us,” that is to say, not dehumanization but non-humanization. International relations is not very comfortable with thinking about non-humanization. Certainly, international relations—including its more critical theoretical elements—is more “at home” in and with “our” human world, with the “world-in-and-for-us,” even if international relations has been very adept at describing this human world as a tragedy (see, for example, Mearsheimer, 2001; Lebow, 2003; Erskine and Lebow, 2012), one replete with endless instances, processes, and structures of violence, terror, and destruction. International relations is supposedly not made for the “world-without-us.” In fact, can international relations even allow itself to think the unthinkable? And yet one might say that international relations’ confrontation with horror, with the unthinkable, is not new. For example, international relations knows about the holocaust. It has had to deal with it, with its horrific historical reality, for decades now. Although, in the interest of full disclosure, it must be noted that international relations/IR (and its variants of diplomatic history, foreign policy, international law and ethics, for example) has tried very hard not to have to deal with the holocaust (one such strategy has been to assume—among American IR thinkers above all—that the study of world politics really only starts after WWII). Put differently, international relations has never really tried to theorize the camps, and the extermination of the human in the camps. In this way, perhaps, international relations has sought to exorcize for itself, and for late-modern geopolitics, the specter of the non-human. But international relations may do well to pay attention to what, for example, Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben (1999, 2000) has told us about the camps, about the holocaust, about figures of history and indeed of international relations that may evoke horror, and about the non-human. Having read closely the works of holocaust survivors and witnesses like Primo Levi (1989, 1995), and having thought about the images that these narratives leave us with, Agamben offers powerful insights about both the holocaust and non-humanization (both in and beyond the camps). In particular, Agamben deploys the figure of the Muselmann, 83

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the concentration camp-dweller that is situated on “the extreme threshold between life and death,” but, more crucially, between “man and non-man” (1999: 47). The Muselmann is a camp-dweller that is both beyond human life and yet has not been afforded the opportunity to die. The Muselmann, according to Agamben, is a confrontation not with dehumanization, but rather with non-humanity. Here we are in the presence of another horrific sight, faced with an “indefinite being” (Agamben’s turn of phrase) who/that is no longer part of the “world-for-or-with-us.” In the presence of the Muselmann, if we care to look at him/her/it, we witness the transformation of dehumanization into non-humanization, of a “world-for-or -with-us” into a “world-without-us.” Or, as Agamben chooses to put it, we are presented with an “experiment” (about humanity) that often “remains unthought,” an “experiment … in which the Jew is transformed into a Muselmann and the human being into a non-human” (1999: 52). Agamben intimates that it is easier to claim dehumanization than it is to see, capture, or think about non-humanization, about a condition in which humanity (and human life and/or death, as was suggested above) is no longer what is primarily at stake. Not looking at the Muselmann is a human imperative in the camps. Agamben quotes Italian holocaust survivor Aldo Carpi who writes in his Auschwitz diaries that “no one wants camp scenes and figures … [and] no one wants to see the Muselmann” (Carpi, quoted in Agamben, 1999: 50). But refusing to look at or confront the non-human is a (human) imperative beyond the camp too. Yet this human imperative to look away is short-sighted. Of course, the refusal to confront the non-human is purposefully selective. Dehumanization, in the name of the human/ humanity, is purposefully selective too. What the gaze away from the Muselmann hopes to leave out of the picture (but also out of a world that we claim is of, for, and with us, humans) is the realization that non-humanization is also about the world and, perhaps, of the world, even if it confronts us with a “world-without-us.” The “world-without-us,” as the non-human, the unthinkable, or horror reveals, is a worldly, material, concrete, and often physical reality. It is a reality or realization that, once again, may not make sense from a human-centric perspective. Or, at least, we, humans must make sure that it does not make sense. In fact, it may only “make sense” once human-centrism is removed, often in an absolute and uncompromising manner. Thus, non-humanization (and its image of horror) also suggests that it is perhaps not up to us, humans, to decide about what needs to make sense and, indeed, about what matters, all the more so since we, humans, are often intimately involved in the violent and destructive assaults that can reveal the presence of the non-human. What might it take for international relations to see the non-human, to capture horror, or to think the unthinkable, then? Might it be about paying close attention to and, in fact, staying with the horror of the image? Might it be about such an image/reality being allowed to take a place in our visual field of representation or intelligibility even if or, precisely because, it does not seem to make any (human) sense? Might it be that, in the context of dehumanization (always waiting for humanization to be reaffirmed), we—whatever this “we” may be—need to insist on non-humanization, on its irruptive and horrific emergence, often in the form of human decomposition and recomposition (as was said in the context of suicide bombing attacks above)? Might it be that international relations needs to look at, face, or confront horror, no matter the consequences, no matter the fears about non-humanization, no matter the dangers for the human of/in international relations? In other words, might international relations be ready for Agamben’s challenge, that is to say, be ready to stare at the Muselmann? For Agamben, the danger of failing to face the challenge would be greater than the challenge itself. Indeed, according to Agamben, the danger would be to “not understand what Auschwitz is if we do not first understand who or what the Muselmann is—if we do not 84

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learn to gaze with him upon the Gorgon” (1999: 52). Can international relations allow itself to gaze upon horror?

Facing Aleppo? In the summer of 2014, a Syrian military defector who was able to make his way to the United States (and is only known under the codename Caesar) disclosed thousands of photographs that he took about the Syrian conflict between 2011 and 2013. Assigned to a military forensic photography unit of the Syrian military, Caesar’s job was to take as many pictures as he could of the dead bodies and faces of killed opponents to the Bashar al-Assad regime (as, apparently, the Assad government had undertaken a massive project of drawing long lists of dead opponents to the regime, perhaps with a view towards further targeting their families and relatives) (O’Grady, 2014). Caesar showed some of the photos to the US Congress when he testified in 2014 (while remaining anonymous, covered from head to toes in a blue hazmat suit). Since July 2014, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC has featured Caesar’s story and has displayed some of the images (Unites States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2016). Many of the images simply show the faces of dead Syrians (mostly men, in their twenties or thirties), probably slaughtered by Syrian governmental forces. Caesar’s shots of dead Syrian faces at the Holocaust Museum are possibly images one would rather not see or face. For many, these dead bodies’ faces may have a haunting presence (Edkins, 2015: 3), although it must be said that, by being on display within the context of the Holocaust Museum, the horror in and of these photos is perhaps somewhat toned down as a result of the rest of the museum’s exhibits about the holocaust. Certainly, despite a symbolic US Congress hearing in Summer 2014 in which some of Caesar’s photos where discussed and Caesar was asked to explain his role and why he took the pictures, the US government—and, by and large, the US public too—has made it a point to look away, to avoid having to face Syria’s images of horror (again, both the horror in the images and the horror of the images). In fact, through much of the West, the horror of the sight of tens of thousands of dead and often mutilated Syrian faces has not been gazed at. Perhaps one might say that dead and mutilated human faces like those captured by Caesar’s camera are today’s Muselmann. I must admit that I am not sure whether Caesar’s photographed faces are about horror (in fact, as Edkins already noted about the Holocaust Memorial Museum, what gets to be displayed there is often meant to try to “shield us from horror” (2003: 176). First, the photos seem to wish to document death, primarily, and they do not necessarily point to a violence that undoes the human or targets human identity/singularity beyond the threshold of human life and death. Second, at times, for the faces on display, the aftermath of death is shown to be somewhat peaceful and restful. Caesar’s photos tend not to freeze the same sort of moment that one finds right after a suicide bombing attack, for example, when a mingling of the flesh and a recomposition of all sorts of matter and materials seem to be visible. Thus, unlike Agamben’s Muselmann, for example, the element of non-humanization may remain occluded in Caesar’s photos. And yet, to suggest that these images of dead Syrians’ faces rehumanize or, away from dehumanization, seek to restore humanity’s priority would be a stretch too. For many of the photos, as mug-shots of dead people’s faces, the realism/ reality of the image simply points to faces of individuals who have been killed, and perhaps there is no more to be seen than this. As such, Caesar’s mug-shots may remain undecided or even indifferent as to whether this is horror (and non-humanization) that we see here or whether what we are meant to apprehend by way of this visual display is dehumanization (and its hoped for re-humanization). 85

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But in the context of our discussion about horror, the non-human, and international relations, what is interesting about Caesar’s photos (and, perhaps, about the initial Aleppo image at the onset of this chapter, too) is not to try to figure out if this or that image is more or less about a sight/scene of horror than another image. Rather, what is of interest here is the possible display of a gaze—both on the part of the dead faces and of the image itself—that offers itself to be looked at, faced, and confronted even if and when we would rather assume that it is not here, within our field of vision, representation, and intelligibility, or that it does not exist or matter, or that it is, perhaps, already gone. After all, again like the Muselmann, the death-depicting body or face that should be dead or should have disappeared from our sight but, as Agamben claims, cannot even be afforded the (human) privilege of death, still seems to operate within the realm of the image of horror, and perhaps within the context of a world that may no longer be for or about us, humans. Agamben calls these visually and insistently present figures or faces “corpses without death” (1999: 72). Caesar’s dead Syrian faces “without death” are here for us to look at (both within their Syrian civil war context and beyond this and other contexts too, as we noted about images of horror above). They are here for us to capture even if, in order to be captured, we perhaps have to be ready to abandon our safety nets. Perhaps they make a demand upon us, if we accept or, better yet, if we “learn” (as Agamben puts it) to face them, a demand to ask ourselves questions we are not willing or even supposed to ask, or to harbor thoughts we may have told ourselves are unthinkable (because, often, we have already decided that they are unrepresentable). Among the questions or thoughts these horrific faces “without death” may require us to entertain is the possibility that the death, the violence, the inhumanity, or the terror that we think we see when we stare at them is very much what our “world-withand-for-us” does or is about. Among such unquestioned questions, such unthinkable thoughts, or such unrepresentable representations invoked by images like these are questions, thoughts, or representations about a human condition (our so-called humanity often said to be attacked, vulnerable, dehumanized, and in need of re-humanization) that is very much implicated in the day-to-day gruesome and often extreme assaults on human as well as non-human life, or in the repeated offenses against the privileges that allegedly come with the desire or need to maintain and preserve a human-centered world (and thus, perhaps, by de-centering the human-centric world, these kind of images can also force us to reconsider what the privileges are and who, even amongst humans, really gets to enjoy and/ or claim such privileges). Perhaps, then, horror and its image may have something really important, and unique, to offer international relations: an invitation for international relations to rethink itself, and its (geo) politics, away from human-centric privileges, away from the assumptions that dictate a need to see or apprehend what matters in and about international relations as if it were all about and for us, humans, as if the so-called (geo)political stakes were all about our human world, our human life and death, our humanity. Seeking to (re)think international relations beyond the limits imposed by the will to humanity (and by the need to constantly make human sense of the world even if and when this need to make human sense is very much at the origin of many of the world’s contemporary instances of extreme violence and destruction) may be what horror opens up for us. Trying to think this unthought may also be international relations’ most difficult challenge yet since, in a way, it demands that international relations and its human agents rethink themselves in the world—and “rethink [their] world as unthinkable,” as Thacker avers (2011: 48)—and, along the way, abandon their claimed privileges (such as, for example, continuing to affirm that the non-human is a condition of impossibility for humanity and human thought). For a long time, international relations has been up to the task of trying to make sense of the human 86

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world, often by opening itself up to some of this world’s most dreadful and terrifying elements and moments. Can international relations now be up to a different task, to the task of accommodating the thought of and about horror?

References Agamben, Giorgio (1999) Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive. New York: Zone Books. Agamben, Giorgio (2000) Means without End: Notes on Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Asad, Talal (2007) On Suicide Bombing. New York: Columbia University Press. Barthes, Roland (1999) Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. New York: Hill & Wang. Cavarero, Adriana (2009) Horrorism: Naming Contemporary Violence. New York: Columbia University Press. Cavell, Stanley (1999) The Claim of Reason. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Cole, Teju (2015) ‘Death in the Browser Tab,’ The New York Times Magazine, May 21. www.nytimes. com/2015/05/24/magazine/death-in-the-browser-tab.html?mcubz=1. Cumming-Bruce, Nick, and Anne Barnard (2016) ‘Aleppo Is a ‘Slaughterhouse’ Says UN Official Seeking War Crimes Inquiry,’ The New York Times, October 21. www.nytimes.com/2016/10/22/world/ middleeast/syria-aleppo-un.html. Debrix, François (2017) Global Powers of Horror: Security, Politics, and the Body in Pieces. London: Routledge. Debrix, François, and Alexander D. Barder (2012) Beyond Biopolitics: Theory, Violence, and Horror in World Politics. London: Routledge. Dupont, Stephen (2008) ‘Witness to a Suicide Bombing in Afghanistan,’ The Lede: The New York Times News Blog, May 9. http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/09/witness-to-a-suicide-bombing-inafghanistan/?_r=1. Edkins, Jenny (2003) Trauma and the Memory of Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Edkins, Jenny (2015) Face Politics. London: Routledge. Erskine, Toni, and Richard Ned Lebow (eds.) (2012) Tragedy and International Relations. New York: Palgrave. Lebow, Richard Ned (2003) The Tragic Vision of Politics: Ethics, Interests and Orders. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Levi, Primo (1989) The Drowned and the Saved. New York: Vintage Books. Levi, Primo (1995) Survival in Auschwitz. New York: Touchstone. Mbembe, Achille (2003) ‘Necropolitics.’ Public Culture 15 (1), 11–40. Mearsheimer, John (2001) The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. New York: Norton. Miller, Steven (2014) War after Death: On Violence and Its Limits. New York: Fordham University Press. Munayyer, Waffa, and Donie O’Sullivan (2016) ‘This Isn’t Pompeii, This is Aleppo,’ CNN online, September 27. www.cnn.com/2016/09/25/world/another-picture-brings-the-horrors-of-aleppointo-focus/. O’Grady, Siobhán (2014) ‘Holocaust Museum Displays Echoes of Nazi Era in Syria War Photos,’ Foreign Policy, October 16. http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/10/16/holocaust-museum-displays-echoes-ofnazi-era-in-syria-war-photos/. Rancière, Jacques (2009) The Future of the Image. London: Verso. Rancière, Jacques (2011) The Emancipated Spectator. London: Verso. Rose, Jacqueline (2004) ‘Deadly Embrace.’ London Review of Books 26 (21), 21–24. Sanchez, Raf (2016) ‘Aleppo Horror: Dozens of Civilians Killed in Russian and Syrian Strikes,’ Telegraph, September 25. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/25/aleppo-horror-dozens-of-civilians-killed-inrussian-and-syrian-s/. Shildrick, Margrit (2002) Embodying the Monster: Encounters with the Vulnerable Self. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Tahhan, Zena (2016) ‘Syria War: Aleppo’s Civilians Face Humanitarian Crisis,’ Al Jazeera Online, August 24. www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/08/syria-war-aleppo-civilians-face-humanitarian-crisis160823153958687.html. Thacker, Eugene (2011) In the Dust of this Planet: Horror of Philosophy, Vol. 1. Winchester: Zero Books. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (2016) ‘Syria: I Had the Job of Taking Pictures of the Dead,’ Photographs and Video. www.ushmm.org/confront-genocide/cases/syria/introduction/syria.

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PART III

Art and narrative

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7 FOR ALEX The art of International Relations Debbie Lisle

In her Art History classes at Harvard University, Professor Jennifer L. Roberts asks her students to focus in detail on a single work of art for their final assignment (Roberts, 2013). They are required to look at their chosen artwork for three hours, noting down their observations, ideas and questions; that’s right, three hours. Unsurprisingly, students immersed in the immediate gratification of contemporary digital life-worlds (e.g. Instagram; Google searches; Ultra-fast broadband; ubiquitous Wi-Fi) find this exercise extremely difficult. Indeed, I think many of us would find this sustained mode of attention hard to manage: what would you actually do for three hours? After you acknowledged the details of the picture itself … what then? For Roberts, the exercise gives students permission to slow down and learn the powerful value of ‘critical attention, patient investigation, and scepticism about immediate surface appearances.’ As she goes on to explain, What this exercise shows students is that just because you have looked at something doesn’t mean that you have seen it. Just because something is available instantly to vision does not mean that it is available instantly to consciousness. Or, in slightly more general terms: access is not synonymous with learning. What turns access into learning is time and strategic patience … I can think of few skills that are more important in academic or civic life in the twenty-first century. (Roberts, 2013) I’m curious about what Roberts’ exercise in sustained art criticism offers for those of us collaborating with other disciplines to think more critically about International Relations (IR). There are two aspects of this story that particularly interest me. First, critical IR of all flavours has always asked fundamental questions about seeing and framing. What unites those of us struggling against the epistemological straightjackets of more mainstream IR theories is a central claim about perspective – what kind of world you see depends largely upon your positionality, your point of view. Once you decentre your privileged position of looking, framing and pronouncing about the world, the universal master-of-all-I-survey gaze begins to crumble. It is no longer possible to confidently claim that the world is like this (e.g. anarchic) and not like that (e.g. cooperative), and therefore we have to intervene in this particular way (e.g. invasion) to get what we want (e.g. a multipolar order). What Roberts’ exercise does – and indeed, what the other pieces in this collection do – is remind students and scholars of 91

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critical IR to continue thinking much more slowly, deliberately and carefully about fundamental questions of seeing and framing. This chapter pursues questions of positionality and perspective through art and culture, and works in conjunction with Aida Hozić’s chapter on critical IR’s ways of seeing. Which brings me to my second curiosity: although Roberts’ exercise is unashamedly about Art History, I think it speaks directly to methodological developments within critical IR that focus specifically on artistic representations. There is a trajectory that emerges within the various turns that critical IR has recently taken – linguistic, cultural, aesthetic, visual, material – that uses art to both re-imagine the global order and challenge the conventional ways we think about that order. Roland Bleiker’s (2009) study of aesthetics and world politics provides a terrific account of this trajectory by rejecting IR’s mimetic accounts of representation (i.e. measuring how accurately an artistic expression maps onto a pre-given reality), and opting instead to examine the murky space of misunderstanding, excess and ambivalence where representations never align with a thing called ‘reality’ (see also Moore & Shepherd, 2010). Like Bleiker, I use ‘art’ here in the broadest sense, as creative expressions in visual, aural or performative registers, and therefore I mostly refer to both art and culture. Certainly there is a long-standing debate about the dividing line between something called ‘low’ or ‘popular’ culture that appears on televisions, movie screens and Broadway stages, and something called ‘high’ art that is displayed in museums and galleries and performed in symphony halls, opera houses and avant-garde theatre spaces (Bourdieu, 2010; Gans, 1999). While that constitutive tension never quite disappears, I am more interested in the way critical IR uses creative and artistic expressions of all kinds to help critique, dismantle, explode, refresh and re-articulate the world. In this chapter, I critically reflect on my own efforts to bring art and IR together – the times it worked, and the times it didn’t. There is no way to pursue these ideas without honouring my most important partner in these endeavours, the late and greatly missed Alex Danchev (Bleiker, 2016). Alex and I inaugurated the ‘Art and Politics’ working group that flourished at the Political Studies Association (PSA) and British International Studies (BISA) conferences; we organized workshops that brought IR scholars and artists together; we wrote many (failed) proposals for research grants; and we put together a Review of International Studies special issue on Art and Politics (Danchev & Lisle, 2009). Alex was a remarkable scholar and creative thinker whose work demonstrated that art and the issues that IR concerns itself with – war, violence, justice, order – are intimately linked. Many thought Alex had two separate careers: one as an acclaimed military historian and scholar of IR who wrote biographies of important military leaders (1998, 2015), and the other as a public intellectual, biographer and art commentator who provided us with magisterial accounts of the lives of Georges Braque (2005), Paul Cézanne (2013) and modern art’s engagements with war more generally (2009, 2011, 2015). But Alex steadfastly refused that distinction. Not only did he conceive of these two interests as part of the same world, he felt them to be co-constitutive in the most profound way. This convergence is the key to understanding Alex’s work, and its centrality to critical IR. What I most appreciate about Alex was the unorthodox route he took to arrive at this insight: while we were all reading obscure French political theorists, Alex was looking at, thinking about and puzzling over art. In this sense, Alex got there first in understanding the importance of art, culture and creativity for IR: we only slunk in through the back door. I know Alex would have loved Roberts’ three-hour exercise in looking – an encouragement to see in more detail, feel in more registers and connect your interpretations to more than just yourself. It is with Alex’s insights in mind that this chapter explores the significance of art, culture and creativity to the many projects of critical IR. I begin by examining the more traditional 92

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distanced approach which focuses on how artistic representations – texts, in the widest possible sense – can help us understand the complexities of global politics. The best work from this tradition uses semiotics, cultural studies and discourse analysis to demonstrate how artistic texts are powerful means by which audiences are assimilated into dominant views about international affairs. What is important here are the resistive reading strategies that can be deployed to unsettle the all-too-easy manner in which we are captured by dominant discursive formations. The chapter then moves on to consider critical work in IR that focuses on the destabilizing moment of encounter with art and culture that has the capacity to completely re-order assumed questions of authority, knowledge and agency. Here, it is necessary to engage with difficult concepts such as contingency, affect and the sublime to get a sense of how destabilizing and disorienting powerful artworks can be; indeed, they can change your world. Circling back to Roberts’ exercise in sustained looking, the chapter then engages with more recent work in critical IR that uses art and culture to facilitate collaboration, creative methodologies and innovative pedagogy. Here, art and culture become central not only to the ways we know the world, but also to the ways that we – as students and scholars of global politics – can speak about and act in the world. What is so enlivening about these developments is their critical ethos: they inhabit a plural, open-ended and often difficult world that refuses the easy comforts of reductive theories of IR.

Distance, representation and uncovering When critical voices in IR were initially making themselves heard in the discipline throughout the 1990s, art and culture were central to the conversation. This is because the interdisciplinary nature of so much critical IR engaged with scholarship in other disciplines that was explicitly concerned with international affairs and global politics. Thus, while we spoke to geographers about the ordering of global space, and anthropologists about the colonial contours of world culture; we also spoke to literary scholars about fictional renditions of the international, and art practitioners about creative expressions of global politics in painting, sculpture, film and performance. This interdisciplinary heritage is absolutely fundamental to the emergence of critical IR because it allowed us to form new and powerful alliances. If the Neo-Realists and Neo-Liberals who dominated the discipline at that time were not listening to our arguments about the way IR constructs a particular and highly problematic world, we knew that many other intelligent, interesting and explicitly political folk in other disciplines were on board. There was, and is, enormous solace in the connections we have made outside of the discipline – especially those allies in the arts, humanities and creative industries. The dominant mode through which critical IR engages with art and culture emerged in this initial phase, and focused largely on the end products of creativity; that is, a completed novel, play, painting, film, sculpture or photograph. Here, we are not talking about research that sees art and culture as merely illustrative of a privileged and accessible ‘reality’. While this kind of approach is popular with scholars who think films, poems and pictures can help ‘flesh out’ a much more privileged and uncontested ‘reality’ for students, it is wholly insufficient. As Alex and I argued (2009: 777), that subordination of artistic representations ‘denigrates the productive aspect of art in relation to political issues, or the role that art can play in helping us think and feel our way through difficult political problems.’ Rather, the best kind of work that focuses on the messages contained within artistic and cultural representations provides two important benefits. First, it plays the numbers game. It justifies a focus on non-traditional forms of ‘data’ – plays, novels and artworks instead of statistics, policy documents and diplomatic 93

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missives – because these forms of expression are consumed by so many more people. Surely it is important to analyze how large populations (in the form of ‘audiences’ or ‘the public’) understand international affairs, geopolitics and global order? Surely we realize that talking only to elite practitioners – diplomats, statesmen, Generals, combatants – completely misses the life-worlds of populations most affected by war, violence and geopolitical shifts? Second, this mode of analysis shows how dominant understandings of global politics are produced, reproduced and disseminated in powerful ways through particular artistic and creative techniques (i.e. character development in prose; editing techniques in film; brush strokes in painting; spatial re-ordering in sculpture; breaking the 4th wall in performance). In this sense, it is not enough to be concerned only with content of the representation (i.e. what the artistic expression is about); it is also necessary to pay attention to the form (i.e. how the content is actually expressed – written down, filmed, painted, sung). The job of the critical IR scholar, then, is to identify the global power relations mobilized by a particular artistic or cultural representation, and to show how it interpellates audiences into pre-given interpretive positions that do not serve their flourishing or emancipation. Largely following the Marxist-inspired work of Cultural Studies, these forms of analysis uncover what is hidden by ideology, elite formations and vested interests. The best kind of interpretation is therefore oppositional because it refuses to accept the dominant ideologies at work in a particular representation, and engages in resistive reading practices to deconstruct assumed norms, hierarchies and authorities. What critical IR scholars have brought to the table through this approach is a focus on the global formations of power that are mobilized by art and culture, and in this sense, IR provides a powerful counterpoint to critical work in other disciplines that remains within nationalist or sovereign frames. Some of the strongest work from this tradition has analysed popular Hollywood war films to show how discourses of humanitarianism, justice and rescue are used to mask American power and interests (Dalby, 2008; Hellmich & Purse, 2017; Lisle & Pepper, 2005; Pomarède, 2016; Tanguay, 2016). For example, Cynthia Weber (2008: 88) demonstrates how Hollywood war films in the 1990s articulated a moral grammar of war ‘in which enlightened US do-gooders fight morally unenlightened evil doers not for our own self-interest, but for the good of all humanity’. She carefully reveals the problematic mobilizations of gender, race and Empire that are required to visually secure America as the moral saviour of the world and custodian of justice and order. This approach has been particularly enlivening within critical IR, and has brought many new research methods into the discipline, including visual analysis, discourse analysis and semiotics. Much of my own earlier work engages with this approach (Lisle, 2007; Lisle & Pepper, 2005), and I have found it enormously helpful in demonstrating to students how their supposedly ‘neutral’ views about global politics are powerfully shaped by dominant messages embedded in artistic and cultural representations. However, as my own thinking about the entanglements of art and IR has developed, I have found that this approach has significant limitations. First, ideologically driven analysis is very helpful when examining more ‘popular’ creative formations such as Hollywood war films, but it does not have the nuance or subtlety to explain what happens in the encounter with complex works of art that explicitly invite debate and engagement. Citing Valéry, Alex and I (2009: 775) have argued that a work of art is defined by the fact that it does not exhaust itself – offer up what it has to offer – on first or second or subsequent reading. Great art is practically inexhaustible. It has the capacity to invite a repeated response. 94

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Certainly avant-garde and modern art more generally enact their own hierarchies and exclusions, and I am not dismissing powerful claims about the way art institutions and cultural capital work to discipline access to art worlds (Bürger, 1984). But can you really say that a painting by Robert Rauschenberg, a dance by Twyla Tharp, or a play by Harold Pinter articulate singular preferred meanings that (a) can be identified; (b) can be agreed upon; and (c) can be shown to interpellate audiences once and for all? What remains unsatisfying about ideologically driven approaches is their reductive understanding of the way we actually interpret artistic and cultural texts: one is either duped by the ideologies at work (and therefore stupid), or able to identify and resist them (and therefore clever and politically ‘conscious’). It is grossly reductive to suggest that audiences are only capable of interpreting artistic and cultural formations on a spectrum between two available positions. Indeed, audiences always ‘read’ in multiple, contradictory and surprising ways that mobilize uneasy alliances of reason, emotion, sensation and passion. Sometimes these interpretations develop into a social consensus that reifies ideological constellations, but often they don’t. That attention to multiple dispositions of ‘reading’ brings me to the second limitation of ideologically driven approaches: their containment within a representational register (i.e. the text, its preferred meaning, and how that meaning is read) prevents an analysis of the materiality of such expressions. By this I mean the material conditions and forces shaping the production, distribution and circulation of art and culture such as institutional norms, the circulation of cultural capital, financial structures and the global political economy of the art market. Because these flows exceed preoccupations with questions of content and form (i.e. what the picture is about and how it is realized), they require a different focus. Here, I think Christine Sylvester’s analysis of art museums (2008) does a very good job at exposing the global circulations of the art market, and showing how the dominant norms reproduced by IR also operate in leisure, cultural and aesthetic spaces. Indeed, I share her desire to find IR ‘where we least expect it’; in this case, in the spaces we go to escape the depressing state of world affairs. Surprise, surprise: what we find there are very familiar articulations of national and cosmopolitan identities that fortify already privileged populations and reproduce entrenched global inequalities. Another excellent supplement to textually focused visual analysis is Bernadette Buckley’s (2008) account of the circulation of artworks and artists during times of war. She is primarily interested in how Iraqi artists respond to war being waged in their homeland: whether they stay or escape; whether they continue making art amidst the destruction; and how explicitly their art addresses (or doesn’t) the conditions of occupation, violence and conflict. Certainly much of the political ethos of this work is aligned with ideologically driven analysis that seeks to expose entrenched power relations, but for me its significance is revealed in its ability to show how art and culture are about much more than simply the content of the pictures. The work of Sylvester and Buckley shows us how art derives its meaning, in part, through its attachment to extra-representational forces like art institutions, the global economy and distant operations of violence. These insights lead us into a much more fundamental account of materiality that is effaced by ideologically driven readings that remain in the representational register – an account that foregrounds the ‘thing-ness’ of artistic and cultural texts as material objects in their own right.

Encounter and destabilization One of the reasons I am so intrigued by Roberts’ three-hour exercise in artistic contemplation is the serious manner in which it treats the moment of encounter between a viewer and 95

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a piece of art. I share Roberts’ belief that some kind of transformation is possible in that moment of encounter, and that by elongating the duration of that moment we can create the conditions in which more change, mutation and re-ordering become possible. I recognize that this is a hopeful understanding, and that there is no guarantee that a viewer’s encounter with art will follow this trajectory. Indeed, some of the most powerful traditions within art and culture are those that comfort and soothe, provide escape from the drudgery and oppressions of daily life, or allow us to turn away from our complicity in violence both near and far. However, contained within that moment encounter is always the possibility that fundamental assumptions about what the world looks like, how it operates and how one fits into it, will be altered. Like Roberts, I’m interested in the profound disorientations that become possible when encountering art and culture; indeed, as her students admit upon completing the assignment, ‘they have been astonished by the potentials this process unlocked’ (2013). A shared belief in the destabilizing and transformative potentials of art encouraged Alex and I to orchestrate a series of encounters between IR scholars and the war photographs of Angus Boulton and Suzanne Opton (Danchev & Lisle, 2009: 859–886). What I remember most about this collaboration was the anxiety and hesitation expressed by many of the contributors: ‘But I’m not an Art Historian! I don’t know anything about art!’ Following Alex’s rather more graceful approach, we engaged in patient reassurance: ‘just look at the pictures’ we said, ‘and see what happens’. What resulted was a compelling expression of the political possibilities that lurk in elongated moments of encounter; in this case, complex re-workings of memory, vulnerability and violence. The suspicion that there is more to art and culture than simply ideology has always animated critical IR scholars who puzzle over constitutive concepts such as authority, territory, subjectivity, visibility, temporality, order, agency and limits. My first acknowledgement of what has come to be understood as the more-than-representational (Lisle, 2017) came at the annual Millennium conference in 2005 entitled ‘Between Fear and Wonder: International Politics, Representation and the Sublime’ (Editors, 2006; Lisle, 2006). It was during this conference that I began to realize how comprehensively art can re-order and transform the world – thanks to a very frustrated Mike Shapiro. Listening to yet another paper telling us what we should think about a particular work of art (i.e. restricting analysis to the representative register only), Shapiro became exasperated. I’m paraphrasing here, but his response went something like this: This is not what the sublime is! It has nothing to do with art in isolation – it has everything to do with what happens when we – as embodied subjects – encounter art in its material form. Who gives a fuck what the picture means! I want to know how you feel when you see it, and what happens to your mind, your senses and your body when you really pay attention to it. That is the sublime. And when you get that, it totally fucks you up. (see also, Shapiro, 2017) What Shapiro understood back then that many of us did not, was the radical political possibilities that emerge when artistic encounters are understood through materiality, embodiment, circulation and affect. In rejecting Kantian notions of the sublime which imply transcendence, we can see what the moment of encounter reveals: that the bounded objecthood of the art and the bounded subject-hood of the viewer so valued by modernity have been fatally compromised. ‘We’ no longer have the guaranteed authority of the ‘master-of-allI-survey’ position, but are instead intimately entangled with the object world. Art is crucial here because it reveals that entanglement so clearly: meaning loops in and out through the 96

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affective networks connecting viewers and pictures such that the usually privileged position of the hermetically sealed viewing subject is undone. Looking is never a purely cognitive exercise that can be mapped clearly onto pre-given ideological positions and circulations; nor is it a nicely packaged emotional experience that results in catharsis and order. Once we untether art and culture from the representational register – once we acknowledge the materiality of creative expressions, our embodied sensations when confronting that materiality, and the circulations of meaning that pulse back and forth along those affective routes – we are engaging in a completely different set of political questions, puzzles and possibilities. Within critical IR, the radical potential contained in artistic encounters has been explored most clearly through the conceptual terrains of affect, emotion and response (Åhäll & Gregory, 2015; Bleiker & Hutchison, 2008; Closs Stephens, 2016; Manning, 2007; Shapiro, 2017). Here, the human body is not reduced to a cognitive, rational or instrumental machine, but instead is always foregrounded as a physical conduit for meaning and sensation. Something happens when bodies and artworks intersect, and that happening exceeds, troubles and re-works the reductive ideological pathways of an artwork being either ‘hegemonic’ or ‘resistive’, and an audience being either ‘duped’ or ‘critically aware’. What this ‘flattened’ ontology of affect enables is a new understanding of relationality in which the human body is not privileged, but instead deeply entangled with objects, infrastructures, institutions, discourses and atmospheres. In this sense, feeling your way into a picture, a play, or a poem expresses a much bigger political project that challenges the anthropocentrism of so much scholarship within IR. I am hugely energized by new trajectories within critical IR that are asking deep and difficult questions about the global aspects of human and non-human entanglement in the Anthropocene (Acuto & Curtis, 2013; Coward, 2018; Fishel, 2017; Grove, 2016; Salter, 2015, 2016). For me, however, the potential destabilization operative in the encounter with art and culture has to be more central to that conversation – not least because it is one of the clearest ways to demonstrate how bodies are attached to the objectworld through sensation, affect and emotion. The challenge is showing how such intimate scales of artistic encounter loop into global registers in ways that do not reproduce the ‘levels of analysis’ problem so central to IR’s conventional framings of ‘man, the state and war’. The affective terrain is not an easy one to inhabit, largely because a ‘flattened’ ontology can sometimes hint at the disappearance of politics, struggle and resistance. Here, Jacques Rancière’s work on the ‘distribution of the sensible’ (2004) has been invaluable for critical IR scholars who use art and culture to reveal not just the intimate, political contours of such a ‘flattened’ ontology, but also its global ones. For Rancière, politics is not determined by authority, violence or legitimacy, but rather by sensory modes of perception that determine what can be said (and not said), what can be heard (and not heard) and what is made visible (or invisible). It is the pre-emptive distribution and arrangement of sensation – how our bodies sense the world – that results in hierarchies, exclusions and orders because it pre-determines ‘what is seen and what can be said about it’ (Rancière, 2004: 12–13). Rancière’s links between aesthetics and politics have been taken up most explicitly by Shapiro whose compositional analyses illustrate the way creative forms such as films, novels and architecture resonate not only in intimate settings, but also through global registers (2008, 2013, 2016). What I like most about Shapiro’s mobilization of Rancière is the way it foregrounds art and culture as politically significant conduits for the circulation of power, knowledge, affect and sensation (see also Dunn & Cons, 2014; Grayson, 2017; Ingram, 2016). For me, these explorations of art, encounter and affect in the more-than-representational register are crucial for two reasons. First, as Buckley (2010) explains so well, they refuse to let 97

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us rest comfortably in the representational domain of interpretation, endlessly debating what a work of art or a cultural artefact means. Rather, they force us to constantly make the difficult connections between affect, text and power, and more importantly, they force us to show the global contours of those relations. Second, contextualizing art and culture in the more-thanrepresentational domain creates new spaces of inquiry and collaboration with other critical IR scholars looking at very different ‘objects’ of analysis. The affective loops that bring viewers and artworks together in a destabilizing encounter also circulate in other domains from the subatomic to the planetary. Thus, our efforts to politicize the flattened ontology of art, affect and encounter can help other scholars trying to reveal the global politics of this rhizomatic domain. For example, Louise Amoore (2006, 2013) asks challenging questions about what happens to agency when technology turns our fleshy human bodies into data points for the purposes of security and surveillance. However, where her work is particularly ambitious is when she demonstrates how the radical openness and contingency central to artistic encounters are also present in border technologies, big data and algorithmic governance (Amoore, 2013: 129–147; Amoore & Hall, 2009; Amoore & Piotukh, 2015).

Collaboration and creativity The many conversations Alex and I had about art, politics and IR started out with a sneaking suspicion we both shared: ‘It seems to us that artists are on to something …’ (2009: 777). Certainly we both engaged with art and culture as a form of pleasure, and I was delighted when my own idiosyncratic and questionable preferences aligned with his much more thoughtful and erudite ones. We quickly discovered a shared and unwavering conviction that art and culture are more than just pleasurable distractions: they are crucial for developing and sustaining the project of critical IR. One of the best feelings in intellectual life is discovering fellow travellers who have independently stumbled upon a similar puzzle that won’t let them go. In this sense, I feel incredibly fortunate that my unlikely collaboration with Alex took shape – I say unlikely because it matched an incredibly hard working and disciplined scholar with masses of intellect, wit and grace (him), with a rather more haphazard and indecorous thinker whose rigour seldom aligned with her energy (me). Reflecting on our work together, it is precisely this collaborative ethos that propelled our endeavours with the ‘Art and Politics’ group and beyond. Ours was a project of sustained conversations that began with critical scholars in IR who already understood the centrality of art and culture to the trajectory of critical thinking about the world. Given the interdisciplinary nature of our interests, we also engaged with a growing number of allies in proximal disciplines whose literary, visual, historical and sociological analyses of art and culture directly addressed issues that have long been central to global politics such as war, justice and violence. In all of these activities, our thinking was most challenged and enlivened by engagements with practicing photographers, painters, film-makers and curators who made us think – and think again – about the multiple registers through which art intersects with global affairs. Alex followed these intersections into more historical and intimate registers in his artist biographies and manifestos (2005, 2011, 2013), while I began thinking about how visual artefacts of war reveal surprising and unexpected everyday life-worlds (2016). This collaborative spirit continues in projects where critical IR scholars are working directly with artists in ways that speak differently to the pressing global problems of our day (Freeman & Auchter, 2015; Guillaume, Vuori & Andersen, 2016). A good example of this is Vicki Squire’s recent collaboration with the artist Bern O’Donoghue on the migration crisis in Europe (Squire & O’Donoghue, 2017a). Here, Squire’s ‘Crossing the Med’ 98

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research on the way migrants encounter Europe’s security apparatus intersects with O’Donoghue’s installation ‘Dead Reckoning’ (see Figure 7.1) which acknowledges migrant deaths in the Mediterranean by marking 5,083 hand-made paper boats with an individual relationship such as ‘Aunt’ or ‘friend’. Following a dissatisfaction with policy and humanitarian responses to the crisis, both of them want us to ‘think and feel migration differently’ (Squire & O’Donoghue, 2017b; see also House, 2017). Certainly this project is animated by shared questions about mass death, the impotence of official responses and the complex work of empathy across borders. However, it is the careful way that they bring it all together – the stories and maps Squire brings back from places like Lampedusa, and the boats that O’Donoghue makes so carefully in her kitchen – that really makes such questions resonate for audiences. For me, it is precisely the collaboration between different modes of articulation – the scholarly and the artistic – that matters here. Academics (usually thought to be too abstract, rational and calculating) are given permission to explore creative, emotional and empathic registers in their research; artists (usually thought to be too intuitive, misunderstood and unable to explain what their work means) are given permission to speak directly to matters of global violence. I miss being able to share and discuss projects like this with Alex, but I know he would be as taken as I am with the feminist ethos shaping so many of these scholar–artist collaborations. Indeed, art not only illuminates how global affairs are sustained by logics of gender, it also makes visible the constitutive (and often troubling) power of spaces usually thought to be feminized (e.g. everyday life-worlds, domestic infrastructures, intimate relations). Of all these recent conceptual and collaborative developments, I think Alex would be most inspired by the way art, culture and creativity are shaping the pedagogical practices of critical IR. Here, I don’t include those who use art and culture to simply illustrate something more ‘real’: this is an approach both problematic and insufficient. Rather, I mean the many scholars in critical IR who use artistic and cultural forms (e.g. poetry, blogs, collage,

Figure 7.1 Bern O’Donoghue, ‘Dead Reckoning’. Installation.

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sketching, photography, mapping, filmmaking) to open up difficult questions about war, violence, exploitation, injustice so that students think and feel them differently. In my own teaching about drones and surveillance, for example, it is clear that students engage with complex questions of violence, power and exposure more meaningfully when scholarly readings on the weaponization of visuality are discussed in conjunction with artistic translations of drone warfare by, for example, Trevor Paglan (2010), Noor Behram (Ackerman, 2011; Delmont, 2013) and James Bridle (2012). More recently, I have been impressed by the way explicit, engaged and productive uses of art and culture are being increasingly embedded into IR curricula through creative modes of assessment. For example, many critical IR colleagues enable their students to engage with critical approaches to issues such as war, intervention, order, justice, difference, multiculturalism and violence by making short documentary films (LSE Arts, 2017; Saugmann Andersen, 2014; Shim, 2017). Even more impressive are those inspiring thinkers in critical IR who have courageously reoriented their research by becoming artists and creative producers themselves. For example, Cynthia Weber – one of the most astute readers of visual texts – now uses film-making in her academic work. Her evolving project I am an American (2010, 2011; Stahl, 2015) and her recent films about the Occupy Movement and the US-Mexican border are excellent examples of how we might visually render intractable problems in IR over questions of citizenship, borders and security (see also Der Derian, 2011; Doty, 2016; Saugmann Andersen, 2015). What most impresses me with scholars who have moved into visual production is the care and dedication they have taken in learning the techniques of a new craft. All of them know that the ease of representation these days (e.g. the ubiquity of camera phones, laptops, etc.) does not instantly translate into compelling narratives and images. In other words, just because you own a mobile phone doesn’t automatically make you Jean-Luc Godard. As these thinkers well know, it takes time, commitment and hard graft to learn how to take good images and write good stories. This links us back to Roberts’ exercise in sustained looking and the idea that time, patience and slowing down are the key to learning how pictures, artworks and cultural artefacts are put together. As Alex’s biographies of Braques and Cézanne show us, the best artists are also the best viewers, lookers and listeners. Certainly I am energized by the fact that these developments combine critical thinking and creativity, but I am more intrigued by their collaborative ethos – the way they foreground conversation, dialogue and interlocution. In reflecting on this, I have been thinking about Alex’s ability to combine creativity and critique, and his unfailing intellectual generosity when dealing with others. What we all know about Alex’s work is that he took time and care over his words: his artistry was in his writing. From the biggest books to the shortest newspaper columns, Alex’s prose was always beautifully formed, and his critiques were always carefully developed and clear. We often joked about the importance of the literal and metaphorical red pen – the necessity of learning how to self-edit and be ruthless with one’s own prose. But he affirmed for me that good writing is always hard: it requires a very delicate balance between artistic, creative and instinctual modes with the more plodding, unglamorous rigor of translating such moments into quality prose. Alex taught me that the struggles you have with your own writing need to be acknowledged when commenting on the work of others. I know that I sometimes amused Alex with my immature (and often sweary) castigations of scholarship that I saw as lazy, stupid, or irrelevant, but he was never so gauche or ham-fisted in his criticism. This is what I mean by intellectual generosity: although Alex had a brilliant, precise and carefully critical mind, he was never disrespectful or rude about the work of others. And it is for this reason that I treasure one of the clearest pieces of criticism he gave me in over 16 years of friendship (Lisle, 2016: 299): ‘your arguments can be rather … thumping.’ Well, quite. 100

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For Alex In the spirit of the creativity currently being unleashed by scholars in critical IR, I want to offer an image of my own in honour of Alex. I know this is a risky endeavour, but I like to think he would have encouraged it. I often complained to Alex about my terrible photographs – about my inability to frame, light and capture the world in an aesthetically pleasing manner. It was hopeless: I was doomed to comment on photography, but never to practice it. Alex helped me to see the value in critical commentary, and to respect my place in the wider debates about art, culture, politics and power. To acknowledge this, I offer him a tennis ball (see Figure 7.2). I came upon this object when researching the migration crisis on the Greek island of Kos in 2016, just after Alex died. The tennis ball rests at the bottom of a drained swimming pool in the deserted Hotel Captain Elias where hundreds of migrants were housed during the height of migrant arrivals in 2015 (Lisle & Johnson, 2019). I like this image not only because it speaks directly to the contested terrain of migration and borders, but also because it foregrounds the unexpected. Dominant imaginaries encourage us to think of the migrants as abject, vulnerable and passive … and here they are playing games. I thought of Alex a lot on my research trip to Kos – about how great it would be if we could invite artist-photographers to capture this forgotten landscape, and then organize an event to publicize and critically engage the resulting images. In lieu of that imagined event, I’m afraid all I have to offer is my own image. I suppose the framing isn’t too bad, and the arrangement of colour, texture and shade is passable. But for me, this picture will always hold open a space for Alex’s insightful comments. I’ve been thinking a lot about what Alex taught me over the years. I don’t mean ‘taught’ as in patronizing instruction – Alex never engaged in mansplaining – but rather a kind of being-alongside that required vulnerability and care. His thoughtful and precise approach to

Figure 7.2 Debbie Lisle, ‘Tennis ball’.

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the world has helped me to become more thoughtful and precise in my own way. What I think Alex leaves behind is a model of intellectual generosity that we should all try and work towards with our colleagues, students and interlocutors. Even better if we can use art and culture to do so. It is fitting, then, that Alex should have the last word on why art matters even more when things seem hopeless, bloody and unrelenting: ‘Armed with art, in other words, we are more alert and less deceived’ (Danchev, 2009: 4).

References Ackerman, Spencer (2011) ‘Rare Photographs Show Ground Zero of the Drone War’, Wired, 12 December. www.wired.com/2011/12/photos-pakistan-drone-war/ (accessed 08/04/17). Acuto, Michele & Curtis, Simon (2013) Reassembling International Theory. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan. Åhäll, Linda & Gregory, Thomas (eds.) (2015) Emotions, Politics and War. London: Routledge. Amoore, Louise (2006) ‘Biometric Borders: Governing Mobilities in the War on Terror’, Political Geography 25(3), 336–351. Amoore, Louise (2013) The Politics of Possibility: Risk and Security Beyond Probability. Durham: Duke University Press. Amoore, Louise & Hall, Alex (2009) ‘Taking People Apart: Digitised Dissection and the Body at the Border’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 27(3), 444–464. Amoore, Louise & Piotukh, Volha (2015) ‘Life Beyond Big Data: Governing with Little Analytics’, Economy and Society 44, 341–366. Bleiker, Roland (2009) Aesthetics and World Politics. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan. Bleiker, Roland (2016) ‘Visuality and Creativity in Global Politics: In Memory of Alex Danchev’, New Perspectives: Interdisciplinary Journal of Central and East European Politics & International Relations 24(2), 13–22. Bleiker, Roland & Hutchison, Emma (2008) ‘Fear No More: Emotions in World Politics’, Review of International Studies 34(S1), 115–135. Bourdieu, Pierre (2010) Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. London: Routledge Classics. Bridle, James (2012) ‘Drone Shadow 001-002’. http://shorttermmemoryloss.com/portfolio/project/ drone-shadows/ (accessed 08/04/17). Buckley, Bernadette (2008) ‘Mohamad Is Absent. I Am Performing. Contemporary Iraqi Art and the Destruction of Heritage’, pp. 283–310 in The Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Iraq, Peter G. Stone & Joanna Farchakh Bajjaly (eds.). Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer. Buckley, Bernadette (2010) ‘Forum: Art and Politics’, Postcolonial Studies 13(2), 121–131. Bürger, Peter (1984) Theory of the Avant-Garde. Trans. Michael Shaw. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Closs Stephens, Angharad (2016) ‘The Affective Atmospheres of Nationalism’, Cultural Geographies 23(2), 181–198. Coward, Martin (2018) ‘Against Network Thinking: A Critique of Pathological Sovereignty’, European Journal of International Relations, 24(2): 440–463. Dalby, Simon (2008) ‘Warrior Geopolitics: Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and the Kingdom of Heaven’, Political Geography 27(4), 439–455. Danchev, Alex (1998) Alchemist of War: The Life of Basil Liddel Hart. London: Weidenfield & Nicholson. Danchev, Alex (2005) Georges Braque: A Life. London: Hamish Hamilton. Danchev, Alex (2009) On Art and War and Terror. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Danchev, Alex (2011) 100 Artists’ Manifestos: From the Futurists to the Stuckists. London: Penguin. Danchev, Alex (2013) Cézanne: A Life. London: Profile Books. Danchev, Alex (2015) On Good and Evil and the Grey Zone. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Danchev, Alex & Lisle, Debbie (2009) ‘Introduction: Art, Politics, Purpose’, Review of International Studies 35(4), 775–779; Special Section, 775–886. Danchev, Alex & Todman, Daniel (eds.) (2015) Alanbrooke War Diaries 1939–1945: Field Marshall Lord Alanbrooke. London: Weidenfield & Nicholson. Delmont, Matt (2013) ‘Drone Encounters: Noor Behram, Omer Fast and Visual Critiques of Drone Warfare’, American Quarterly 65(1), 193–202. Der Derian, James (2011) Human Terrain: Film Makers. http://humanterrainmovie.com/?page_id=20.

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For Alex Doty, Roxanne (2016) ‘What Surrounds You’, Lunaris Review, 16 January. http://lunarisreview.com/ roxanne-doty-what-surrounds-you/. Dunn, Elizabeth Cullen & Cons, Jason (2014) ‘Aleatory Sovereignty and the Rule of Sensitive Spaces’, Antipode 46(1), 92–109. Editors (2006) ‘Between Fear and Wonder: International Politics, Representation and the Sublime’, Millennium: Journal of International Politics 34(3), 657–962. Fishel, Stefanie R. (2017) The Microbial State: Global Thriving and the Body Politic. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Freeman, John Craig & Auchter, Jessica (2015) ‘Border Memorial: Frontera de los Muertos’, Hyperrhiz 12: Augmented Maps, Summer. http://hyperrhiz.io/hyperrhiz12/augmented-maps/1-freeman-auchterborder-memorial.html (accessed 23/04/17). Gans, Herbert J. (1999) Popular Culture and High Culture: An Analysis and Evaluation of Taste. New York: Basic Books. Grayson, Kyle (2017) ‘Capturing the Multiplicities of Resilience through Popular Geopolitics: Aesthetics and Homo Resilio in Breaking Bad’, Political Geography 57(1), 24–33. Grove, Jairus (2016) ‘An Insurgency of Things: Foray into the World of Improvised Explosive Devices’, International Political Sociology 10(4), 332–351. Guillaume, Xavier, Vuori, Juha A. & Andersen, Rune Saugmann (2016) ‘Code Red: Colouring the International’, E-International Relations, 17 April. www.e-ir.info/2016/04/17/code-red-colouring-theinternational/ (accessed 22/04/17). Hellmich, Christina & Purse, Lisa (2017) Disappearing War: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Cinema and Erasure in the Post 9/11 World. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. House, Danielle (2017) ‘Footprints of Memory’, Performance and Politics International, University of Aberystwyth, 28 March. www.aber.ac.uk/en/news/archive/2017/03/title-198942-en.html (accessed 06/04/17). Ingram, Alan (2016) ‘Rethinking Art and Geopolitics through Aesthetics: Artist Responses to the Iraq War’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 41(1), 1–13. Lisle, Debbie (2006) ‘Sublime Lessons: Education and Ambivalence in War Exhibitions’, Millennium 34(3), 841–862. Lisle, Debbie (2007) ‘Benevolent Patriotism: Art, Dissent and The American Effect’, Security Dialogue 38(2), 233–250. Lisle, Debbie (2016) Holidays in the Danger Zone: Entanglements of War and Tourism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Lisle, Debbie (2017) ‘Learning How to See’, in Routledge Handbook of International Political Sociology, Xavier Guillaume & Pinar Bilgin (eds.). London: Routledge, 299–308. Lisle, Debbie & Johnson, Heather (2019) ‘Lost in the Aftermath’, Security Dialogue, 50(1), forthcoming. Lisle, Debbie & Pepper, Andrew (2005) ‘The New Face of Global Hollywood: Black Hawk Down and the Politics of Meta-Sovereignty’, Cultural Politics 1(2), 165–192. LSE Arts (2017) ‘Thinking Visually; Feeling Visually; Student Films from the International Relations Department’. www.lse.ac.uk/Events/2017/01/20170130t1000vAT/Thinking-Visually-FeelingVisually-Student-Films-from-the-International-Relations-Department (accessed 10/04/17). Manning, Erin (2007) Politics of Touch: Sense, Movement, Sovereignty. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Moore, Cerwyn & Shepherd, Laura J. (2010) ‘Aesthetics and International Relations: Towards a Global Politics’, Global Society 24(3), 299–309. Paglan, Trevor (2010) ‘Untitled (Drones)’. www.paglen.com/?l=work&s=drones&i=4 (accessed 08/ 04/17). Pomarède, Julien (2016) ‘Normalizing Violence through Front-Line Stories: The Case of American Sniper’, Critical Military Studies, November. www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23337486.2016.1246995 (accessed 08/04/17). Rancière, Jacques (2004) The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible. Trans. Gabriel Rockhill. London: Continuum. Roberts, Jennifer L. (2013) ‘The Power of Patience: Teaching Students the Value of Deceleration and Immersive Attention’, Harvard Magazine, November–December. http://harvardmagazine.com/2013/ 11/the-power-of-patience (accessed 03/12/16). Salter, Mark B. (ed.) (2015) Making Things International 1: Circuits and Motion. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

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Debbie Lisle Salter, Mark B. (ed.) (2016) Making Things International 2: Catalysts and Reactions. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Särmä, Saara (2014) Junk Feminism and Nuclear Wannabes: Collaging Parodies of Iran and North Korea, PhD thesis, University of Tampere. http://tampub.uta.fi/handle/10024/95961 (accessed 12/04/17). Saugmann Andersen, Rune (2014) ‘Course Pages’, Visual Global Politics. http://visualworldpolitics.tumblr. com/readings (accessed 22/04/17). Saugmann Andersen, Rune (2015) Remediating Security: A Semiotic Framework for Analysing How Video Speaks Security, PhD Dissertation, Centre for Advanced Security Studies, University of Copenhagen. http://saugmann.tumblr.com/dissertation (accessed 22/04/17). Shapiro, Michael J. (2006) Deforming American Political Thought: Ethnicity, Facticity and Genre. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press. Shapiro, Michael J. (2008) Cinematic Geopolitics. London: Routledge. Shapiro, Michael J. (2013) Studies in Trans-disciplinary Method: After the Aesthetic Turn. London: Routledge. Shapiro, Michael J. (2016) Politics and Time. London: Polity. Shapiro, Michael J. (2017) The Insistence of the Sublime. Durham: Duke University Press. Shim, David (2017) ‘Visual Global Politics’. https://imagingglobalpolitics.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/ imaging-and-imagining-global-politics/(accessed 08/04/17). Squire, Vicki & O’Donoghue, Bern (2017a) ‘Dead Reckoning/Crossing the Med: Thinking and Feeling Migration Differently’. www.whoareweproject.com/seminars-workshops/2017/3/15/vicki-squire (accessed 02/11/17). Squire, Vicki & O’Donoghue, Bern (2017b) ‘5,083 Boats: A Dead Reckoning’, Open Democracy, 13 March. www.opendemocracy.net/vicki-squire-bern-o-donoghue/5083-boats-dead-reckoning (accessed 02/04/17). Stahl, Roger (2015) ‘Cynthia Weber on Film and IR’, The Vision Machine: Media, War, Peace. http:// thevisionmachine.com/2015/01/Cynthia-weber-on-film-in-ir/ (accessed 02/11/17). Sylvester, Christine (2008) Art/Museums: International Relations Where We Least Expect It. London: Routledge. Tanguay, Liane (2016) ‘The ‘Good War’ On Terror: Rewriting Empire from George W. Bush to American Sniper’, Critical Studies on Security 3(3), 297–302. Weber, Cynthia (2008) Imagining America at War: Morality, Politics and Film. London: Routledge. Weber, Cynthia (2010) ‘Citizenship, Security, Humanity’, International Political Sociology 4(1), 80–85. Weber, Cynthia (2011) ‘I Am an American’. www.iamanamericanproject.com (accessed 13/04/17).

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8 WAYS OF SEEING/WAYS OF BEING IN CRITICAL IR1 Aida A. Hozić

In her chapter in this volume, Debbie Lisle invites readers to engage in an exercise of “sustained art criticism … in order to think more critically about International relations (IR).” The exercise follows an assignment by an art history professor at Harvard, who asks her students “to look at their chosen artwork for three hours, noting down their observations, ideas and questions.” For Debbie Lisle, the exercise – and IR’s sustained engagement with the world of arts more generally – create opportunities “to pursue questions of positionality and perspective,” which are central to (critical) IR. Eventually, Lisle’s beautifully written chapter encourages her readers to “engage with difficult concepts such as contingency, affect and the sublime to get a sense of how destabilizing and disorienting powerful artworks can be; indeed, they can change our world.” Our understandings of the world, including political worlds, are framed by our upbringing, education and experiences. They can, indeed, be changed, challenged and shattered through encounters with the works of art. In my own case, I learned to think politically in the former Yugoslavia, and in the period of intense political upheaval which preceded the wars of the 1990s. At the time, formal political institutions were collapsing but the arts and popular culture – theatre, music, film, literature, TV – flourished. Artists pushed the boundaries of permissible discourse, transformed public space, exposed the soft underbelly of authoritarian politics. But they also opened up the floodgates of violent nationalism. Hence, I learned (quite literally) to read and interpret politics backwards – from the last “cultural” pages of newspapers to the front “news” about bankrupt state institutions, from the trivia of pop culture to nationalist politics, from the ephemera of the arts to genocidal violence. To this day, I stand by that method, which bears great resemblance to the goals of feminist methodology, eloquently defined by Shulamit Reinharz (1992: 248) as “making the invisible visible, bringing the margin to the center, rendering the trivial important.” I cannot do otherwise. And yet, while I share Debbie Lisle’s enthusiasm for the arts and the potentialities of what the arts can offer to critical IR, I remain concerned about the ability of critical IR – and the ability of powerful artworks – to “change our world” in a predictable, positive direction without being linked to concrete political action. As I have written elsewhere, it is tempting to think that focusing on new and shiny objects – arts, popular culture – will in and of itself bring a new perspective on the international (Hozić, 2017). I myself teach and write about art 105

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and aesthetics, particularly in relation to wars and violence, hoping to inspire different, perhaps more critical or empathetic, sensibilities among my students and readers – one person at a time. However, I teach and write in the United States, a country that has been at war since 2001 (with no end in sight), where racism and misogyny have been installed in the highest office of the land, where plutocracy reigns over allegedly free markets and democracy, and where millions of black and brown people languish in prisons. As Naeem Inayatullah (2017) reminds us, as scholars of IR (including critical scholars) we are nothing but effects of empire. Thus, I must worry that my journeys to museums and galleries and theatre performances (from which I invariably return with a smile on my face, my husband claims) are also flights from reality, coping mechanisms which enable me to process (intellectually and emotionally) the brutality that sustains my privileged life. To put it differently: I worry about the limits of critical IR’s focus on politics of representation – perhaps its most significant contribution to the study of world politics in the last few decades. Analyses of discursive (linguistic and/or visual) representations of international relations have, no doubt, broadened scholarly understandings of the political, challenged, naturalized racial/gendered hierarchies underpinning practices of power, and successfully problematized relations between academic knowledge and the world-object under its examination. As such, they have offered important interventions in the ways of seeing international politics during the years of multiple wars, horrific violence, legitimizing of torture, massive dislocations and continued economic exploitation. Less successful, however, has been the attempt to affect (if not to alter) ways of being in IR: the rising body-count (Zalewski, 1996) of imperial wars and environmental degradation or the absence of “multivocality” in narration and practice of world politics (Acharya and Buzan, 2007). If anything, it is as if this shifting of focus on representation as an exercise of power has left the terrain of its actualization unobstructed, unconstrained to manufacture new realities, to masquerade its workings with acknowledged fictions (“fake news”) in the lands of twitter, social media and a variety of entertainment platforms.

The Washington family In order to illustrate my ambivalences, I would like to engage the readers in the exercise of “sustained art criticism” recommended by Debbie Lisle. There is a painting at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. which, in my view, demands such sustained attention of international relations scholars. The painting (see Figure 8.1) is a life-size portrait of George Washington, the first U.S. President, and his family – his wife Martha and her grandchildren Eleanor Parke Custis and George Washington Parke Custis (the children were later adopted by the Washingtons). The portrait was made in several sittings between 1789 and 1796 by American artist Edward Savage. Originally trained as an engraver, Savage was self-taught as a painter and art critics have not been very kind to his work. But he was well-liked by Washington himself, painting more portraits of the President and his wife than any other artist at the time. The Washington Family, the painting exhibited at the National Gallery since 1940, is the most famous of his works and the only portrait depicting Washington at his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia. The National Gallery website states that the family portrait “quickly became a veritable icon of our early national pride.” The website of Mount Vernon’s estate underscores that the painting “echoes the comparison between Washington and the Roman general Cincinnatus so familiar to late eighteenth-century Americans.” And in one of the early twentieth-century essays about Savage’s portraits of Washington, Mantle Fielding, a biographer of numerous American artists, wrote effusively: 106

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Figure 8.1 Edward Savage, ‘The Washington Family’, 1789–1796, oil on canvas. Andrew W. Mellon Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

To an American no other painted portrait can possess the interest and significance of that of our first President, nor does he ever tire of seeing the likeness of the man who stood first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen. His portraits transmit to posterity his eminent virtues, and in contemplating these paintings we feel impressed with the nobility of his character, the dignity of his manhood and his truth, sincerity and patriotism. (1924: 193) The canvas of The Washington Family is very large, nearly 2.5 by 3 meters framed. It dominates the room in the National Gallery where it is displayed alongside portraits of other prominent Revolutionary War Era Americans, men and women. It is balanced in its location only by an equally large painting of the U.S. House of Representatives on the opposite wall, making this very much the room in the Gallery that celebrates the birth of the U.S. and its democratic institutions. The portrait itself is both conventional and exciting, as it relies upon the props of status and power rather common in European paintings of that period but novel for America. Washington himself, apparently, favored this portrait over all others “because of its intimacy and its affirmation of the future” (Lewis, 2015: 54). In the portrait, the family is gathered around a table at Mount Vernon. According to the National Gallery website and citing Savage’s catalogue, George Washington’s uniform, hat, sword and papers “allude to his ‘Military Character’ and ‘Presidentship’”; Washington’s young grandson George holds a compass in his hand over a large globe, symbolizing America’s rising influence in the world; Martha and George Washington are surveying a map of the new capitol city, with Martha’s fan pointing at Pennsylvania Avenue, the seat of the future Presidential residence, the White House; the map is gently unfolded by granddaughter Eleanor; the scenery behind the Washington family depicts rolling Virginian 107

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hills and the Potomac river, projecting themselves – and thereby the family’s and America’s influence – into a seeming forever. When looking at the painting (and, especially, if just passing through the room at the Gallery where the painting is exhibited), viewers’ attention is immediately captured not only by the sheer size of the painting but also by Savage’s meticulous attention to detail: the beautiful lace on Martha Washington’s shawl, the shimmer of satin in her dress, gold buttons on Washington’s uniform, red brocade of the chairs, the shining silver handle of Washington’s sword. It is, therefore, easy to overlook a large dark figure of a slave/servant, in the back of the painting, standing behind Martha Washington. Dressed in Mount Vernon traditional livery, the man’s uniform lacks the fine detail of all other garments in the painting and fuses with the red curtain behind him. More importantly, the man has no face. In the painting where each embroidered little flower in Martha Washington’s bonnet can be observed and counted, the slave’s face is smudged and obliterated. The slave, writes an author of a popular history of Washington D.C., is a contradiction, an anomaly in this frame. Hence, despite his role in Washington’s life and in the history of this country, the slave “must remain a shadow, unobtrusive, unassuming, unremarkable, almost a part of the frame for the Potomac” (Lewis, 2015: 54). The identity of the slave in the painting is in some dispute (not the least because he has no face), but most historians believe that he is William “Billy” Lee, George Washington’s personal servant. Billy, states Mount Vernon website, was a valet who “assisted his master with myriad tasks, from delivering messages to laying out clothes to tying a silk ribbon around his hair.” The slave was a good horseman and a huntsman also, and he accompanied Washington throughout the entire Revolutionary War, becoming a minor celebrity himself. Sometime in mid-1780s, Billy Lee had an accident which dislocated both of his knees, rendering him useless as a valet. Although he insisted on joining Washington at the executive office in New York, he was sent back to Mount Vernon where he would spend the rest of his life as an alcoholic, working as a shoemaker. Married twice, Billy Lee had no descendants – his first wife and a child must have escaped or were killed during the Revolutionary War as they were mentioned only once (and then never again) in Washington’s records. Lee’s second wife was a free Black woman from Philadelphia who had also been a part of Washington’s war-time entourage as a seamstress. She was supposed to join Lee at Mount Vernon. The records show that Washington, who did not much like her, had reluctantly acquiesced to help Billy Lee with her transport to Virginia but she never arrived (Thomson, 2014). George Washington had always been a slave owner. He inherited some slaves from his father, acquired others through his marriage to Martha Washington and rented additional ones from neighbors and acquaintances. He also “often purchased slaves at what we might term today estate sales,” and by the end of his life would amass some 318 bonded servants on his estate (Thomson, 2014). Even his dentures were made of human teeth, probably pulled from slaves in his ownership, although the circumstances of their acquisition remain uncertain (Gehred, 2016). He bought Billy and his brother Frank from a wealthy Virginian widow Mary Lee in 1768 for 61 pounds and some shillings; at the time of the purchase both young men could not have been but 16 years old. They were described as mulattos, and had probably been fathered by white men. The brothers would remain in Washington’s possession until his death. Billy Lee was the only slave liberated by Washington’s will, a sign, some argue, of the President’s appreciation for his loyal service. Other historians, confronted with a puzzle of a faceless black man in Savage’s careful portrait of the Washington family, suggest that Billy Lee was “accorded a special and prominent position in the Washington household,” which is why “Washington permitted (emphasis by the author) the presence of his trusted body servant (…) in this intimate family portrait” (Hirschfeld, 1997: 98). 108

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Shortly after Washington’s death, George Custis Washington, the grandson holding his hand over the globe in the painting, began fathering children with women enslaved at Mount Vernon. His sexual escapades must have been so difficult to hide that he even admitted paternity to one of his illegitimate daughters in 1826 (born in 1803). He married Mary Lee Fitzhugh in 1804; their son-in law would later become the Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The multi-racial off-springs of “the first family,” the dark legacy of its slaveownership and the links to Confederacy have only recently been acknowledged by the National Park Service, the organization that oversees Mount Vernon and other properties belonging to the Washington family (Hoover, 2016). They are beginning to challenge the narrative thus put forward – of a President much conflicted about slavery, kind and generous to his servants, willing to invite one of them into a family portrait yet evidently not bothered by the slave’s faceless appearance in it.

We might be looking, but not seeing The Washington Family is a powerful reminder of the systematic erasure of race and racism from the United States history and from Anglo-American scholarship on international relations. The centrality of race and racism to early international relations theory is now well documented as are the ways in which they have been obfuscated within and by the discipline of IR after World War II (Inayatullah and Blaney, 2004; Hobson, 2012; Vucetic, 2011; Anievas, Manchanda and Shilliam, 2015; Vitalis, 2015). Much like the history of Savage’s painting and of the birth of the American Republic, “virtually every history of international relations to date turns out to be about white political scientists teaching in white departments and publishing in white journals” (Vitalis, 2015: 13). Yet racism, as “the belief, practice, and policy of domination based on the specious concept of race” is simply “hidden in plain sight,” including in the discipline’s key concepts such as anarchy (Henderson, 2015). And “in the ‘real world,’ the subjection continues through old-new policies of intervention, tutelage, and targeted killings in new-old zones of anarchy and civilization deficit” (Vitalis, 2015: 181). As these recent works in postcolonial and critical race studies note, the world is paying a high moral, intellectual and political price for this willful forgetting. But the painting is also an illustration of what encounters with art can and cannot do for critical IR. What renders the slave invisible in the painting is not absence but the violence through which he was constituted as such. The painting merely normalizes his status as nonhuman, and not only at the moment when the painting was made but in the course of the 200 years since the painting was first exhibited. Millions of people must have passed by and even stared at Savage’s painting without as much as noticing the slave in the background. The painting’s multiple owners, including the National Democratic Club, The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust and the National Gallery of Art, have – obviously – found nothing objectionable in this representation of the Washington family, or seen anything in it that would require further explanation. Even art historians have largely neglected to address this poorly painted figure of a black man who blends with the curtains. Ultimately, what the eye purports to see “is dictated to it by an entire set of beliefs and desires and by a set of coded languages and generic apparatuses” (Rogoff, 1998: 22). The Washington Family thus demands, as the late John Berger would have suggested, to move analysis beyond the frame “in the space between the object and the observer, a contested area where inherited values, prejudices, and expectations, like fragments of glass, refract and divert our gaze” (Gonzalez, 2017). In order to understand the slave’s invisibility, we would have to investigate the political, economic and ideological enterprise of slavery, 109

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imperialism and American hegemony and the lasting emotional, affective investments in white supremacy that they have produced. In other words, we would have to develop what Irit Rogoff (1998: 18) calls “the curious eye” in order “to counter ‘the good eye’ of connoisseurship.” Or, as she further specifies, we would have to repopulate that contested terrain between the painting and its viewers “with all the obstacles and all the unknown images, which the illusion of transparency evacuated from them” (1998: 22). To sum, if we are curious enough to see what is “hidden in plain sight” we must first unlearn how to see. “Believing is seeing,” argues documentary filmmaker Errol Morris (2011) in his meticulous analysis of staged war and depression photographs, including the infamous Abu Ghraib photos made by the U.S. guards on duty at the Iraqi prison where inmates were regularly humiliated and tortured. Morris is not troubled by the way that (war) photographs are staged nor does he think that their authenticity is thereby diminished; that, indeed, in his view, is the condition of photographic work. Rather, he is interested in deceptions and self-deceptions embedded in the very act of seeing, in his own case additionally complicated by visual impairments in both eyes. His reading of Abu Ghraib photographs is deeply disturbing as he shifts his attention away from the guards, vilified by the media and convicted by the U.S. Army for prisoners’ abuse, and zooms onto the events that took place elsewhere in the prison on the very night when the photographs were taken. In the corridors of the prison, Morris finds an on-going turf war between different branches of the U.S. military, intelligence officers (known as OGA – “Other Government Agency”) and private contractors. He learns that OGA prisoners “were not logged into the system,” meaning that officially they were “not there.” In fact, they were called “ghosts,” and to make things even more complicated, “there were ghost detainees and also ghost interrogators.” Following the trail of one of the photographs, in which U.S. Army reservist Sabrina Harman smiles, with a thumb up, over a dead man’s body, Morris discovers that the man in the picture was a ghost prisoner by the name of Al-Jamadi, killed that night by the ghost OGA personnel. The OGA interrogators then attempted to cover up the murder: the man was belatedly logged into the system as “Bernie” while his body was iced and hidden in a shower room. This is where Harman took a picture of herself with the dead body – possibly, Morris says, to document the murder rather than to celebrate it. The body was eventually moved out of the prison on an IV gurney “to prevent a riot – to fool the prisoners into thinking that this was a medical emergency rather than a murder.” The photographs of Al-Jamadi taken by Sabrina Harman (and Specialist Charles “Chuck” Graner) are the only evidence that the murder took place. The perpetrators, in Morris’ words, were “cropped out of the photograph since their actions happened outside the frame.” With the release of the photographs, all the attention focused on Sabrina Harman’s smile. The real perpetrators have never been identified and/or charged. The attention was misdirected, argues Morris (2011: 118): “Instead of asking: ‘Who is that man?’ ‘Who killed him?’” the question has become – “Why is that woman smiling?” There is another political dimension in the “dynamic of revelation and obfuscation” which is at work in the photographs from Abu Ghraib, writes cultural historian Shawn Michelle Smith (2013). They are traces of a previous spectacle, “afterimages of American lynching photographs.” With a number of Abu Ghraib photographs depicting women soldiers, “taking pleasure in (…) symbolic emasculation of Iraqi men,” these pictures “simultaneously recalled a disturbing history and revealed what was obscured in that history” (Smith, 2013: 197). Lynching of AfricanAmerican men in post-Bellum America was most often “justified” as punishment for the rape of white women. This brutal and public disciplining of African-American men had ripple effects – by killing and mutilating black bodies, the white lynch mob “deemed white women in need of white male protection, while simultaneously schooling white women in the unspoken but 110

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visibly manifest dangers they might incur in loving black men.” The photographs from Abu Ghraib, featuring hyper-sexualized she-soldiers dominating over black bodies, “disrupted racialized patriarchal ambitions both at home and abroad (…) the repressed flip side of the national icon of the pure white woman raised its ugly head and signaled ‘thumbs up’” (211). The “good girl”/“bad girl” binary upon which nationalist narratives of white male saviors are so easily written (against black intruders and other savages) exploded upon itself in Iraq, revealing as its blind spot “the figure of the uncontrollable white woman.” In her writings about race, gender and photography, Shawn Michelle Smith (2004: 3) insists upon the fact that “visual culture was fundamental not only to racist classifications but also to racial inscription and the reconstruction of racial knowledge in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.” She draws attention to the fact that W.E.B. DuBois first invoked his famous notion of “the color line” at the Paris Exposition in 1900, where he showcased an album of 363 photographs of “typical Negro faces, which hardly square with conventional American ideas” (2004: 6). And she argues, very persuasively, that although race was (and still is) primarily thought of as a visual category, “the problem of the color line is much more fundamental than the problem of racist representation” (2004: 11). The way in which the race is constituted through “the racialized cultural prerogatives of the gaze, which determine who is authorized to look, and what will be seen” means that “looking itself is a racial act, and being looked at has racial effects” (2004: 11). This excess of the white supremacist gaze, its extended reach, its implication in nearly everything that we look at, might be the reason why race is such a puzzle for scholars working in the burgeoning subfield of “visual IR” and also, perhaps, why (at least so far) they have not much studied the co-constitution of race and visuality. “Visual IR” has, admittedly, moved beyond iconological study of images and/or representation to explore affects, emotions, new materialism. It has explored responses to refugees, drone killings, humanitarian crises. But that move has often implied that emphasis is placed on the viewer – the seer – rather than on the objects or effects of the gaze (Hozić, 2011). There is, as Ray Chow (2006) would say, an element of collective frenzy of self-referentiality here at play – the need to make it all about us. Here, and throughout the text, I am using the “we” intentionally – to indicate complicity but also a limitation. In some instances, it might be possible to destabilize that “we” in hope that it could start seeing and acting in the world differently, being otherwise. When it comes to racism, one obstacle placed even in front of the curious eye seems insurmountable: can we unlearn racism without simultaneously seeking redemption for ourselves?

Monuments In fall of 2015, as the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum across the United States in response to continued practices of racial profiling and numerous (unpunished) killings of African-Americans by the police, students at Princeton University took over the office of the University President, demanding acknowledgment of Woodrow Wilson’s history of racism and erasure of his name from campus institutions and buildings honoring him and his legacy. A year later, the Princeton Board of Trustees voted to retain Wilson’s name on its prestigious public-policy school and a residential college, while acknowledging that “the University needs to be honest and forthcoming about its history.” Similar demands, questioning colleges’ and universities’ complicity with America’s racists past have been made on more than 60 campuses across the United States (Wong and Green, 2016). The shooting of nine people at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, by white supremacist Dylann Roof, also in 2015, galvanized the public opinion 111

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against the symbols and monuments of Confederacy. As a result, the South Carolina Senate voted to remove the Confederate flag from its State House in July 2015, although the contestations about its public display continue. Meanwhile, the movement to remove statues of prominent Confederate figures – or statues of men with well-known and documented history of racism – spread all over the United States. In Charlottesville, Virginia, the confrontation between activists who wished to remove the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee (George Custis’ son-in-law) and white supremacists who opposed it, resulted in deadly violence in August of 2017. The events in Charlottesville sent shivers throughout the country, not the least because President Trump openly sided with the white racists. As I write this essay, monuments have been removed in cities across the country, not always peacefully. In the latest news, the Mayor of New York has been urged to remove the statue of Christopher Columbus from the eponymous circle in the city (Sutton, 2017). Regarded as obvious symbols of regime change, monuments have been coming down all over the world (Hudson, 2013). In the post-Soviet world, statues of Lenin and other Soviet heroes have been demolished, removed and/or sequestered in historical parks. Street names have been changed, textbooks purged, photographs retouched, histories revised. The same thing used to happen under Stalinism. And who could ever forget “the toppling” of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad’s Firdos square, orchestrated by a Washington D.C. public relations firm in the early days of the U.S. occupation of Iraq in 2003 (Bamford, 2005; Maas, 2011). Do such removals transform politics or simply shut down the conversation? I am ending this essay about ways of seeing and ways of being in IR with Confederate monuments as the debate about their removal brings together several threads in this essay – what encounters with art can and cannot do for critical IR, what we can and cannot see when looking at art, and what the pernicious legacy of racism has done to American politics and, by extension, to American IR. On the one hand, it would seem that the polyvalence of artworks and photographs has made this essay possible. In addition, critical readings (including visual) of race have enabled anti-racist activists (and in some cases, the public) to demand changes in their environment. Yet, despite all this work, I do not have an answer to the one question that haunts me: whose face am I not seeing now? If a contemporary Edward Savage were to paint the First Family now, who would he have “hidden in the plain sight”?

Note 1 The title of this essay is an homage to the late John Berger, whose BBC documentary – and then book Ways of Seeing (1972) – taught so many of us that looking is a political act. And I could not have written this text without being inspired by the work of my colleagues – some senior, some still in graduate school – who continue to live and write critical IR, against all odds.

References Acharya, Amitav and Barry Buzan (2007) ‘Why Is There No Non-Western International Relations Theory? An Introduction’. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 7 (3), 287–312. Anievas, Alexander, Nivi Manchanda, and Robbie Shilliam (2015) Race and Racism in International Relations: Confronting the Global Colour Line. Abingdon: Routledge. Bamford, John (2005) ‘The Man Who Sold the War’. Rolling Stone, November 18. www.commondreams. org/headlines05/1118-10.htm. Berger, John (1972) Ways of Seeing: A Book. London: Penguin Books. Chow, Ray (2006) The Age of the World Target: Self-Referentiality in War, Theory, and Comparative Work. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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Ways of seeing/ways of being in critical IR Fielding, Mantle (1924) ‘Edward Savage’s Portraits of Washington’. The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 48 (3), 193–200. Gehred, Kathryn (2016) ‘Did George Washington’s False Teeth Come From his Slaves?: A Look at the Evidence, the Responses to That Evidence, and the Limitations of History’. Washington Papers. October 19. http://gwpapers.virginia.edu/george-washingtons-false-teeth-come-slaves-look-evidenceresponses-evidence-limitations-history/. Gonzalez, Mike (2017) ‘John Berger (1926–2017)’. Jacobin Magazine, January 6. www.jacobinmag.com/ 2017/01/john-berger-obituary-ways-of-seeing. Henderson, Errol A. (2015) ‘Hidden in Plain Sight: Racism in International Relations Theory’. Race and Racism in International Relations, Alexandar Anievas (ed.). Abingdon: Routledge, 19–43. Hirschfeld, Fritz (1997) George Washington and Slavery: A Documentary Portrayal. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press. Hobson, John M. (2012) The Eurocentric Conception of World Politics: Western International Theory 1760–2010. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hoover, Amanda (2016) ‘George Washington’s African-American Descendants Recognized after 200 Years’. The Christian Science Monitor, September 18. www.csmonitor.com/USA/2016/0918/GeorgeWashington-s-African-American-descendants-recognized-after-200-years. Hozić, Aida (2011) ‘Visuality and Geopolitics’. Political Geography 30 (3), 169–172. Hozić, Aida (2017) ‘The “Aesthetic Turn” at 15: Legacies, Limits and Prospects – Introduction’. Millennium: Journal of International Studies 45 (2), 201–205. Hudson, John (2013) ‘Down Goes the Dictator! A Visual History of Statue Vandalism’. Foreign Policy, March 5. http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/03/05/down-goes-the-dictator-a-visual-history-of-statuevandalism/. Inayatullah, Naeem (2017) ‘The Eternal Return of Benign Colonialism’. The Disorder of Things, October 7. https://thedisorderofthings.com/2017/10/07/the-eternal-return-of-benign-colonialism/. Inayatullah, Naeem and David Blaney (2004) International Relations and the Problem of Difference. London: Routledge. Lewis, Tom (2015) Washington: A History of Our National City. New York, NY: Basic Books. Maas, Peter (2011) ‘The Toppling: How the Media Inflated a Minor Moment in a Long War’. The New Yorker, January 10. www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/01/10/the-toppling. Morris, Errol (2011) Believing Is Seeing: Observations on the Mystery of Photography. New York, NY: The Penguin Press. Reinharz, Shulamit (1992) Feminist Method in Social Research. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Rogoff, Irit (1998) ‘Studying Visual Culture’. The Visual Culture Reader, Nicholas Mizroeff (ed.). London: Routledge, 24–36. Smith, Shawn Michelle (2004) Photography on the Color Line: W. E. B. Du Bois, Race, and Visual Culture. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Smith, Shawn Michelle (2013) At the Edge of Sight: Photography and the Unseen. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Sutton, Benjamin (2017) ‘Over 120 Prominent Artists and Scholars Call on NYC to Take Down Racist Monuments’. Hyperallergic, December 1. https://hyperallergic.com/414315/over-120-prominentartists-and-scholars-call-on-nyc-to-take-down-racist-monuments/. Thomson, Mary V. (2014) Journal of the American Revolution, June 19. https://allthingsliberty.com/2014/ 06/william-lee-and-oney-judge-a-look-at-george-washington-slavery/. Vitalis, Robert (2015) White World Order, Black Power Politics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Vucetic, Srdjan (2011) The Anglosphere: A Genealogy of a Racialized Identity in International Relations. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press. Wong, Alia and Adrienne Green (2016) ‘Campus Politics: A Cheat Sheet’. The Atlantic, April 4. www. theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/04/campus-protest-roundup/417570/. Zalewski, Marysia (1996) ‘“All These Theories Yet Bodies Keep Piling Up”: Theories, Theorists, Theorising’. International Theory: Positivism and Beyond, Steven Smith (ed.). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 340–353.

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9 NARRATIVE AND INQUIRY IN INTERNATIONAL POLITICS Elizabeth Dauphinee

Introduction In 1999, Professor Ann Denholm Crosby taught a graduate course at York University in Toronto entitled ‘Advanced Topics in Security Studies’. I attended this class as an MA student. I was 25 years old. All of us in the class were young, white, and North American (except for the European exchange student who leaned toward what the rest of us considered as fascism, although in hindsight, he was probably just a neorealist). As in most classes in critically-minded social science departments, we were deeply concerned with global social, political, and economic justice. We debated the problems of state-centric security practices, exclusionary and ethnocentric identity discourses, the ongoing pernicious effects of colonialism, poverty, war, and American empire. Like many students, I thought I strove for a more equal world. Like many students, I was full of ideas on how to change the world. I had little conception of how my position as a white American graduate student (in Canada, a white, English-speaking American is most certainly not perceived as an ‘immigrant’) had quietly authorized me and my classmates to identify the contours of the world’s problems and to proffer our solutions. Certainly, we all understood in an intellectual sense that we could not speak for ‘Others’. We understood that we were ‘privileged’ and that this privilege formed and shaped our understanding and our potential for engagement in ways that we needed to be hyper-aware of. But we were, and perhaps obviously, not aware of all the ways in which we were privileged, nor, perhaps could we be. Of course, we were all ‘for’ emancipation. As Samuel Knafo (2016) asks rhetorically, who would say they are against it? As advanced social science students, we imagined ourselves to be the authors of imminent, radical social change. But at one point during the course of that semester, Professor Crosby said to us, ‘you know, guys, you’re not going to be the beneficiaries of the change that you’re talking about. Radical social change does not happen in ways that allow people like us to retain our comforts. And this is how it should be.’ She leaned back in her chair and the room fell silent for a moment. Some of my classmates seemed to have no trouble absorbing this, because they began to discuss topics such as revolution and violent protest in the wake of her comment. But I was silenced. Her words troubled me. And they lingered in me. Like all the other critical theorists I know, I have spent the lion’s share of my career in a posture of ‘critique’. This posture often feels purely academic, in the pejorative sense of that 114

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word, in that it has mainly conformed to the expectations around what critique in the academy should look like – around which theories and methods should be utilized in order to develop arguments and propositions. Most importantly, conformity has expressed itself in how and what I write, in the tone I use, in the structure of my writing, in whom I cite, where I publish, when I apply for tenure or promotion, how I manage my time, and so on. We are all strategic animals, for better or worse. But the situatedness of our ‘selves’ across the multiple registers of our privilege rarely makes its way explicitly into our work. Perhaps, as Knafo (2016) argues, it is impossible for us to recognize in any transparent way the registers of privilege that we enjoy. But the structures of privilege and oppression are not immobile, and it is rare that we occupy only one of these subject positions at the same time. If our goal is to ‘understand’ the world, it would make sense that we must also understand ourselves, a point that seems crucial to any project that takes the word ‘critical’ as part of its method.1 But there is also no way to understand the self in any complete manner. We are formed in relation to others, and it is the nature of these relations that I am interested in exploring. I explore this relation through narrative because I think that narrative captures elements that other methods often miss – for example, opacity, contradiction, and surprise (see Ravecca and Dauphinee, 2018). These phenomena are things that we learn to ignore and deny in the process of professionalization in the university. We are socialized in our research life to discipline or marginalize these things. My interest here is in examining the experiences and impasses that we are trained to ignore, not because I wish to definitively resolve or overcome them, but to ask what may happen to the character and the goals of our research when we acknowledge and embrace these impasses. In other words, I am interested in what kinds of intellectual archives might be lurking in the spaces we choose not to illuminate. Through this discussion, we may come to understand more fully the type of critique that narrative approaches can offer.

Thinking across professional fractures While studying for graduate degrees in Political Science, I learned quickly that there were frameworks I had to use in order to engage in its debates. Every discipline has these established frameworks, although they may look slightly different in different fields of study. Early on in my training, I was not aware of those frameworks, nor that there were sealed, discrete approaches to the study of international politics. I had to be taught these things, and as a result, much of my education was less about understanding deeply what particular authors were saying, and more about positioning myself in relation to them. The goal of our training was not simply to become fluent in the debates that make up the academic discipline of International Relations, but also – crucially – to stake out the intellectual ground that we anticipated occupying in those debates. To put it plainly, it was about demarcating theoretical territory and advancing and defending it as our situation required. Many classes were conducted (both with and without the tacit encouragement of professors) in ways that were about drawing battle lines rather than deeply understanding and engaging with material. It was also evident that personal research motivations were subordinated to the pressure to define and defend a theoretical position within which research could then take meaningful shape. This was often good advice – after all, one must understand the relationship between one’s topical research and the approaches one might fruitfully use to study them. But it led to disconnects that were also political and disciplinary rather than intellectual. For example, I wanted to explore what I then thought of as ‘structural peacekeeping’. I had spent time in Bosnia – traveling there originally for love and for friendship – and what I witnessed in the context of my interviews with international administrators was a country 115

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that had been so utterly pathologized in the international imaginary that it was seen as fundamentally incapable of self-governance.2 And yet, that alleged state of congenital incapacity seemed to me to be perpetuated by the very international and structural organizations that claimed this to be so – the International Police Task Force, the officers of the NATO Stabilization Force (one of whom told me candidly in 1999 that ‘if we weren’t here, these people would still be killing each other’), the Organization for Stability and Cooperation in Europe, and the Office of the High Commissioner. I thought that one of the important reasons why the ‘international community’ could never exit Bosnia was because they themselves were perpetuating the belief that Bosnians were simply incapable of running their own country – ever. Hence, my question: how could international administration in Bosnia make an ‘ethical exit’ when they were complicit in perpetuating the logics of the violence? But when I began to be invited to participate in academic conferences on Bosnia, I quickly discovered that the academics who were interested in the ‘problem’ this country presented to the world were either openly hostile to this line of questioning, or simply disinterested in it. I sat alone at many a conference reception, a perceived Serb apologist in a room full of people who had built their careers on perceptions of Serbs as a juvenile, backward, and trans-historically violent people. The academics who studied the ‘problem’ of Bosnia did so from a theoretical approach that assumed the liberal democratic ethos and motivation of the international organizations, and their main interest was in correcting minor glitches in the peacebuilding process. They were not interested in a wholesale questioning of the very logics of the intervention or of foreign administration. Later, at a disastrous job interview, I presented a version of my critique of the logics of international law and the ways in which their pathologization of specific war crimes in turn made other crimes in war perfectly acceptable.3 I was met with a certain measure of outrage from the American politics specialists at the way I had called the logics of law into question.4 I began to see that I could not pursue my project, and for a long time, I felt the deep inadequacy and occasional despair that many academics feel when their projects ‘go wrong’. Generally speaking, there is a presumed objectivity in Political Science, and particularly in International Relations. And this objectivity is also presumed to equalize the global academic playing field. What I mean by this is that, via objectivity, people who live and work in places that have been marginalized – the gendered, classed, ethnicized, and racialized others who populate our research articles and monographs – are presumed to be perfectly hearable when they speak the language of universalism and of objectivity. In the process, however, the voices of those who do not wish to speak, or who are not able to speak, through this language are erased. Everyone must speak the same language – literally, figuratively, and theoretically. So, this is the first observation – some things are ‘off limits’ when it comes to proper academic inquiry – these may be methods and approaches or they may be empirical – the subjects of the discipline. There is also an expected ‘tone’ in academic writing – one that is marked by surety, argumentation, and conviction.5 But what of the research and findings that cannot be expressed in these ways? Objectivity, of course, presumes that the erasure of the biased self is not only possible, but desirable. However, objectivity obscures as much as it illuminates. It erases as much as it highlights. In this sense, my purpose is not to eradicate or challenge science, but rather to ask what science misses, and this in order to acknowledge the many layers of human ways of knowing. In IR, the people in the discipline who turned to other kinds of writing – autoethnographic, autobiographical, and other narrative, first person accounts – did so because they saw an opportunity to say what could not be said in other forms of academic social science writing. Specifically, this kind of writing was messy, non-linear, and ambiguous, in the sense 116

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that meaning is not self-evident or stable, nor is it universal. It does not confer any particular authenticity on the self (see Ravecca and Dauphinee, 2018). To tell a story – even one’s ‘own’ – does not mean that one is expressing truth. After all, we may be wrong about ourselves. We may be opaque to ourselves. It may be almost impossible to enact any sort of deep self-reflection with regard to our own research lives (Hamati-Ataya, 2014; Knafo, 2016). But this is a problem only if what we are looking to apprehend is an objective series of ‘findings’ about the way the world is and how it works. What if we are not so interested in these questions? What if, instead, our interest lies in examining how we understand the things we encounter? In what the role of the self in the production of knowledge actually looks like? What happens if we attempt to situate ourselves in our research, however imperfectly? Are we able to do that in a transparent way? What if we’re not? Does this change the nature of our ability to conduct research? The answers to these questions depend on how we see ourselves, really. They depend on whether we see ourselves as purveyors of facts, interpreters of facts, or creators of facts. It also depends on whether we are committed to ‘facts’ at all. Facts, after all, are just things we have more or less agreed upon and they are potentially meaningless in any objective sense. Consider the artefact of the international border. We do not encounter a natural barrier between countries on the ground to alert us that we have ‘crossed’ such a ‘place’. If we all agree the border ‘exists,’ then it can reach the status of truth very quickly.6 It becomes an ordering principle for human political life, even though we can trace its emergence in history very specifically. Roxanne Lynn Doty has examined the material consequences of the way the border is imagined, writing about the deadly journeys migrants make and of the emotional aspects of statecraft that animate American vigilante groups. Narrative scholarship may ask any number of first-order questions, but one of the foundational questions it must grapple with is whether attention to the role of the researcher in the pursuit of research affects the nature of that research. In other words, who is the person doing the knowing? In early expressions of standpoint epistemology, these questions were translated as sites of experiential knowledge. ‘I experienced x and therefore I have truthful knowledge about it.’ I don’t accept that this ‘truthfulness’ is inherent to experience. Just because I have an experience does not mean that I have access to the ‘truth’ about it. So, rather than distilling ‘truth’ from experience, I am interested in how experience connects to the social and to the theoretical. Experience is not a proving ground for theory. It is a reflection of the world that makes experience possible in the first place. What is the multifaceted, contradictory, discipline-resisting nature of this experience, and how does or should it emerge in scholarly inquiry? Is this attention just about revealing our motivations? Does it change the findings of research? Does it change the purpose of research, its motivations and its conduct? Megan Daigle (2016) writes that: IR knowledge … is co-constructed with interlocutors through a process that is nonlinear and uncertain. This is not a failure of research design or practice – or perhaps it is a kind of failure, but one that is not only inevitable but also illuminating, making for better research in the end. Stories that introduce uncertainty and contingency into scholarly writing help us realise this.7 Whether or not our research is ‘better’ for its attempts to reflect the messiness of life remains to be seen. But the goal of situating the self in this context is to ask what can be illuminated by this writing that other forms of academic writing are ill-equipped to analyze, including critical approaches. This is both a theoretical and a methodological question. It asks us to recognize that the stories we tell about the world are never just ‘ours’, but implicate and are implicated in a whole host of social relations. These relations may be the hierarchies of the 117

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academy, as outlined above, or they may be hierarchies associated with specific knowledges (see Cohn, 1987, for example), or they may be the social hierarchies that define and delineate our everyday lives. Recognizing that these stories are not just our own personal views and experiences, but that they instead comprise the fabric of our sociality is the theoretical value of approaches that use narrative to convey information. But our stories are also the product of the way we come to see the world, and this is particularly so through the way we are trained. How to examine the culture of professionalization that ‘makes us’ what we are is a question worth asking if we want to understand more fully the motivations for research and its processes. Writing on the form of narrative referred to as ‘autoethnography’ – the examination of one’s own background and experiences – Bochner and Ellis say that: The culture of inquiry in which many autoethnographers were socialized (and in many of the departments and institutions in which they worked) was one that required obedience to criteria, being methodical, laying down criteria in advance, showing an ability to predict in order to control, and adhering strictly to the distinction between objective and subjective, between science and art, between facts and values, and between the daylight of reason and the darkness of emotion. This culture would never be a validating or a comforting home for autoethnography because predicting and controlling is not what autoethnographers want to do. (2016: 213) Here, we see a fundamentally different goal for academic research – one that does not seek to make the author a transparent, immobile fixture through which new forms of established truth are expected to emerge. Rather, it is concerned with the functions of stories and storytelling in creating and managing identity; the expressive forms for making sense of lived experience and communicating it to others; the entanglements that permeate how interpersonal life is lived and how it is told to others; the relationship between storytellers and story listeners; and the canonical narratives that circulate through society, offering scripted ways of acting.8 Stories and storytelling are ways of illuminating fracture, not of consolidating identity. They offer a way of recognizing the mobility and the contradictions in our identities. For example, in The Politics of Exile I tried to show that the ‘war criminal’ was also other things – a loved friend, a dutiful son, an alienated exile. I tried to show that the position of the ‘professor’ was not purely one of erudition or privileged knowledge, but was also a site of deep neurosis, loneliness, and doubt. These fluid and mobile identities are never fixed except in the moments when we strive to nail them down for the purposes of judgment (as I’ve been doing all along here) – to research them, understand, indict or convict them, or to otherwise arrange them in fixed relation to one another. In other words, when we need for some reason (and some of these might be good reasons) to distill them into tangible, ‘knowable’ subjects. The suggestion here is not that we should be governed through relativism. I do not suggest that judgment is impossible. What I tried to show through the narrative form was that judgment is not easy, the categories we devise to capture social life are not clear or static, and that our commitment to objective knowability is often challenged by our interactions with others and in our daily lives. We face a world of contradictions, and the recognition that we make tacit decisions in IR to privilege one element or account over others often results in the denial of the existence of contradiction and the marginalization of those other accounts. We feel, in other words, that we need to iron out the wrinkles in an academic argument. But what happens if we allow the contradictions to exist, with all of the tension and uncertainty that this entails? 118

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Thinking across these fractures serves to challenge the conventions of what Bochner and Ellis call ‘silent authorship’.9 This is not about scholars assuming that they can be transparent to themselves, nor is it only about scholars looking for a way to express their personal connections to their research, or to those individuals and communities they engaged in their studies, but to explore the very limitations of what research is and can be. In IR, projects in this vein have been taken up explicitly by myself and by Naeem Inayatullah, Sarah Naumes, Paulo Ravecca, Himadeep Muppidi, Laura Shepherd, Richard Jackson, Megan Daigle, and Oded Löwenheim, among others, and those who have written essays for the two volumes on narrative and autobiography in IR edited by Inayatullah (2011) and by Inayatullah and myself (2016), as well as in the context of the Journal of Narrative Politics. Others in the field have either examined the role of narrative and autobiography in IR, such as Naumes, Brigg and Bleiker, and HamatiAtaya, or facilitated the autobiographies of people who are often researched in the field, but whose voices are seldom heard, such as Erin Baines’ work facilitating the memoir of Evelyn Amony.10 In some cases, the voices amplified are voices that have not been traditionally ‘heard’ in the academy. In other cases, they are voices that we know well, but only when they’re saying certain things – things we already agree with, or which validate our own findings.11 What can we hear and from whom can we hear it? Many scholars who raise this question do so from outside of IR, and it benefits IR scholars to consider work in other disciplines – such as anthropology, geography, and critical disabilities studies. Some of these disciplines have asked very useful questions around intelligibility in concrete contexts of lived experience. For example, Jenny Bergenmar, in her analysis of Shuman’s work, raises the question of ‘what stories are worth telling and who can make them worth telling in a certain social context’. She writes that ‘[t]ellability … relies on entitlement to experiences or ownership of experiences.’12 But this is also not absolute. For Bergenmar, writing about autistic authorial agency, the question is one of normativity – of what it means to be normal or typical – and it is about the intelligibility of a particular narrative. She notes, for example, that autistic authors attempting to write about their experiences as autistics have to paradoxically write for a neurotypical audience – to gesture toward ways of being that neurotypical audiences can understand – or else risk being unintelligible (read: irrelevant). I want to suggest that scholarly texts in IR also face such hurdles. In a discipline where authorial erasure, objectivity, prediction, and explanation lie at the heart of the methods of our craft, many alterations in form are rendered irrelevant before they can even enter the structures of debate and discussion. In other words, we can write about narrative as long as we do so in the logical, structured form and tone that are already accepted as the currency of academic exchange. It is important to note once again that narratives are not expressions of objective reality. Rather, they challenge the very nature of objectivity and they often do so in compelling ways. They are always partial and situated, though they attempt to make larger connections to the social structures that condition the experiences being examined. Agency is foregrounded, with the consequence that responsibility is a key feature of inquiry. For Maggio, quoting Jackson, narratives are a vital human strategy for sustaining a sense of agency in the face of disempowering circumstances. To reconstitute events in a story is no longer to live those events in passivity, but to actively rework them, both in dialogue with others and within one’s own imagination.13 This evokes the agency of the narrator – his or her ability to alter the perception of conditions over which one has little control. While this observation is primarily about empowerment, it also has the power to make narratives incredibly mobile, because those 119

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conditions are continuously changing. So, rather than ossifying ‘truth’, stories are instead oriented toward texturing human experience in a way that troubles the common-sense doxologies of IR scholarship and the accepted ways in which we live out our socially and institutionally scripted lives. They may not fundamentally alter the field, nor, perhaps, do we need them to. Narrative is not a panacea for the ills of social science. As with other approaches, it also risks totalitarianism. But the very thing that risks totalitarianism – narrative’s insistence on the overt experience of the author – also leaves us inherently open to debate and revision, as other perspectives or readings are elicited by way of a reader’s or listener’s response (see Ravecca and Dauphinee, 2018). To put it in the simplest terms, ‘narrative structure,’ as Maggio notes, ‘is supposed to make you think.’14 It is important to reiterate here that none of this is to suggest that we have more authentic access to ourselves than we do to others. On the contrary, we are inevitably opaque to ourselves. We often don’t recognize our own motivations and biases, and part of that may be because the ‘discipline’ of IR traditionally disallows the exploration and discussion of bias. Narratives give us opportunities to examine and question our own claims, not to definitively situate ourselves in a ‘real’ historical moment, but to examine how our trajectories and experiences have ultimately shaped – and often failed – us.15 It also gives the reader a way to intervene in and critique the scholarship in question. And, in this sense, the interactions of readers with narratives opens up a space of plurality and revision, eschewing the hierarchies of the academy, because it does not need hierarchies to govern its expression.

The impossibility of sovereignty Hierarchy is an explicit part of the research life in every university, although the confusing and complicated details around that hierarchy are often lost on the uninitiated. Assistant Professor, Lecturer, Associate Professor, Professor, Researcher, Teaching Fellow, Sessional Lecturer, Adjunct Professor, Teaching Assistant, and so on. These hierarchies often have nothing whatsoever to do with the acumen of the individuals who hold these titles nor with the quality of the work they do. Doctoral students are socialized within this hierarchy, and they learn early and well how this hierarchy works. They also learn early and well which are the right journals, the best presses, and the most prestigious and well-known researchers to align themselves with in the hopes of entering this hierarchy through a portal that will lead to the ‘top’ of the academic food chain. It is certainly not surprising, then, that the needs of this hierarchy and the pressures it produces for academics impact the type and substance of the research they are willing to undertake. In that sense, our research is strategic, even if it may be at times both empirically important and intellectually fulfilling. Thinking strategically involves limiting the risks that can be reasonably taken. When one is unable to take intellectual risks, one’s research cannot innovate. Innovation is a de facto risk. We worry about our professional reputations. I might be wrong. I might disgrace myself. I might not be able to publish my research in the ‘important’ journals. These things will impact my ability to rise in the ranks. But this professionalization also – if subtly – already identifies what are appropriate areas of inquiry and topics for research. It produces an archive wherein the safest writings are found. If academic research is painfully incremental in its advances, this is not because the rigors of science demand it, but because of the unarticulated recognition by those who research that they will be alienated from structures that demand compliance if they stray too far from what the discipline identifies as important. When we impart these messages to our students, they, too, learn that they should only ever offer ideas that they know they can fully defend. But what other kinds of archives can academic life produce? What have we hidden in order to subsist within the strictures of the ‘rules’ that direct our lives, both professionally and 120

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personally? More importantly, perhaps, how can/might we ever be able to recognize and access such hidden archives, when the writer creating them is crafted from the brick and mortar of the academy and the ethos of hierarchy within which it is enframed? If the poststructuralists are right, then we would peel and peel away our ‘layers’ of constructed skin and find underneath these nothing at all – no ‘core’ of unchanging substance. Our encounters with even our deepest selves do not produce any inherent form of authenticity. And if narrative forms are not about self-transformation, then they are nothing more, really, than different ways of achieving the goal of domination over the landscape of knowledge and experience. For me, narrative writing must be about self-transformation, whatever that might look like – and about the transformation of the world that makes and remakes this self, over and over again. It is also about the impossibility of these things. So here, we can say that the bridge that unites possibility with impossibility is the encounter. Naeem Inayatullah writes this in the following way: ‘if the slave is a slave to the master, the master is a slave to slavery. So regarded, the question becomes, how does our slave self speak to the master within us? How do we create this encounter?’16 Here, he points to the core of the problem I want to consider, which is the possibility that the narrative scholar examining herself has nothing to reflect on that will automatically illuminate an autonomous personhood. The examination of the self may well reveal nothing more than a master continuously and invisibly disciplining its others while remaining enslaved to the very intellectual and political logics she imagines herself resisting. The drive to situate the self in the conduct of research, then, may give us no access to an ethos that is much different from the one we espouse when we are writing for the ‘biggest and best’ academic journals. How, then, to set out the parameters, or even the guidelines, for critique using narrative? And why bother? The value is to consider how the world emerges – and how it can emerge – in the structures of what we write. The goal is to see what other archives of information are available to us and what insights they might offer. Some feminist IR scholars, for example, have shown (not just argued) how the personal is political, and much narrative scholarship owes a deep debt to the feminist tradition in IR this regard.17 Examining how we are structured and shaped by imperialism, nationalism, and racism – by our commitments to neoliberal world order and to patriarchal social relations – has transformative potential. Cynthia Enloe’s famous treatise that patriarchy works because those who are oppressed by it believe that it benefits them is particularly apt in this respect. But still, this is not a matter of false consciousness or the ‘eureka’ moment of mere awareness. The thing about belief is that it is hard to interrogate, and not just because it is painful to do so, but because it is probably impossible to locate all the aspects of our worldview that are so shaped by automatic thoughts which work in the service of imperialism, statism, and so on. Here is where I understand the crux of Inayatullah’s intervention to lie – that insofar as we are slaves to the ideational and material worlds within which we are situated, and insofar as our ‘selves’ are made politically possible (or not) only in that context, then we become expressions of that world and we are therefore, in effect, slaves to ourselves, and slaves to the things that preclude our ability to ever imagine ourselves differently. And yet, even in our ability to identify that problem as a problem, Inayatullah points to the heart of the way to do that – through encounter. How to create this encounter? How to create the encounter between the imperialized self and its others on the one hand, and the archives that were denied and destroyed before they ever had a chance to emerge, on the other? How to create an encounter between our slave and our master selves? And what does that encounter potentially look like? This is the question that I am most interested in as a way of thinking about what kinds of alternative archives are available to us as scholars using narrative methods. 121

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To be sure, some scholars are offering the recognition that we are really just a set of contradictions, in that our goals of ‘emancipation’ often result in little more than our own professional advancement. But even this is fraught and fractured, because it is not inconceivable to me that the people who need emancipation the most are the ones writing about others’ need for it. This is not a matter of deception, but of fracture. Jack Amoureux (2016: 40) notes that the self is a series of fractures. These fractures emerge in part because of the multiple registers in which we exist, and because of our varying capacities for agency across these registers. For Bourdieu, this results in the need for us to interrogate as far as possible our own milieus. He writes: The sociologist who chooses to study his own world in its nearest and most familiar aspects should not, as the ethnologist would, domesticate the exotic, but, if I may venture the expression, exoticize the domestic, through a break with his initial relation of intimacy with modes of life and thought which remain opaque to him because they are too familiar.18 There are two things to note here – one is the ‘making strange’ of our own worlds and ourselves within them; the other is the question of whether we can identify, circumnavigate, and theorize the worlds within which we are so completely entrenched that we cannot separate ourselves from their artifacts and what those artifacts make possible. Oil is one such artifact, elevated in such a totality to our ‘way of life’ that LeMenager (2015) argues we are almost unable to theorize it. Without oil, she argues, our objects and specific relations would all but disappear. We would cease to exist as we currently exist. This can also be expressed in the notion that we are subsumed or enslaved by the way we live such that we are unable (or virtually unable) to think and imagine beyond it. Other structures have similar power, such as capitalism and patriarchy. Those of us who have imagined ourselves resisting these things must also understand how we continue to be shaped by them – not in abstract, theoretical ways, but in concrete moments where we benefit enormously from the things we are opposed to. There is no pure way to be ‘opposed’ that is separate from the investments in the thing being opposed. We are always invested in violence, and in the violence that protects our privilege, both ideational and material. I think this is what Ann Denholm Crosby was trying to say. Stop rushing to nail down the problems of ‘the world’ and start examining your own investments in the way the world is.

Subjectivity and narrative How we are situated in the world matters for the way we write in our disciplines. It matters for how we choose our subject matter, for how we analyze our findings, and so on. However, it is writing from ‘the margins’ that has tended to be the mechanism through which writers are assumed to be both critical and reflexive, and through which the risks of elitism associated with privilege are ‘automatically’ kept in check. The inherent presumption here is that the voices of autobiographical and autoethnographic writers are marginal in relation to various forms of power. And the goal of much of this ‘personal’ writing has been to illustrate precisely such marginalization, with the attendant argument that attention to the personal has shown what objective social science writing, with its focus on neutrality and data, misses. Sites of marginalization can also be occupied by those who oppress (Ravecca and Dauphinee, 2018). Few who write autobiographically, autoethnographically, or narratively in IR do so from deeply marginalized positions in terms of their structural placement in relations of power. In other words, most of us are inserted in some way into the academy, and this secures a certain 122

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kind of privilege, even if that privilege is, as I have already noted, hierarchical and precarious. But this does not mean that the types of experiences and ‘knowledges’ that narrative IR brings to the field are not marginal. In this sense, narratives can disrupt those hierarchies by revealing how IR theorists themselves are constituted and damaged by violence (see, for example, Basberg Neumann and Neumann, 2015; Kumarakulasingam, 2014; Öberg, 2015). Narrative can allow us to examine the areas of scholarly life that are silenced by the needs of the academy. It allows us to situate our research, to disclose not meaningless, indulgent confessions, but the substance that forms the core of our research agendas and guides the way we think about our scholarship (Basberg Neumann and Neumann, 2015). But not only does it allow us to situate ourselves in our research, it allows us to illuminate that which is not considered proper to the research archive. It allows us, in other words, to build other sorts of scholarly archives – archives where our subjectivities are inherently tenuous and fractured (Munhazim, 2014; Nagar, 2014; Öberg, 2016), where our personal and social histories take shape (Basberg Neumann and Neumann, 2015), and where the resources we draw upon to make sense of our scholarly worlds are more expansive and inclusive of the contradictions and multi-situatedness of our experience. Our social realities, in other words, are deeply complex, sometimes surprising, and often challenge the established norms associated with the sealed containers of specific disciplines.

Conclusion Bourdieu (1988: 6) writes that: ‘When faced with the challenge of studying a world to which we are linked by all sorts of specific investments, inextricably intellectual and “temporal”, our first automatic thought is to escape … any suspicion of prejudice’ or bias. But ‘[t]here is no escaping the work of constructing the object, and the responsibility that this entails. There is no object that does not imply a viewpoint, even if it is an object produced with the intention of abolishing one’s viewpoint (that is, one’s bias) … ’ The assumptions around knowledge in the life of the university are many and varied, but they tend to cluster around the same set of principles with respect to who we are, what we do, and how we write. We occupy an intellectual terrain that produces rivalries between theorists; it provides an opportunity to consciously shore up one’s position through the anticipation of specific critiques; it provides the sense that the scholar can ‘withdraw from the game in order to conceptualize it … ’ allowing us to arrive at a ‘sweeping overview of the world, drafted from an external and superior point of view’ (Bourdieu, 1988: xiii). And, of course, one enjoys the privileges of membership in this game through the artifacts of university degrees and doctorates, hyper-professionalization, acquisition of scientific and theoretical languages, and so on. If, as Bourdieu (1988: xiii) notes, ‘the will to know is also a will to power’, what does this mean for narrative approaches that center meaning around the interrogation of experience? It could mean that we arrive at a deeper analysis of the complexity of the subjects that function on the basis that there is objective analysis, that it is analytically meaningful, and that anyone can operate within its logics. Autobiographical writing, even that which Hamati-Ataya would note is profoundly unreflexive, still reveals something about the subject who is, as Bourdieu (1988: xiv) puts it, ‘responsible for the work of objectification [within which he] is himself ensconced.’ Tracing the contours of our professionalization and digging around for the substance of what we subsumed in order to achieve professionalization in international politics is important to me. This is not because the content of that archive is inherently authentic or transformative, but because it gives us access to the complexity of existence, to our investments in what we think we are opposing, in our active complicity with structures of 123

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violence, and because it gives us the ability to examine how power mediates our intellectual and political commitments. It is not entirely possible, perhaps, to say what narrative ‘is’ or what its universal methods are. But we can arrive at an understanding of how it works by examining the ways in which we are created by the world and by the academy.

Notes 1 See for example, Amoureux and Steele (2016), Hamati-Ataya (2014). 2 David Campbell also examines the ethical implications of the ways in which the international community pathologized Bosnians, but he leaves Serb ‘guilt’ unproblematized. See National Deconstruction: Violence, Identity, and Justice in Bosnia. 3 This was not a big intellectual stretch. It drew on the work of Ann Denholm Crosby and J. Marshall Beier, in Rob Lawson, ed. 1999, To Walk without Fear. 4 This job talk was later published as ‘War Crimes and the Ruin of Law’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies 37, no. 1 (August 2008). 5 Paulo Ravecca and I refer to this as ‘fortress writing’. See ‘Narrative and the Possibilities for Scholarship’, International Political Sociology forthcoming. 6 See Roxanne Lynn Doty, ‘Fronteras Compasivas and the Ethics of Unconditional Hospitality’, Millennium 35, no. 1 (2006), pp. 53–74. 7 Daigle, ‘Writing the Lives of Others: Storytelling and International Politics’, Millennium (2016), 1–18. 8 Bochner and Ellis, 210. See also Ravecca and Dauphinee (2018). 9 Bochner and Ellis, 212. 10 Evelyn Amony was one of the wives of Joseph Kony. 11 Consider Iver Neumann’s discussion of his experience of childhood sexual abuse. An IR giant, it remains to be seen whether Neumann’s examination of his experience of abuse will remain peripheral to his ‘real’ disciplinary work. 12 Jenny Bergenmar, ‘Translation and Untellability: Autistic Subjects in Autobiographical Discourse’, LIR Journal 6 (2016), University of Gothenburg. 13 Michael Jackson quoted in Rodolfo Maggio 192. ‘The Unbearable Impossibility of Fieldwork: Ethnographic Dilemmas, Moral Laboratories, and Narrative Phenomenology,’ no cite. 14 Maggio 194–195. 15 See particularly Jenny Edkins, ‘Loss of a Loss,’ in Inayatullah and Dauphinee (eds.) and Ravecca and Dauphinee (2018). 16 Inayatuallah, ‘Memory Loss as Imperial Effect,’ The Duck of Minerva (2013). 17 See interviews with Zalewski, Mohanty, Enloe, Shepherd, el-Malik, and Sylvester on this point in Journal of Narrative Politics 2, no. 2 (2016). 18 Homo Academicus xi.

Bibliography Amoureux, Jack L. and Brent J. Steele (2016) Reflexivity and International Relations. London: Routledge. Basberg Neumann, Cecilie and Iver Neumann (2015) ‘Uses of the Self: Two Ways of Thinking about Scholarly Situatedness and Method’, Millennium 43 (3), 798–819. Bergenmar, Jenny (2016) ‘Translation and Untellability: Autistic Subjects in Autobiographical Discourse’, LIR Journal 6, 59–76. Bochner, Arthur P. and Carolyn Ellis (2016) ‘The ICQI and the Rise of Autoethnography’, International Review of Qualitative Research 9 (2), 208–217. Bourdieu, Pierre (1988) Homo Academicus. Peter Collier, trans. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Brigg, Morgan and Roland Bleiker (2010) ‘Autoethnographic International Relations: Exploring the Self as a Source of Knowledge’, Review of International Studies 36, 779–798. Campbell, David (1998) National Deconstruction: Violence, Identity, and Justice in Bosnia. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Cohn, Carol (1987) ‘Sex and Death in the Rational World of Defense Intellectuals’, Signs 12 (4), 687–718.

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Narrative and inquiry in international politics Daigle, Megan (2016) ‘Writing the Lives of Others: Storytelling and International Politics’, Millennium 45, 25–42. Edkins, Jenny (2016) ‘Loss of a Loss: Ground Zero, Spring 2014’. Narrative Global Politics, Naeem Inayatullah and Elizabeth Dauphinee (eds.). London: Routledge, 97–103. Hamati-Ataya, Inanna (2014) ‘Transcending Objectivisim, Subjectivism, and the Knowledge in-between: The Subject in/of Strong Reflexivity’, Review of International Studies 40 (1), 153–175. Inayatullah, Naeem (ed.) (2011) Autobiographical International Relations: I, IR. London: Routledge. Inayatullah, Naeem (2013) ‘Memory Loss as Imperial Effect,’ Duck of Minerva, September 16. http:// duckofminerva.com/2013/09/memory-loss-as-imperial-effect.html, accessed August 5, 2018. Inayatullah, Naeem and Elizabeth Dauphinee (eds.) (2016) Narrative Global Politics. London: Routledge. Knafo, Samuel (2016) ‘Bourdieu and the Dead End of Reflexivity: On the Impossible Task of Locating the Subject’, Review of International Studies 42 (1), 25–47. Kumarakulasingam, Narendran (2014) ‘Bloody Translations: The Politics of International Compassion and Horror’, Journal of Narrative Politics 1 (1), 61–75. LeMenager, Stephanie (2015) Living Oil: Petroleum Culture in the American Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Maggio, Rodolfo, ‘The Unbearable Impossibility of Fieldwork: Ethnographic Dilemmas, Moral Laboratories, and Narrative Phenomenology.’ Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford 8 (1), 190–206. Munhazim, Ahmed Qais (2014) ‘Blood, Body and Stain’, Journal of Narrative Politics 1 (2), 117–120. Nagar, Richa (2014) Muddying the Waters: Coauthoring Feminisms across Scholarship and Activism. Urbana, Springfield and Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press. Naumes, Sarah (2015) ‘Is All “I”IR?’, Millennium-Journal of International Studies 43 (3), 820–832. Öberg, Dan (2015) ‘Violent Fragments’, Journal of Narrative Politics 2 (1), 150–152. Öberg, Dan (2016) ‘Tomorrow the War Starts’, Journal of Narrative Politics 2 (2), 169–175. Ravecca, Paulo and Elizabeth Dauphinee (2018) ‘Narrative and the Possibilities for Scholarship’, International Political Sociology 12 (2), 125–138.

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PART IV

War, religion, security

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10 CRITICAL WAR STUDIES Shane Brighton

Introduction Many who teach, research and study within International Relations know it as an academic field – even the field – for which war is a definitive problem. As a discipline, it has long identified its origins within the university system as a response to the cataclysm of the First World War. Thereafter, war and peace have been recurrent issues for core theoretical debates, the subject of multiple research programmes and a key policy sphere with which International Relations scholars have sought to engage. In this at least, Critical War Studies’ emphasis on ‘war-centred’ scholarship does something quite conservative, apparently affirming the core problematic of academic International Relations. It does so however, through attending to literatures and intellectual programmes significantly outside International Relations’ traditional, Anglo-American core, scepticism about many of the presuppositions and findings of conventional research on war and indeed, questioning the limits within which – whatever its view of itself – the discipline knows about war at all. This chapter outlines Critical War Studies from the perspective of one of the researchers who formulated that phrase. Drawing on earlier and current work, it lays out a way of thinking about war: a set of conceptual and analytical orientations that take the transformative, disordering powers of war seriously. While some formulations may be novel, Critical War Studies draws upon a long-standing, diverse set of traditions concerned with reflection on war and its place in human life. In part, its ambition is to synthesise and present these in new ways as a counter-canon for war-centred scholarship. Nonetheless, the general focus of the sections below is on approaching knowledge about war as a site of politics rather than surveying those scholarly resources inside and outside International Relations on which this approach draws. The opening sections outline some key points of departure from disciplinary International Relations and security studies. In doing so, they reflect on the international political conjunctures in which Critical War Studies took form. The second half discusses two core concepts: the first being that, in addition to its obvious destructiveness, war should be understood as a ‘generative’ phenomenon. The second, ‘war/truth’, attempts to provide a critical, analytical frame for thinking about that which is generated. The chapter ends with some brief, forward-looking observations about critique, war and intersectionality. 129

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War decentred: the obscure object of International Relations The imperative towards a ‘war-centred’ approach derives from a set of critical observations about traditional International Relations scholarship. Despite many important insights, the defining schools of International Relations theory consistently ‘decentre’ war through explaining it as an outcome of more fundamental processes and relations (Barkawi and Brighton, 2011). War, first, is something to be explained through a totalising account of that which ‘causes’ it; for example, competition and failed power balancing under conditions of anarchy, or absence of free trade and democratic governance, imperial competition and the contradictions of capitalism and so on. As a study of ‘order’, international theory has thus tended to present war as historical interregnum between and a departure from sets of relations that can be properly described. One symptomatic outcome is a tendency for International Relations textbooks and curricula – even the best – to use war as a kind of periodising device. The Second World War, for example, frequently appears as a thinly attended-to interruption between International Relations during the preceding ‘Twenty Years Crisis’ and what emerges after 1945. In obvious and important ways, of course, international order after 1945 was distinct from the interwar period. But serious consideration of how, exactly, war functions as a transformative, productive phenomenon for that distinction is rarely considered. When war is included moreover, this is often in the form of specialised chapters looking at the historical transformation of war as a discrete phenomenon.1 The basic insight that war is transformation and not just its consequence, the question of what might be understood about it as such, the conceptual and analytical challenge of theorising it in this way, are lost or – as issues of secondary interest – underdeveloped.

The logics of instrumentalism A second cause of decentring is a tendency to presuppose the instrumentality of war – that is, its utilisation for a given purpose – as the most important aspect for understanding it. Even schools of thought traditionally counterposed, such as liberalism and realism, share a core assumption that war is above all an instrumental means by which elite ends and interests are pursued. This is particularly apparent in realism, which frequently provides students’ first encounter with the systematic study of war and in various forms dominates war-oriented subdisciplines such as security and strategic studies. Here an oft-cited and concise formulation of wars’ instrumental nature is offered by Carl von Clausewitz, the 19th-century Prussian officer and philosopher of war. Clausewitz’s famous dictum – at least as translated in the standard English edition of On War – suggests that war is the ‘continuation of policy by other means’ (1976: 83). Thereby, it is apparently affirmed as the instrument of princes described by ‘classical realists’ such as Machiavelli and Hobbes. The elevation of this particular statement by Clausewitz however, alongside the tendency to reduce ‘politics’ to ‘policy’ arguably marginalises his wider, more nuanced account of what war is and the wider social and political dynamics that shape it, indicating a tendency to retrospectively discipline war studies into servicing the needs of elites. To be sure, interpreting war as an instrumental means through which power is contested, distributed and organised is important. Nor is it a sole preserve of realism, since threatening war to control its use by others is key to concepts of collective security on which various schools of liberal internationalism rest. The Democratic Peace Thesis, another key aspect of liberal thought on war, entirely presupposes – seeks to ‘measure’ – a causal relation between war and relations between regime types (Doyle, 1997: 258–299; Barkawi and Laffey, 2001: 1–25). Again, war is explained as a consequence of more fundamental, analytically prior, causes or as a phenomenon 130

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whose relevant aspects are determined by those for whom it is an instrument or problem of policy. In each case, it appears as an important adjunct to more fundamental concerns. Such observations do not in themselves licence rejection of ‘mainstream’ scholarship, the insights of strategic and security studies or the need for policy-relevant knowledge. The purpose rather is, first, their appropriation as instances of war presenting itself as a knowledge problem and, second, critical analysis of the limits to understanding they introduce. An initial sense in which Critical War Studies is ‘critical’ then, is this insistent focus on the relations between such limits, the conduct of war and its wider – public – meaning. These connections will be returned to. For now, several points follow. This section has suggested that there is utility and insight in understanding war as a means with which to pursue the ends of policy. But this utility cannot justify a totalising presupposition that war is a means for the pursuit of the ends of policy, or that studying it as such is adequate. As a discipline, International Relations has tended to a paradoxical condition in which war is declared a defining problem while, for the most part, being decentred by discussion of its ‘causes’ or the need to produce policy-relevant knowledges. The consequence is a frequently unreflective and theoretically limited field of the sort that might follow, for example, from the reduction of sociology to the study of social policy or fine art to museum management. Both social policy and museum management are essential, but – as practitioners within them would be the first to admit – wholly inadequate as conceptual frames for the wider phenomena to which, respectively, they refer. A foundational question emerges then, about how and for whom the instrumentalisation of war is asserted and the alternative knowledges and experiences it subordinates.

‘Securing’ war: the critical conjuncture This sketch of International Relations is necessarily reductive, ignoring the discipline’s post-positivist turn and the expansion in critical research agendas that accompanied it: a transformation enriched and accelerated by the end of the Cold War, the ‘New Wars’ that followed and – for many – a prevailing sense of disciplinary failure to satisfactorily predict or explain both. The early iterations of Critical War Studies thus emerged from a period of war-generated crisis and intellectual pluralisation. Most importantly, however, the post-Cold War decade was a period in which the nature and meaning of war were dramatically reframed. For many policy makers in Western governments and international organisations the USSR’s collapse marked an unprecedented historical break. The ‘New World Order’ would be marked by universal recognition of liberal internationalism as a necessary end-state. As a correlate, the ‘international community’ was largely assumed itself to have developed beyond war as an existential contest in which combatants might fight not just for survival or advantage, but over alternative, ideologically meaningful paths to political self-determination. Only one such path, one developmental direction and one destination remained: the harmonious peace of Western liberal modernity. The Cold War, after all, had consistently turned ‘hot’ in places where developmental models were contested; these being integral not only to the competing ideological frameworks of East and West but, more importantly, the geopolitical practices through which they competed for influence in the global South. In short if, as the influential conservative philosopher Francis Fukayama had argued (1992), history had ‘ended’ in 1989, and war was an engine of historical change, then war in the historical sense had finished. Freed from Cold War competition, Western military power was restructured and reconceived not so much as a means for war, but rather ‘intervention’ to manage the violent, life-threatening consequences of Others’ under-development (Duffield, 2001; 131

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Dillon and Reid, 2009). This interventionary imaginary produced two particularly important consequences for knowledge about war and the manner of its conduct. The first was a distinct, purportedly objective relation to war as a knowledge problem. Now above all a relation between non-Western Others, wars could be comprehensively categorised and understood as versions of conflict dynamics – nationalism, ethnicity and other particularisms – the West had already experienced historically, but transcended. Some analysts of conflict and the new global order made this teleology explicit, analysing combatants against a purportedly single developmental scale as ‘pre-modern’ or ‘neo-medieval’ (Cooper, 1996; Rennger, 2000). Alternatively, conflicts could be understood as expressions of degenerate, essentially criminal or sub-political motives of greed or grievance (Keen, 2000). Participants in ‘New Wars’ therefore, were not involved in the application of force to pursue political ends in the Clausewitzian sense. Supposedly ‘post-Clausewitzian’ combatants – ‘Warlords’ – in the Balkans, the Horn of Africa and elsewhere did not challenge the late modern condition of global liberal democracy, but rather sought to create spaces of exception from which they could extract wealth (Kaldor, 2007; cf.: Reno, 1999; Duffield, 2001; Hirst, 2001). Securing the meaning of war permitted a developmental differentiation of societies and the forms of organised violence to which they found themselves subject: in effect, the differentiation of a zone of war in which the post-historical West could militarily ‘intervene’. The West itself by extension, existed as a universal end-state which only very exceptionally would require military defence. Rather, the necessity was to secure the West and manage ‘risks’ to the extraordinary range of human goods associated with it (Gow, 2004; Duffield, 2007; Gregory, 2010). The second dynamic introduced by the re-imagination of war in interventionary terms, then, was a widespread disposition amongst policy makers and academics – critical and otherwise – toward analysing armed conflict as one ‘threat to security’ amongst others (Booth, 1997; Buzan, Wæver and de Wilde, 1998). Correspondingly, the very real intellectual flourishing of academic International Relations centred not on a revivified war studies, but the expansion of security studies toward engagement with a ‘wider security agenda’. This again decentred war or, as one of the founders of Critical Security Studies was to describe it, the ‘merely military’, for the sake of security as an apparently more fundamental analytical category (Booth, 1997; Barkawi, 2011; cf.: Aradau, 2012). Beyond the core problematic of critiquing instrumentalised understandings of war therefore, the post-Cold War decade foregrounded questions about how the idea of war itself could be transformed instrumentally in the service of wider projects of global ordering. The developmental assumptions about the privilege and capability of Western armed force, about the wars amongst the West’s others, prompted a turn toward postcolonial literatures. Frequently weak on analysing war itself (Barkawi, 2013), these at least provided a frame for thinking critically about the place of war and military affairs in the production of knowledge about the Global South and the West’s historic uses of ‘interventionary’ violence (Barkawi and Laffey, 2006; Porter, 2009; Barkawi, 2016). The growing body of poststructuralist IR theory, moreover, foregrounded the circulation of Western political discourse regarding nationhood, territory and identity and its outcomes for the organisation and use of force (Campbell, 1992, 1998; Dillon and Reid, 1996). In ways returned to later in this chapter, the spatial logics and epistemic certainties of this order were violently disrupted by the attacks of 9/11 and the, in Derek Gregory’s phrase, ‘everywhere war’ that followed (Gregory, 2011). Above all, the ‘Othering’ and displacement of war as an existential struggle became unsustainable – rightly or wrongly – within Western public discourse in ways that were to both intensify and further hybridise the wider security agenda with military means. Now when, within Western imagination, war had become historically transcended, exteriorised into ‘ungoverned 132

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spaces’ elsewhere, made knowable and subject to global governance, it returned to violently rework the Western politics of social cohesion, identity and citizenship, public space, economic ‘resilience’ and more.

The worlds war makes: generative ontology and war/truth Important as it is to historically situate Critical War Studies, as a scholarly project it has always aspired to a more general analysis of past, present and future war and the work of thinking about its place within human affairs. This section summarises some of the central ideas by which, in current thinking at least, this might be achieved. The first is the assertion that war is importantly understood as ‘generative’ in character and a set of closely associated claims about the centrality of ‘fighting’. The second concept leads on from this and seeks to provide an account of what, most importantly, is generated: namely, a complex constellation of discourse and practice described as ‘war/truth’. In presenting these, I seek to show how they function as a critical engagement with some of the prevailing ideas in post-Cold War debate while equally providing a more general frame for thinking.

Generative war and critical thought: fighting, meaning and excess The idea that war is a generative force in human affairs is very old (Brighton, 2013). A certain version of it, moreover, is a commonplace in international theory in the sense associated with Charles Tilly’s observation that: ‘war made the state, and the state made war’ (Tilly, 1975: 42). It is worth attending to both parts of this statement. The first can be taken to refer most significantly to the ‘military revolution’ in Early Modern Europe, the history and sociology of which forms one of the most substantial scholarly literatures in war studies. Here, a loose consensus exists that historical processes of military competition, enhanced by the introduction of gunpowder to the European battlefield, significantly escalated the governmental and economic demands on war-waging powers (Parker, 1998; Hirst, 2001: ch. 1–2; Malešević, 2010: ch 3–4). Developments in battlefield technologies such as mobile field artillery and reliable, easily produced firearms significantly increased casualties and, correspondingly, pressure to raise, organise and fund larger standing armies. These in turn generated new techniques of taxation and fiscal governance as well the centralised, state-led organisation of militarily significant spheres of knowledge and practice such as education, medicine, engineering and town planning (Malešević, 2010: 115). The cumulative outcome was that, because of its superiority as a warfighting unit, the nation-state surpassed a multitude of other socio-political forms – dukedoms, principalities, guilds, leagues and so on – as the principle unit for governance (Hirst, 2001). At the same time, the necessity and capacity of war-waging powers to strategise the production and organisation of relevant knowledges was the site of an intimately related, wardriven transformation. Tellingly, this generative history of war is bracketed off within academic International Relations to reify the second half of Tilly’s formulation – the system of war-waging states – as its field of study. War thereafter is no longer productive of the state but, as an instrument of policy, presupposed as one of its capacities. Attention to the generative function of war has largely remained the concern of a sophisticated but relatively peripheral group of neoWeberian sociologists and social theorists who continue to emphasise its productive role in state and society (Mann, 1986; Hirst, 2001; Joas, 2003). It is an idea, moreover, that many associate with various forms of reactionary, ‘vitalist’ militarism and an aestheticised vision of violence itself as somehow ‘creative’ (Arendt, 1970, 1998; Swift, 2013; Bartelson, 2016). That 133

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the generative dynamics of war have been subject to ideological appropriation however, neither disproves their existence nor removes the need to make them objects of critical scholarship. Foregrounding the generative dimensions of war neither ignores nor trivialises its violence and destruction. It does however, open the way for analysis of what is generated, how it is generated and the relation of this to past, present and future violence. Beyond descriptive fidelity to war as phenomenon moreover, the generative view indicates a radical democratic commitment. The overwhelming majority of people reading this chapter, studying International Relations at university or conducting research will never make the decision to send a nation to war. They will never use war as an instrument. All of us however, in varying and complex ways, are subjects of war-generated, transformative, discourses, events and processes. All of us live with the legacies and demands imposed by decisions about military necessity. Quite aside from that which war-waging powers intend to generate, the critical sense of generative war is intended to open these myriad, every day, lifeworld consequences to scrutiny. Critical War Studies, therefore, exposes the tensions between instrumental objectives and what Clausewitz called ‘the comet’s tail’: wars’ cumulative, unasked-for and frequently unforeseen product. At issue, then, is less the question of whether war is destructive or generative than what might be said of the relations that exist between these aspects. This takes us to the ontology of war: what and how, in the most enduring sense, war is. An initial phenomenology of the sort developed by Clausewitz, but reflecting most common understandings of the term, centres on ‘fighting’: relations of organised, purposive armed violence between socio-political groups and the forms of mobilisation and organisation needed to support them. No account of war can ignore fighting: the question is that of its relation to wider, frequently diffuse social and political consequences. While Clausewitz had mainly set-piece land battles in mind, the term ‘fighting’ can equally be extended to the dispersed, protracted violence of (counter)insurgency and (counter)terrorism. What defines it is less duration, intensity or specific types of combatants than the reciprocal, adaptive dynamic produced by their efforts to improvise, deceive and counter each other. The ideal objective is a clear, decisive outcome. Such outcomes are not always straightforward however, since the clarity of victory and the terms of a decision admit contestation and disparity of perspective. A paradox of strategic thought, then, is that it pursues victory as an objective condition while subjectively imagining what would constitute victory and defeat for both parties. (Consider for example, the disconnect between US assumptions about the finality of their 2003 military victory in Iraq and the reality of the insurgency it created.) Strategic thought, therefore, seeks to impose conceptual clarity on the activity and consequences of fighting, while fighting itself produces a field of divergent experience, often obscure events and consequences that must be interpreted and given meaning at the time and subsequently (Keegan, 2004). War is generative in the sense that the outcomes of fighting always exceed its intent. The importance of this excess becomes more evident when we consider another definitive aspect of fighting: killing and material destruction. In strategic idiom, the object is always to reduce these to actionable metrics of advantage and disadvantage, victory and defeat. Consider for example, the sense-making role of the ‘body count’ in Vietnam or more generally, military formations and equipment destroyed (or not) in battle. The technological and human means of waging war however, are inextricable from a far wider world of social meaning than strategic metrics express. Even when presented as data to a public largely willing to accept them as such, the bodies of dead Vietnamese registered as martyrs to many of their countrymen and evidence of horrific folly to the US anti-war 134

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movement. They form part of the continued, contested legacy of a war whose consequences extend way beyond its formal duration and subsequent US defence policy. In complex and uneven ways, even the most abject and least-mourned objects of wars’ destruction can impose a demand for sense-making, for generation of new forms of interpretation, understanding and legitimation. In this way, the outcomes of war go way beyond the site of fighting. The most conventional, set piece engagements employ material and human means derivative from and consequential for a wider, non-military world of meaning. War may make dead bodies but, in this way, it also plays a profound role in making live bodies live the lives they do.

War/truth: power, knowledge and truth economies Accepting the broad argument about the generative powers of war requires us to recognise that little in human life goes unaffected by it. Consequently, in ways that are challenging, enabling and problematic, the potential field of phenomenon to which Critical War Studies attends is extraordinarily broad. The research and scholarly communities that might be engaged become dramatically wider, as do the range of marginalised or excluded constituencies, experiences and perspectives that can be introduced. The danger exists, however, for research to become an excessively descriptive activity in which war-generated aspects of politics and society are traced ad nauseam, without purpose beyond the necessity to ‘add in’ information. An imperative for critical research though, is to go beyond merely introducing marginalised experiences and perspectives and provide a fuller account of why and with which ongoing consequences they are excluded. To address these questions Critical War Studies introduces a new conceptual and analytical framework: ‘war/truth’ (Barkawi and Brighton, 2011; Brighton, 2013). Deriving from Foucault’s power/knowledge schema, the war/truth concept is intended to foreground and clarify the powerful constitutive circuits that exist between war making, politics and society. It provides a means to trace the generation, circulation and effects of the knowledges and truth claims that shape, privilege or exclude understandings of war, dispose us toward violent conflict in future and have consequences for how war is conducted. A logical starting point for war/truth research is the forms of discourse produced by warwaging powers: a category which includes state governments, but not exclusively. In a juridical sense, of course, states are presumed to be significantly defined by their monopoly on legitimate resort to war and internal use of force. The power/knowledge framework, however, orients us away from formal, juridical claims and the will and reason of sovereigns as adequate to the analysis of power. Among Foucault’s insights, importantly, was the idea that exercising power in any given society requires an ‘economy’ of the ‘discourse of truth’ (1980: 93). The term ‘economy’ is important, indicating how power functions not only – or even most importantly – through suppressing contradictory truth claims or systems of knowledge, but rather through participation in the broader, society-wide frameworks by which the relative value of claims are determined. Most governments, for example, cannot control the extraordinary range of narratives, images and other information about war that emerge from media coverage, NGO monitoring, lobby groups, popular history, military memoirs, cinema and TV depictions and so on. To successfully retain war-waging powers, however, they are required to present their own knowledges and forms of understanding as authoritative. War/truth analysis, therefore, foregrounds the production of public truth about past, present and future war. It does so, however, with the assumption that war-waging powers are required to participate successfully within a heterogeneous field that is never entirely theirs to control, responding to and managing knowledge about war as well as producing it. 135

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This is perhaps at its most obvious in the management of public perception during conflict. Returning to Vietnam, for example, in the final years of the war the US government recognised itself to be strategically limited not only because of enemy action, but just as importantly by public mistrust of its official narrative about that action and – whatever the body count might suggest – their capacity to defeat it (Gartner and Myers, 1995). This vulnerability is not limited to states. Intercepted in 2005, a well-publicised communique between the then deputy leader of al-Qaeda and the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq was primarily concerned with the need improve perceptions of violent insurgency within Sunni populations across the Middle East (Al-Zawahiri, 2005). The importance of truth work is further affirmed by the extensive investment in media and communication by jihadi groups seeking to answer their critics and assert a war-determined account of religion, politics and identity. Sustaining an authoritative relation to war-waging power requires a multitude of diverse truth work, of which not all are fully public. Indeed, the credibility of defence and war preparation may rest in part in successful management of public perceptions about hidden knowledges. Consider, for example, the UK and US invocation of subsequently discredited intelligence sources in making the case for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Amongst other activities, a public dossier supporting the case for invasion and invoking secret intelligence was released by the UK government and later found to largely comprise material plagiarised from a graduate researcher’s dissertation, key terms of which had been altered to suggest a higher level of threat (Al-Marashi, 2006). This was consistent with US and UK leaders’ expressions of certainty about the case for invasion. The subsequent UK public enquiry, however, concluded that intelligence had been selectively presented and did not support this case as it had been communicated (UK House of Commons, 2016: 115–116). Public invocation of intelligence in this way reflects a general belief that it provides a more authoritative form of knowledge than that offered by academics, journalists and other non-governmental analysts even when – as with the ‘dodgy dossier’ – governments may borrow liberally from such sources. Beyond intimating the power of secret knowledges, war-waging powers may suggest a superior position regarding a multitude of other, militarily relevant expertise. This may extend from new technologies to the psychology of personnel selection, trauma treatment, cultural understanding of foreign populations and overseas economic development. In part, then, war/truth manifests as a complex governance of knowledge in which the technical-strategic imperatives of military competitiveness intersect with knowledge production as such, as well as the public meaning of past, present and future war. War-waging powers then, are not only knowledge producers but extraordinarily powerful agents in consuming, organising, privileging and resourcing the intellectual labour of others. As James Der Derian has argued, these knowledges extend beyond the narrowly technical to include, with varying success, innovation in media and entertainment (Der Derian, 2008). This not only indicates that systems of representation be understood for enhancing battlefield effects and managing their public consumption, but a far broader circuit between war and culture production with which governments are required to engage. The extraordinary range of war/truth dynamics can only be intimated here. This section has suggested the importance of an authoritative relation to war that goes beyond the juridical sense of ‘legitimate authority’. Instead, war-waging powers are required to successfully negotiate war/truth economies: producing effective knowledges and maintaining public trust in them. This requires an incessant assaying of knowledge production as such. States are powerful consumers of knowledge, thereby resourcing and privileging its production according to their perceptions of need. The dynamism of war/truth consists not only in the continual transformation of knowledge, however, but in the ceaseless power of war itself to undermine and destroy certainties. In this sense, the fate of governments is wagered in part on 136

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the veracity of knowledge claims and the capacity to sustain public belief in their competence. War itself therefore, through the contingency and unpredictability of fighting, has the power to transform truth economies. In doing so, it may violently re-order systems of knowing, being and doing, thereby producing new problematics.

Generating societies: identity, memory and narrative power That war is unpredictable, dynamic and relational might appear obvious. Consider though, the extraordinary amount of war-related behaviour interpreted through essentialised accounts of combatants’ identity – that is, as expressions of a pre-existent, deterministic culture, ideology, civilisation, religion, nationality and so on – even when making such assumptions is a source of military disadvantage (Porter, 2009). From this perspective, fighting should be considered inseparable from the work of interpreting and imagining Self, Others and the field of relations between them. Sameness and difference are both presupposed in mobilisation and, in the public meanings later attributed to victory and defeat, reinscribed in new forms: for example, framing defeat in ways that suggest its causes have been transcended, or justifying the costs of victory. Consequently, war tends to divide its historic meaning amongst those involved. To the extent to which this is politically problematic, such divisions may themselves prove generative as powers seek new, shared institutions and understandings. The European ideal after 1945, for example, required transcendence of markedly different national experiences. To succeed, an account of causes and justifications had to be generated with sufficient traction to legitimate new, binding transnational institutions and for some of its adherents, a supranational identity. (A process accelerated by growing acceptance of a new, common enemy to the East and potentially ‘within’, as well as the military-economic benefits of a North Atlantic military alliance.) An older vision of civilised Europe was reinvented thereby, founding new institutions and transcending violence of historically unprecedented scale with remarkable success. The meanings of fighting therefore, must be generated for both war and peace to be waged. As such, they provide an enduring, potent framework for the constituting group identities. The periodising device of wartime provides a basic grammar for a multitude of collective narratives, whether national or – as appears increasingly the case – cultural and civilisational (Hanson, 2002; Dudziak, 2012). Few national symbols and narratives lack reference to military encounters, as a tour of the monuments and statues at the centre of most European capitals will confirm. In the wider world shaped by European empire and its legacies, post-colonial elites have generated and contested European-style national ideas through reference to violent struggle against imperial domination in various forms (Guha, 1988). Countries such as Germany, where experiences of total defeat make public memorialisation less common, may be differently but no less profoundly marked by communal legacies of war and the search for their meaning. Divided and divisive legacies moreover, may generate incommensurable claims and perceptions within, as well as between, polities. Here as elsewhere the constitutive tension between the military past and war/truth is importantly evident. The spatial-political partition of Ireland in 1921, for example, ended the War of Independence, founded an independent polity but almost immediately generated the societal schism of the Civil War and an enduring insurgency. Elsewhere, wartime conflict between fascists and communists shaped political violence decades after Axis defeat. In post-1945 France, a new national history of resistance provided a means to reconstruct national identity and diminish defeat and collaboration. Beyond asserting technical-strategic competence therefore, war-waging powers are required to situate themselves and their actions within a societal ‘war-story’: whether these emphasise 137

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virtuous consistency or radical disconnect from historical experience. Thus, while German politicians may seek to distance contemporary defence policy from the past, British politicians have invoked the ‘good war’ against Hitler to explain and justify force in almost every major deployment since 1945: a record including expeditions as diverse as the 1956 Suez invasion, the Falklands War of 1982, the 1991 Gulf War, various Balkan interventions and more recently the 2003 invasion of Iraq. More extreme, neo-conservative ideologues of the US-led War against Terror have invoked Spartan defence of Classical Greece against Persia both as an analogue for current operations and evidence of an enduring need for active military ‘defence’ of the West against oriental enemies (Hanson, 2002; Ricks, 2014). Whatever the richness and diversity of the historic record may suggest, past military encounters apparently provide resources of unmatched potency for essentialising the continuity of identity and the danger of armed Others.

Critical War Studies looking forward: war/truth at (and as) the intersection Since 9/11, affirmations of a ‘Western Way of War’ supposedly extending uninterrupted across millennia from Classical Greece have been evident in academic and non-academic military histories, popular culture such as the 300 movie franchise as well as soldiers’ graffiti on the walls of Forward Operating Bases in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. These not only suppose the presence of an enduring, implacable, non-Western existential threat, but the equally enduring necessity of Western societies organised around politically privileged, elite military defenders. As a symptomatic turn within war/truth, this indicates the intellectual shock of 9/11 consisted less in revelation of dangerous, external Others than new vulnerabilities to insurgents operating simultaneously from the global periphery and – indistinguishably – inside the West itself (Devji, 2005). The immediate and enduring result was a radicalisation of the security logics of the previous decade. But military power was also reimagined to legitimately pre-empt, punish and deter enemies now regarded as a source of meaningful ideological competition. Spatial and societal assumptions separating the violently underdeveloped from pacific modernity were undone in other ways. The post-Cold War security imaginary conceptualised military intervention as a mono-directional projection of force by an ‘intervener’ into a ‘target’ state. Now, however, extensive military deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan produced a circuit of mutual constitution, with state–society relations of targets and interveners alike undergoing profound (if unevenly violent) war-driven transformations. This produced novel security knowledges centring on ‘radicalisation’, ‘resilience’ and ‘cohesion’. These domestic(ating) projects, however, could never be made entirely separable from the spectacle of force, as extensive killing and dying in the Middle East – mediated and circulated with unprecedented speed and intensity – necessitated new efforts at truth-work and meaning making. The nature and extent of warfighting in the opening decades of the 21st century then, foregrounded and affirmed its power of social transformation. Among the least surprised by this are feminist scholars and activists. Arguably the most important contribution to critical scholarship on war of all, the quality of feminist thought reflects a politically heterogeneous tradition, intensity of disagreement over what exactly ‘the war question’ is and how it should be answered (Sylvester, 2005, 2011). Fundamentally for many feminist scholars, patriarchal social and political order is central to what makes war wagable and a marked historical correlation exists between ‘militaristic’ societies and institutionalised sexism (Elshtain, 1995; Reardon, 1996). In one regard, then, gendered order facilitates warfighting to the extent that 138

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the former is presupposed in the strategic knowledges and practices of war-waging powers (Enloe, 1989, 2000). Like other forms of war/truth, however, gender norms are subject to the destabilising effect of changing knowledge economies and the impact of war itself. Thus, military preparation and conduct also requires new, gendered, truth-work. Archetypes of hypermasculinised ‘warriors’ and hyperfeminised ‘beautiful souls’ must be repeatedly reconstructed and re-articulated in the context of social and military transformation (Jeffords, 1989; Elshtain, 1995). The politics of the war question in feminism follows from recognition that scholarship and activism, whatever its intent, is never entirely external to the strategic circulation and capture of knowledge (Hutchings, 2011; Kronsell and Svedberg, 2011). Partially because of gender equality initiatives, for example, women are being increasingly recruited into combatant roles. Critical knowledges about the constructedness of gender and the military privilege of male bodies are thus, paradoxically, operationalised in new forms of war/truth and military practice. With them emerge new, politically ambiguous and unmistakably war-centered forms of womens’ agency. Recognising women as agents and beneficiaries of war rather than universal ‘victims’ demands a more nuanced form of analysis by which the generation of such radically different subject positions and experiences can be understood. In this regard, the turn towards intersectionality and thereby, the situation of gender amid wider, crosscutting relations of division, differentiation and uneven privilege is a challenging but extraordinarily important development (Brah and Phoenix, 2004; Peterson, 2010; Bose, 2012). Here, the force of war in producing racial, heteronormative and class distinctions becomes increasingly apparent. North Atlantic societies’ progressive attitudes to ‘difference’ after all, have been consistent and central referents for the civilising benefits of military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as a powerful means to distinguish the civilised West from enemies constituted through barbaric, pre-modern cultural practices toward gays, women and girls (Richter-Montpetit, 2007; Manchanda, 2015). In ways that can only be intimated here, the importance of intersectional scholarship for Critical War Studies is extraordinary. If ‘war/truth’ names a recurrent, dynamic constellation of power and privilege, then the question arises as to its function as – and at – the intersection of power and privilege as such. Here too perhaps, the potential of war-centred scholarship for those seeking to address the co-constitution of gender, race, class, ethnicity, sexuality and so on becomes more evident. This is not to claim that politics and society are, always and everywhere, war ‘all the way down’ (cf: Bartelson, 2016). Even accepting these powerful divisions as outcomes of stories we tell about difference, it would be ridiculous to claim all are ‘war stories’, but look how many are.

Conclusion: war and the ethos of critique As a transformative power, war has little respect for claims about what it is, what will prevent it or what will happen when we wage it: hence the precariousness of war/truth and the endless discursive labour of those asserting an authoritative relation to fighting. Emphasising a generative ontology contests that authority. It provides a basis from which to critique claims made for the utility of force through an account of that which, regardless of intent, it generates. Understanding fighting as the centre of this field permits us to retain a focus on why and how it happens, while provincialising dominant military-political discourses amid a wider sphere of experience and testimony. It falls to critical scholars then, to present and counterpose the authority of lived experience to the narratives and abstractions of war-waging power inside and outside government. In addition to a more inclusive, democratic public 139

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discourse on war, the ambition in doing so is a richer, broader scholarly field of social and political analysis, explanation and debate than is currently the case. Within this wider field, war generates an extraordinarily potent intersection between those institutions, identities and dividing practices through which power is distributed. It also provides a central referent for the legitimatisation and necessity of that distribution of power once it has occurred. War/truth, in other words, is a feature of ‘peacetime’. It provides the basis on which future processes of militarisation toward war might gain public acceptance. It shapes public truth economies in ways that, in advance, distinguish those with authoritative strategic expertise from more marginalised voices. By foregrounding the dangerous limits to strategic knowledges, it becomes possible to indicate in advance strategists’ culpability for the ‘unforeseen’ and ‘collateral’ outcomes of force. Widening the authoritative field of comment and analysis might further raise the expectations of proof and argument needed for going to war. In this sense a broader, more critical and publically engaged war studies might serve a progressive role now and in future. In overviewing the animating concerns for Critical War Studies, this chapter positioned them in specific histories of war-driven transformation. Here, Foucault provides a key referent. His work – particularly the Society must be Defended lectures – stands as exemplary not only as an analysis of war as a generative organiser of human affairs, but as a self-critical exercise in which its powers are analysed historically, in specific subject positions, but always to some degree from within (2003). War is engaged critically from the perspective of those always already implicated in it, without any transcendent position that might exteriorise us. Critical scholarship then, participates in truth economies which are always in part war-driven, just as – as subjects – we carry traces of war in the diverse assemblages of meaning that make us knowable at all. One outcome of such a position is a resistance to easy assumptions about the separateness of pacific, counter-hegemonic academic knowledges from the weaponised truths of policy makers and practitioners. Astute critique is, ideally, a form of informed engagement with the powers of war, not a self-satisfied isolation from them. Limiting the claims made for force as an instrument, to be effective, requires an extensive understanding of that instrument: a better one arguably, than those with formal responsibility for using it.

Note 1 See e.g.: Michael Sheehan’s chapter in Baylis, Smith and Owens (2014): a marked improvement on several earlier editions of this standard textbook which lacked a chapter – or even a dedicated index entry – on war.

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Critical war studies Barkawi, Tarak (2016) ‘Decolonising War’. European Journal of International Security 1 (2), 199–214. Barkawi, Tarak and Shane Brighton (2011) ‘Powers of War: Fighting, Knowledge, and Critique’. International Political Sociology 5 (2), 126–143. Barkawi, Tarak and Mark Laffey (2001) Democracy, Liberalism, and War: Rethinking the Democratic Peace Debate. Boulder: Lynne Rienner. Barkawi, Tarak and Mark Laffey (2006) ‘The Postcolonial Moment in Security Studies’. Review of International Studies 32 (4), 329–352. Bartelson, Jens (2016) ‘Blasts from the Past: War and Fracture in the International System’. International Political Sociology 10 (4), 352–368. Booth, Ken (1997) ‘Security and Self: Reflections of a Fallen Realist’. Critical Security Studies: Concepts and Strategies, Krause, Keith, and Michael C. Williams (eds.). London: University College Press. 83–119. Bose, Christine E. (2012) ‘Intersectionality and Global Gender Inequality’. Gender and Society 26 (1), 67–72. Brah, Avtar and Ann Phoenix (2004) ‘Revisiting Intersectionality’. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 5 (3), 75–86. Brighton, Shane (2013) ‘War/Truth: Foucault, Heraclitus and the Hoplite Homer’. Cambridge Review of International Affairs 26 (4), 651–668. Buzan, Barry, Ole Wæver, and Jaap de Wilde (1998) Security: A New Framework for Analysis. Boulder: Lynne Rienner. Campbell, David (1992) Writing Security, United States Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Campbell, David (1998) National Deconstruction: Violence, Identity and Justice in Bosnia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Clausewitz, Carl (1976) On War. Translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Cockburn, Cynthia (2010) ‘Gender Relations as Causal in Militarization and War’. International Feminist Journal of Politics 12 (2), 139–157. Cooper, Robert (1996) The Post-Modern State and the World Order. London: Demos. Der Derian, James (2008) Virtuous War: Mapping the Media-Industrial Media-Entertainment Network. 2nd ed. London: Routledge. Devji, Faisal (2005) Landscapes of the Jihad: Militancy, Morality, Modernity. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Dillon, Michael, and Julian Reid (1996) Politics of Security: Towards a Political Philosophy of Continental Thought. London: Routledge. Dillon, Michael, and Julian Reid (2009) The Liberal Way of War: The Martial Face of Global Biopolitics. London: Routledge. Doyle, Michael W. (1997) Ways of War and Peace. New York: Norton. Dudziak, Mary L. (2012) War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Duffield, Mark R. (2001) Global Governance and the New Wars: The Merging of Development and Security. London: Zed Books. Duffield, Mark R. (2007) Development, Security and Unending War: Governing the World of Peoples. Oxford: Polity. Elshtain, Jean Bethke (1995) Women and War. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Enloe, Cynthia (1989) Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics. London: Pandora. Enloe, Cynthia (2000) Manoeuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women’s Lives. Berkeley: University of California Press. Foucault, Michel (1980) Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972–1977. New York: Pantheon. Foucault, Michel (2003) Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the College de France, 1975–1976. London: Penguin. Fukayama, Francis (1992) The End of History and the Last Man. New York: Avon. Gartner, Scott Sigmund and Marissa Edson Myers (1995) ‘Body Counts and “Success” in the Vietnam and Korean Wars’. Journal of Interdisciplinary History XXV (3), 377–395. Gow, James (2004) Defending the West. Oxford: Polity. Gregory, Derek (2010) ‘War and Peace’. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 35 (2), 154–186. Gregory, Derek (2011) ‘The Everywhere War’. The Geographical Journal 177 (3), 238–250.

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11 BEING ‘CRITICAL’ OF/ ABOUT/ON ‘RELIGION’ IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Erin K. Wilson

Introduction That International Relations (IR) has ‘found religion’ has become a common trope in recent times. After years of neglect, scholars have, so the story goes, ‘(re)discovered’ religion and its significance in contemporary global politics. This continued relevance of religion flies in the face of predictions of secularization theory, which argued that religion would eventually disappear. But when articles and books declare that IR has ‘found religion’, or that religion has ‘returned from exile’, one cannot help but wonder exactly what it is they have found and where they have found it. Where was religion hiding? What does it look like now? Has it changed much in the years that it was ignored by IR scholars? Does it resent the fact that it was for so long ignored? Why has religion ‘returned from exile’? What made it decide to do that? The very idea that religion is ‘something’ that is there to be found or discovered by scholars, that can be clearly defined and identified, that is distinct and clearly distinguishable from the ‘secular’, that has agency to choose to be either peaceful or violent, is arguably the foundational point for critical approaches to the study of religion in contemporary IR. To study religion critically in IR is to contest the very idea of ‘religion’ and its associated assumptions, along with its binary opposite, ‘the secular’ (Wilson, 2012). Rather than exploring what ‘religion’ does in International Relations, critical approaches to the study of religion instead examine what ‘religion’ is in International Relations, who gets to define what ‘religion’ is, how they define, why they define it as they do and what the consequences are in real world law and politics of defining it in one way and not another. Religion is understood as an unstable ‘practice, discursive formation and analytical category’ (Agensky, 2017: 2), rather than a fixed unchanging entity. In this chapter, I endeavour to flesh out the parameters of the critical study of religion in IR. This is by no means an easy task, in large measure because arguably the critical study of religion in IR often takes place at the margins of IR, at points at which it intersects with other disciplines, such as law, religious studies, anthropology, philosophy, gender studies, or is conducted by scholars who would not identify with IR at all. As such, this discussion on the critical study of 143

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religion in IR speaks to some of the key questions of this collection – what even is IR as a discipline? Where are its boundaries? Is the study of religion part of the ‘core business’ of IR, whatever that is? If scholarship engages with IR, but also with anthropology, sociology, gender studies, cultural studies, religious studies and so on, does it cease to be ‘IR’ as such? Is it even useful to speak of IR, given the many problematic aspects of this terminology and the history of the discipline particularly with regard to race relations (Vitalis, 2015), or should those who engage with IR from critical perspectives instead explore alternative terms, such as global politics? This is also a crucial part of the debates taking place on the critical study of ‘religion’ within IR – if ‘religion’ and ‘secular’ are categories that are filled with different meanings in different contexts, are they useful as analytical and descriptive terms, or should we be attempting to develop alternatives, and what would those alternatives be? I will return to these questions in the conclusion to the chapter. Before engaging in these debates, it is useful to track the development of more critical approaches to the study of religion in IR. I begin by outlining what might be termed dominant or mainstream approaches to religion within IR, which have by and large been either to ignore religion, or what Elizabeth Shakman Hurd (2015) has referred to as the ‘two faces of faith approach’ – analysing whether religion’s role in IR is positive or negative, good or bad. I then outline the primary critiques of both of these approaches, before moving on to outline dominant trends and influences on more critical approaches. As with much that is termed ‘critical’ within IR, the critical study of religion is influenced by postmodern, postcolonial, poststructuralist and feminist scholars, including, amongst others, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, Edward Said and Judith Butler, but it has also been highly interdisciplinary. The work of anthropologists such as Talal Asad and Saba Mahmood has been foundational in many respects for the critical study of religion in IR. I summarize some of the main contributions from critical IR scholars, emphasizing that the critical study of religion in IR also includes the critical study of secularism as a dominant ordering logic in IR, and the emergence of alternative frameworks such as the postsecular (Hurd, 2008; Mavelli, 2012; Wilson, 2012). The chapter then explores the implications of the critical study of religion for specific areas, namely foreign and military policy, development and humanitarianism, forced migration, human rights, gender equality and the law. Finally, the chapter considers the implications of critical approaches to the study of religion for IR, including the questions I raised above – what does this mean for how we delineate IR as a field, and the categories and terminology that we use?

The neglect of religion in International Relations For a large part of the history of IR as a field, religion has been a marginal, if not absent, topic of consideration. Up until the 1990s, if religion was mentioned at all in IR scholarship, it was usually as an anomaly (see, for example, Gaddis, 1986) or as a dangerous, irrational and dogmatic influence on the political sphere (see, for example, Carr, 1946; Morgenthau and Thompson, 1985; Waltz, 1959; Wilson, 2012: Chapter 2, for a detailed discussion of religion in these works). For the most part, however, religion is hardly mentioned at all prior to the end of the Cold War. While there are a number of reasons for this neglect, the prevalence of secularization theory within the social sciences is one of the main contributing factors. In its crudest formulation, secularization theory refers to the decline in influence of ‘religion’, generally taken to refer to religious institutions and beliefs (Herbert, 2003: 4; Swatos and Christiano, 1999: 213–14). A key assumption of this theory, building on Max 144

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Weber’s concepts of enchantment and mystery, is that religion is often irrational, based on superstition and illogical beliefs (see, for example, Apter, 1965; Smith, 1974; Swatos and Christiano, 1999: 212). Consequently, secularization theorists argue that because religion is irrational, it will gradually be excluded from society through the process of modernization. Secularization theory contains both an empirical component and an explanatory component (Eberle, 2002: 24). The secularization theorist seeks to identify ‘facts’ about the decline of religion and must then connect and explain these facts through ‘an empirically adequate and otherwise convincing narrative’ (Eberle, 2002: 24). As Eberle and others have noted, however, the exact nature of the decline of religion – whether it refers to influence from religious institutions, individual beliefs or another form altogether – is much debated (Eberle, 2002: 24; cf. Fox, 2001: 56; Stark, 1999: 251–2). Jose Casanova (1994) identifies three main components to secularization theory – secularization as religious decline, secularization as privatization and secularization as differentiation. Secularization as religious decline held that with increasing secularization and modernization, religious belief and adherence would eventually decline and even disappear amongst the population. As privatization, secularization referred to the increasing withdrawal and exclusion of religion from the public sphere to only something that is relevant in the private. As differentiation, secularization referred to the continual clear delineation and separation of powers between religious institutions and authorities and secular institutions and authorities. These can be thought of as either descriptive or explanatory theories of secularization – describing changes in social patterns, behaviours and organizing structures (all three types fit here) – or predictive – predicting what will happen to religion and its role in public life (secularization as religious decline and as privatization). This view of secularization as religious decline held significant sway within IR and the social sciences more generally (Hurd, 2008). Religion was understood as a pre-modern phenomenon that would eventually disappear and as such its relevance for the analysis of contemporary politics and public life was marginal at best (Hurd, 2008; Wilson, 2012). Yet secularization as religious decline has been increasingly challenged in the face of the perceived increase of apparently religiously motivated violence and religious political activity following the end of the Cold War (Berger, 1999; Juergensmeyer, 2009). Secularization as privatization and as differentiation, however, retain relevance across different contexts. In the face of the apparent rise of religious activity and influence in politics and public life since the end of the Cold War, numerous scholars and policymakers have instead adopted what Elizabeth Shakman Hurd (2015) has termed ‘the two faces of faith approach’, or more simply ‘good’ religion vs ‘bad’ religion. According to this narrative, rather than religion disappearing, it has become increasingly more prominent, both as a source of peace and tolerance and as a source of violence and terrorism. The issue now is to facilitate contributions from religion that support peace, human rights, development, gender equality and so on, while minimizing those aspects of religion that contribute to violence, intolerance and chaos (Hurd, 2015). One of earliest examples of this narrative within IR is R. Scott Appleby’s (2000) The Ambivalence of the Sacred, in which he argues that religion can be both a source for violence and conflict, as well as a source for peace and conflict transformation and it is difficult to determine how, why and under what circumstances religion will contribute to either conflict or peace. This narrative has emerged with even more force in politics and public life in the context of the perceived rise of religiously inspired terrorism, as Mahmoud Mamdani (2004) noted in the aftermath of 9/11 with his book Good Muslim, Bad Muslim. Political leaders such as Tony Blair (2014), David Cameron and Barack Obama (2016) have all weighed in on whether ‘Islam’ is violent or peaceful, what the ‘true’ teachings of Islam are, and on Islam’s compatibility with democracy and secularism. ‘Good Islam’ and ‘good Muslims’ support democracy and the secular state, ‘bad 145

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Islam’ and ‘bad Muslims’ are violent and reactionary, pre-modern and intolerant. While these statements could be cast as attempts to de-essentialize Islam by emphasizing that violence is not an endemic feature of Islam, but only the product of some ‘bad Muslims’, this ‘good Muslim, bad Muslim’ narrative has also contributed to constructing ‘good Muslims’ as devoid of agency, victims of a growing ‘radicalised and politicised view of Islam’ (Blair, 2014) that they are clearly unable to resist (Mamdani, 2004). While the increased attention to religion as an issue of significance in contemporary IR brings much-needed analysis to a long neglected area, the new mainstream approach of good religion and bad religion continues to uphold the key assumptions of secularism and secularization theory. This means that while there is more attention being given to religion as a phenomenon in global politics, analyses are still limited by the same assumptions about what ‘religion’ is – and, indeed, what ‘secularism’ is – that contributed to the neglect of religion in the first instance. The identification and critique of these assumptions concerning religion and secularism is one of the most groundbreaking contributions to come from critical perspectives on religion in IR.

Displacing secularism in International Relations The first major challenge to dominant narratives about religion in IR came in the form of a challenge to secularism as the dominant ordering logic. This is one of the most important points to observe about the critical study of religion in IR – not only does it encompass the critique of ideas about what ‘religion’ is, it also includes critique of the secular and secularism, since arguably secularism has been the dominant ideological force that has influenced how we think about what religion is since the Enlightenment. Since the early 2000s, scholarship has emerged in IR arguing that secularism is not the neutral, universal basis for public reason and model for statecraft that it has long been assumed to be (see for example Hurd, 2008; Kuru, 2009; Mavelli, 2012; Wilson, 2012). This work in IR built on pre-existing scholarship in religious studies, in particular anthropology of religion (Asad, 1993, 2003; Mahmood, 2001), sociology of religion (Casanova, 2006, 2011; Davie, 1994; Knott, 2005), philosophy (Connolly, 1999, 2006; Eberle, 2002; Taylor, 2007, 2009) and theology (Cavanaugh, 2009). Where the nature of secularism, and its counterpart religion, had long been taken for granted within IR, this new scholarship sought to emphasize that the very ideas of secularism and religion were social constructs that contributed to particular relationships of power, inclusion and exclusion in contemporary global politics. As Saba Mahmood (2016: 3) argues, modern secularism represents ‘fundamental shifts in conceptions of self, time, space, ethics, and morality’. It is a highly specific, culturally embedded model for managing the relationship between religion and politics that emerged in Euro-American contexts as part of the Enlightenment, but which has now become influential across diverse regions of the world (Gutkowski, 2014: 6). Secularism situates particular practices and ideas along the natural/supernatural binary, positioning some practices within the category of the natural or the secular, whilst others are placed in the category of the supernatural – religion, superstition or fetishism. Further, secularism then attributes particular characteristics to these practices – irrational, violent, chaotic, divisive (Wilson, 2012). These inherent assumptions have come to dominate how IR scholars, amongst others, construct and analyze those practices constituted as ‘religious’ and how they intersect with and affect politics and public life. Secularism’s origins within the Euro-American context have contributed to its association with colonialism and binary oppositions between not only ‘secular’ and ‘religious’, but also ‘modern/primitive’, 146

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‘reason/emotion’ and ‘Western/non-Western’ (Wilson, 2012) that continue to affect power relations and inequalities in global politics. This is not to suggest that secularism is monolithic, homogenous or exclusively ‘Western’. Like ‘religion’, ‘secularism’ is not a singular entity. It is diverse, shifting, changing, unstable and contextually specific (Daulatzai, 2004: 567). Indeed, while secularism emerged from local and regional contexts and historical trajectories in Europe and the US, it has merged through globalization to constitute a globalized agglomeration of ideas and practices that vary locally.1 What secularism means in the Netherlands, for example, is very different from what it means in India, Bangladesh, France, Canada and so on (Hurd, 2008; Kuru, 2009). At the same time, while secularism does not mean the same thing from one place to the next, there are certain ‘family resemblances’ that characterize ideological forms of secularism across their different manifestations. These family resemblances exist in the following basic assumptions: a) ‘religion’ is something tangible and identifiable, that can be clearly distinguished, defined and separated from the ‘secular’, which can also be clearly defined. Not only that but b) ‘religion’ should be clearly distinguished and separated from other areas of human activity, such as politics, economics, law, education and so forth, that are grouped under the ‘secular’ (Asad, 2002: 116), because c) ‘religion’ is highly subjective, particular, individual and irrational (Hurd, 2008; Wilson, 2012), as opposed to the ‘secular’ which is neutral and universal; and, d) ‘religion’ is what people will disagree about more frequently and violently than anything else (Cavanaugh, 2009), thus ‘religion’ is the fundamental cause of violence, intolerance and chaos; therefore e) ‘religion’ must be kept out of the ‘public’ sphere and relegated to the ‘private’ to preserve order and peace (Taylor, 2009; Wilson, 2012), meaning that the distinction between ‘religion’ and the ‘secular’ is managed through the existence of ‘public’ and ‘private’ spheres (that are equally as unstable, shifting and problematic as the categories of ‘religion’ and ‘secular’) (Pateman, 1983; Prokhovnik, 2003). Finally, f) ‘religion’ is always subordinated to the ‘secular’, in that, even if ‘religion’ is viewed as something that can positively contribute to politics and public life, its interventions should still be regulated by so-called ‘secular’ authorities and institutions (what Kuru (2009) refers to as ‘passive secularism’, and Hurd (2008) as ‘Judeo-Christian secularism’) (see Wilson, 2017 for an extended discussion). These family resemblances are not always present and not always present to the same extent across different contexts. Nonetheless, they provide a useful point of departure for understanding secularism as an ideological perspective, rather than as the neutral and universal mode of public reasoning that it has long been assumed to be. A key point to emerge in critical studies that contest the nature of both secularism and religion is the importance of context. For scholars interested in the critical study of religion in IR, contextual embeddedness is crucial, in order to avoid gross generalizations and crude essentialisms. Since one of the foundational points of the critical study of religion in IR is, as Talal Asad expressed it, ‘that religion and secularism do not exist, but assumptions about what religion and secularism are do exist and shape and influence policy and practice’, it is essential to study these assumptions about what secularism and religion are in specific contexts and not to assume that they mean the same thing in all times and all places. This is also not to preclude the possibility that there are similarities across different contexts. Indeed, a key 147

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argument from a number of critical scholars of religion in IR (Gutkowski, 2014; Lynch, 2011) is that, through European colonialism and the expansion of the secular state system, secularism has become a globally dominant worldview. At the same time, however, the specifics of how secularism operates across different cultural, political, geographic and economic contexts cannot be taken for granted. Neither can secular assumptions be assumed to operate in the same ways across different policy areas, such as foreign policy, security, migration, development and so on. Understanding assumptions about religion and secularism within specific policy contexts is just as important as understanding them in their cultural and geo-political contexts. Building on these observations about the categories of ‘religion’ and ‘secularism’, critical scholars of religion in IR have explored their implications across a number of different issues and domains of power, revealing that this is not just theoretical hair-splitting about the meaning of different words, but that the assumptions that secular worldviews make about what ‘religion’ is and the way ‘religion’ is defined and understood have real-world consequences. I will outline some of these issues below, before turning to a discussion of alternatives to secularism that have emerged and that critical scholars of religion in IR are exploring.

The politics of religion and secularism in practice Developing out of the foundational observations that secularism is not neutral and universal, and that ‘religion’ does not mean the same thing at all times and in all places, critical scholars of religion in IR have applied these observations to numerous areas of world politics. These include foreign policy and military strategy of a number of states, though particularly the US, UK and Europe (Gutkowski, 2014; Hurd, 2008; Wilson, 2012), development (Jones and Juul Petersen, 2011; Lynch and Schwartz, 2016), humanitarianism and refugee politics (Ager and Ager, 2011; Mavelli and Wilson, 2016), religious freedom (Hurd, 2015; Sullivan, Hurd, Mahmood and Danchin, 2015), gender (Barras, 2014; Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, 2014) and human rights and the law (Beaman, 2013; Berger, 2007; Freeman, 2004). A key area has also been analysis of interpretations of and responses to Islam in the post 9/11 environment (Cesari, 2013; Mamdani, 2004; Mavelli, 2012). These studies have highlighted how assumptions about the nature of religion in general – as primarily institutional, individual and irrational (Wilson, 2012), as instrumental, narrow and normative (Jones and Juul Petersen, 2011), irrelevant or marginal, as dangerous and disruptive, or as peaceful, passive, static and unchanging – and of specific religions in particular, most notably Christianity and Islam, contribute to the construction of certain understandings and interpretations of the world, opening up certain sets of policy options whilst closing off others. I outline a few key observations from these different studies below.

War, security and military strategy Stacey Gutkowski’s book (2014) Secular Ways of War outlines the consequences of the dominance of secular worldviews in the theatre of war. She argues that a ‘secular habitus’ exists within British and arguably broader Western social and political approaches to war and violence, and that this secular habitus conditions certain interpretations of and responses to religious actors, argumentations and imaginaries. Drawing on a vast swathe of postmodern and postsecular theoretical insights, in particular Bourdieu and Foucault, Gutkowski argues that there is no such thing as ‘secular war’, in the same way as there is no such thing as ‘religious war’, yet ‘there have been important Western secular ways of war, habits of doing and behaving in war, that became apparent after 2001’ (Gutkowski, 2014: 5, emphasis in original). 148

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Focusing on the United Kingdom, Gutkowski traces the development of these secular ways of war throughout the Enlightenment myths of religious violence arising out of the 16th- and 17th-century wars of religion, through the British experiences in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Iraq. The myths of religious violence had a critical influence on the ways in which the conflict in Northern Ireland was interpreted and responded to by British military and security elites. The Northern Irish experience, Gutkowski argues, was pivotal in the development of the secular habitus that became the modus operandi during the 9/11 wars. In Northern Ireland, religion was seen as ultimately a side issue to more ‘political’ concerns of nationhood and independence, with religious leaders considered socially influential but largely marginal to the main political game (Gutkowski, 2014: 69–73). These experiences crucially influenced British approaches in Afghanistan and Iraq, where local religious dynamics were at first overlooked in favour of broader national and global political trends (Gutkowski, 2014: 96), and where memories of British colonial experiences strongly influenced the construction and approach to specific regions of Afghanistan and Iraq as ‘ungovernable’, coinciding with 19th-century Orientalist narratives, repeated in the 21stcentury context, of the religious ‘Other’ as strange, violent and irrational (Gutkowski, 2014: 103–4). Gutkowski’s observation here extends previous work by Elizabeth Shakman Hurd (2008) on the foreign policies of the US in Afghanistan and the EU in Iran, where assumptions about religion as pre-modern, irrational and violent and about the importance of religion in these areas significantly shaped how the US and the EU engaged with these actors. This also connects with Luca Mavelli’s (2011) argument that a mutually reinforcing relationship between security and secularization exists at the heart of the modern state and thus is central to the study of war, military strategy, security and IR more generally. Further, Gutkowski argues that the Northern Irish experience, in conjunction with established liberal narratives that assert the existence of specific, identifiable and containable spheres of the religious and the secular contributed to British secular habitus in the 9/11 wars and a failure to perceive the complex rationalities and motivations of the various actors involved in the conflict on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. ‘British secular habits of thinking made it difficult for them to understand that there are rarely clear boundaries between supposedly pious religious motivations and hunger for economic and political power in much religio-politics’ (Gutkowski, 2014: 146). Gutkowski’s and Hurd’s work demonstrates the pervasive influence of assumptions associated with the secular worldview outlined above – the assumption that ‘religion’ is something that can be neatly and cleanly identified and delineated from other areas of human activity, an assumption drawn from the Euro-American context that does not necessarily make sense in other parts of the world.

Development and humanitarianism These assumptions about the nature of religion have also been deeply influential on engagements with religion in development and humanitarianism. Despite an increased interest in and willingness to engage with religious actors across the humanitarian sector in recent years, this engagement has primarily focused on the ‘added value’ that religious actors can bring to preexisting, predominantly secular and (Western) state-driven humanitarian aid and development programs (Ager and Ager, 2011: 460). Rather than generating space for religious beliefs and practices within the predominantly secular humanitarian sector, such practices run the risk of deepening the division between religious and secular actors and perspectives. It contributes to a fear of ‘instrumentalization’ on the part of faith-based organizations (FBOs) (Karam, 2012: 10–11) and approaches that view FBOs as ‘assets’ in the pursuit of secular development goals 149

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(Karam, 2012: 20) – utilizing volunteer and fundraising networks that FBOs often have through their faith communities, for example, or the influence religious leaders frequently have in local communities, without engaging deeply, seriously and respectfully with their core beliefs (Ager and Ager, 2011: 460). Faith-based actors are either increasingly defining themselves in secular terms (Hopgood and Vinjamuri, 2012: 38; Lynch, 2011) or defining themselves as religious communities rather than humanitarian civil society organizations to avoid having to ‘professionalize/secularize’, despite their primary activities being the provision of humanitarian aid and relief (Ngo, 2015). As Cecelia Lynch (2011) and Michael Barnet and Janice Gross Stein (2012) have highlighted, in the contemporary humanitarian sector, this instrumentalization of religion and religious actors is to some extent tied to (neo)liberal market policies and practices. As states increasingly outsource their services to private contractors and civil society organizations, these actors are required to conform to specific sets of market-based criteria in order to access funding support, as well as needing to cater their programs to the desires of the state, thereby becoming part of the governance mechanisms orchestrated by states and intergovernmental organizations (Lynch, 2011: 213–14). ‘Organizations are increasingly rationalized, bureaucratized, and professionalized, that is, they are introducing modern secular operating practices’ (Barnett and Stein, 2012: 24). Yet these processes can intrude on spirituality and are viewed by some faith-based humanitarian actors with suspicion as secularization by other means (Ngo, 2015). While Barnett and Stein (2012: 24–5) suggest that organizations may adopt secularization as a strategy, giving the example of Islamic Relief following the events of 9/11, the question arises to what extent agencies are forced to adopt secularization as a strategy in order to survive. Some scholars and practitioners argue that this is a good thing, because it reduces the possibilities for proselytizing and the exploitation of vulnerable people by religious groups eager for converts (Hopgood and Vinjamuri, 2012: 38; Karam, 2012: 10). Yet this view maintains the dominance of secular assumptions, since it does not consider the possibility that secular humanitarian practices, with their ‘awareness-raising’ and ‘consciousness-raising’ activities, can be just as normative, biased and exclusionary as religious ones and can in some respects be viewed as equally exploitative (Ager and Ager, 2011: 264–5). Advocating the principle of neutrality in humanitarianism is an important part of enabling actors to provide the aid that is desperately needed. Yet there is a sense in which it may be more problematic to insist on the appearance of neutrality, since this to some extent discourages critique of the normative views and assumptions associated with neutrality – for example that secularism is the best means for ensuring neutrality.

Human rights Many of these tensions that scholars have noted between secularism, neoliberalism and religion in the humanitarian sector have also been noted in relation to human rights more generally. The historical antagonism between Western secular conceptions of human rights and religious approaches to these same rights and concepts of human dignity continues to influence debates and practices today, particularly in the post 9/11 Global War on Terror environment. Secular approaches tend to assume that religions must be reformed in order to ‘fit’ with global human rights standards enshrined in international law (Freeman, 2004). This is to a large extent because, in both contemporary human rights theory and governance and the humanitarian sector more broadly, neutrality is held to be one of the most important values to ensure equal treatment and fair provision of services and, so the argument goes, only secularism is capable of providing such 150

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neutrality. ‘A secular approach to human rights is adequate, even necessary, in view of the world’s diversity of religious and philosophical beliefs. This assumes, however, that secularism is neutral between these beliefs. This is precisely what some religious believers dispute’ (Freeman, 2004: 385, emphasis in original). This does not allow for the possibility, as Freeman (2004: 385) highlights, that ‘the appeal of religions such as Islam may be precisely that they seem to their adherents to protect human dignity under modern conditions, especially the modern condition of Western economic, political and cultural hegemony.’ This Western hegemony includes an emphasis on secularism as the most appropriate framework for promoting and protecting human dignity. Yet while some forms of secularism provide an effective way for mediating differences between religious and philosophical worldviews, in other forms it can itself be a form of exclusion, violence and oppression (Mavelli and Petito, 2012: 931).

Forced migration In the related field of forced migration, religion is in general discussed as either one of the driving factors of conflict and violence that forces people to flee and become displaced, or as one of the key sources of assistance for refugees through faith-based organizations that provide relief and support for refugees and asylum seekers in camps and in resettlement countries (Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, 2011). Yet casting religion’s role in displacement in only these two avenues buys into the ‘good religion, bad religion’ narrative that has become a common place of contemporary politics in the aftermath of the Cold War and especially 9/11. ‘Good religion’ contributes to global (secular) human rights standards, justice, compassion and upholding human dignity; ‘bad religion’ creates intolerance, exclusion, violence and chaos. Yet such simplistic black and white categorizations obscure complex dynamics of power and exclusion that are embedded within the discourses and frameworks that we use to talk about contemporary, state-centric global politics in general and migration in particular. Secularism, while not the sole instigator of exclusionary discourses and narratives, is nonetheless a critical and often under-theorized component of these discourses. In the contemporary context, this becomes evident in the ways in which identities of ‘refugee’, ‘Muslim’ and ‘terrorist’ have become entangled (Hurd, 2016; Mavelli and Wilson, 2016). As a result of the ongoing conflict in Syria, alongside continuing unrest and increasing conflicts in Afghanistan, South Sudan, Somalia, amongst others, the majority of refugees come from countries where Islam is the main religion. This leads to an (erroneous) assumption in public discourse that refugees are Muslim. Not only this, but there is an assumption that Islam and being ‘Muslim’ are monolithic, thus all Muslims are Muslim in the same way. While this is manifestly not the lived reality, this assumption contributes to key policy decisions and directions in a number of different contexts. Debates in Canada about whether towns need to have a mosque in order to be able to take Syrian refugees are one example (Beaman, Selby and Barras, 2016). These discourses on refugees and Islam have emerged alongside other discourses around the relationship between Islam and terrorism that have become prominent in the post 9/11 environment. These discourses became more acute throughout 2015 and 2016, as the refugee crisis came to a head in the summer of 2015, book-ended by terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels throughout 2015 and 2016, and claims that some of the perpetrators had entered Europe as refugees through Greece (Amanpour and Patterson, 2015), a claim that was later proven to be false (Abrams, 2015), though by that point the damage had been done and countries were already beginning to close their borders to Syrian refugees. The interconnections between these discourses are facilitated by prior secular assumptions about the nature of religion itself, but that manifest in assumptions about Islam 151

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specifically – that religion is irrational, pre-modern and violent, that its presence in the public sphere contributes to intolerance and conflict (Hurd, 2008; Taylor, 2009; Wilson, 2012). This is also a feature of the recent discussion over the so-called ‘burkini ban’ that has taken place in France during the summer of 2016. Religion, especially Islam, is cast as oppressive, discriminatory and exclusionary, while secularism is emancipatory and inclusive. There are two other areas where these assumptions about religion as oppressive, discriminatory and exclusionary, in contrast to secularism as emancipatory and inclusive, is relevant, and both are also connected with the discussions over the so-called ‘burkini ban’ and debates on headscarves more generally. The first relates to legal restrictions on symbols in public spaces, while the second connects with issues of gender and sexuality. In both cases, assumptions of secular ideology about what ‘religion’ is and how it is and should be governed have specific consequences for people’s human rights and their daily lived realities.

Law and public life The issue of religious symbols in public life has become more and more problematic in numerous contexts, including Canada, the UK and Europe (Beaman, 2013). The regulation of religious symbols in public life connects with the different types of secularism that are in operation, whether these are what Ahmed Kuru (2009) calls ‘passive secular regimes’, where religion is permitted within the public sphere within certain boundaries (the US is the typical example here), or ‘assertive secular regimes’ that actively police the boundaries of public life (France and, until recently, Turkey, are the primary examples of this kind of secularism). Recent cases in the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice, as well as reports on religious symbols in public life, have raised a number of questions regarding how exactly a symbol is determined to be ‘religious’. Lori Beaman (2013) drawing on the 2011 Lautsi and others v Italy ruling by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights and the Bouchard Taylor report in Canada, argues that the symbols of the majority religion are being reinterpreted as ‘cultural’ rather than ‘religious’. The consequence of this is that cultural symbols are considered an important part of collective national identity and thus permitted to remain in the public sphere, whilst religious symbols are considered individual, potentially disruptive to public life and must therefore be privatized. Let us briefly consider the Lautsi case as an example. Ms Lautsi, an atheist, complained to the board of the public school that her children attended about the display of a crucifix on the wall of the classroom. She argued that this public display of a religious symbol violated her and her children’s right to freedom of religion or belief. The school board reject Ms Lautsi’s request to remove the crucifix and so Ms Lautsi took her case to the local district court. The case went through various levels of the Italian and European court systems until in 2009 the European Court of Human Rights found in Ms Lautsi’s favour. The Italian government appealed, and in 2011 the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favour of the Italian government and the crucifix was allowed to stay in the classroom (Beaman, 2013). In its ruling, the Grand Chamber made three key observations about the presence of the crucifix in the classroom pertinent to understanding how assumptions about religion shape law, in this case human rights law, in practice. The first of these observations was that the crucifix ‘is an essentially passive symbol’, and does not violate the principle of neutrality in the classroom. The second was that the Court considered there to be ‘no evidence … that the display of a religious symbol on classroom walls may have an influence on pupils’. The third was that, based on the argumentation of the Italian government, the crucifix is a religious but also 152

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cultural symbol, part of Italian national cultural heritage, evoking principles of democracy, equality, non-violence and justice (ECtHR Grand Chamber Decision, 2011, emphasis added). These observations by the Court are particularly pertinent when considered in connection with the ruling handed down in the Dahlab v Switzerland case of 2001, to which the Lautsi ruling explicitly refers. In this case, a Swiss primary school teacher converted to Islam and began wearing a headscarf in her classroom whilst teaching. She did not make mention of her religion at all in the classroom. When her students asked why she wore the headscarf, she told them that it was to keep her ears warm. Nonetheless, the Swiss education board ordered that she refrain from wearing the headscarf while she was teaching (Evans, 2006). Ms Dahlab argued that this violated her right to manifest her religion under article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights and so again, the case was heard through various courts, resulting in a hearing before the European Court of Human Rights. In contrast to the ruling in the Lautsi case, in the Dahlab case, the court made the following observations regarding the headscarf. Whereas the crucifix was a passive symbol that did not violate the principle of neutrality, the headscarf was deemed a ‘powerful religious symbol’, which does violate the principle of neutrality in the classroom. Where the court considered there to be no evidence that the crucifix on the wall influenced the freedom of religion of children, it deemed that the headscarf has ‘some kind of proselytizing effect’, influencing ‘the freedom of conscience of very young children’, despite the fact that Ms Dahlab did not talk about her religion at all with her students. Finally, the court argued that the headscarf was ‘imposed on women by … the Koran’ and undermines tolerance, equality, respect for others, non-discrimination and democracy (Dahlab v Switzerland, 2001). The difference between the two rulings is striking. In one, the symbol is deemed passive, with no evidence of influence on the right to freedom of conscience and a symbol of justice, equality and democracy. In the other, the symbol in question is deemed to be powerful, an influence on the right to freedom of conscience of young children and a symbol of oppression. One is also deemed a religious and cultural symbol, while the other is deemed a solely religious symbol. What the comparison of the two cases shows, and what authors like Beaman (2013), Berger (2007) and Sullivan (2005) demonstrate, is that the meaning and interpretation of ‘religion’ under the law is rarely consistent. It invokes a particular understanding of religion as individual, a matter of belief and of personal choice and again as clearly distinguishable from culture, history, politics and nationalism, whereas in practice these distinctions are often messy, if not impossible.

Gender and sexuality The Court’s argument regarding the headscarf as oppressive for women links with the second key area where arguments about religion as oppressive and secularism as emancipatory emerge, the area of gender and sexuality. Whilst prevalent in a number of different areas, as we have seen in this discussion, it is particularly acute on issues of gender and sexuality, as the burkini ban and the Dahlab v Switzerland case, amongst numerous other examples, and attention to gender equality in the development sector demonstrate. On the whole, ‘religion’ in general, and Islam in particular, are cast as obstacles to women’s emancipation and to the equality and human rights of women and LGBTIQ persons (Scott, 2007). In the development sector, several faith-based agencies have established programs that utilize scripture explicitly to promote gender equality, address gender-based violence and discriminatory and marginalizing practices in relation to gender identity. World Vision International’s Channels of Hope Gender program and Tearfund’s Transforming Masculinities 153

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are but two examples. Both make explicit use of scripture (in the case of World Vision, both Christian and Muslim) to promote changes in gender roles, address gender-based violence and promote gender equality. Scholarly debates have contributed to these discussions by highlighting that religion and religious actors are not homogenous and reflect a range of views on gender. Combined with ongoing recognition of the unique position held by many faith leaders and actors in humanitarian emergencies, there is growing recognition that religious actors may also be a force to contribute to efforts promoting gender equality and addressing gender-based violence. Such arguments have made an important contribution to problematizing the secular biases that exist within secular humanitarian discourses and the sector more generally, opening up spaces for greater engagement and bringing more nuance to discussions around the ‘role of religion’. Nonetheless, while these interventions to some measure address secular assumptions, they leave untroubled (and in some cases reinforce) the dominance of the secular in humanitarianism. They do so because they leave untouched the assumption that the secular and the religious are clearly defined and identifiable, that there is a clear distinction between the two. They buy into the ‘good religion/bad religion’ dichotomy, by which religion is assessed according to its capacity to meet the standards of the secular – the secular is still positioned as being the best framework through which to achieve gender equality. Further, however, it leaves unquestioned secularism’s own problematic relationship with gender. Both Joan Wallach Scott and Wendy Brown have highlighted that secularism is by no means innocent when it comes to the exclusion and oppression of women and that the process of establishing the modern secular nation-state by no means heralded a new era of freedom, emancipation and autonomous agency for women. Wendy Brown (2006) argues the feminine became even more privatized and sexualized as part of the process of secularization and the establishment of the modern state. Brown contrasts the ways in which the ‘Jewish Question’ and the ‘Woman Question’ were dealt with in the 19th century – while Jews became racialized in order to clearly distinguish them from autochthonous citizens, women became overly sexualised in order to emphasize their differences from men. In The Politics of the Veil and her later book The Fantasy of Feminist History, Scott points out that laique and secular efforts forcing Muslim women to ‘de-veil’ because of their belief that the veil is a symbol of women’s oppression are in fact just as oppressive and discriminatory as the practice of forced veiling itself. Arguably, the demands placed on women regarding their appearance in secular societies are hardly less oppressive. The example of an employee of Price Waterhouse Coopers sent home without pay for refusing to buy a pair of high heels to wear to work is an obvious case in point (Khomami, 2016). The scrutiny that female public figures receive with regard to their appearance, a level of scrutiny to which men are rarely subjected, is another. As well as leaving secularism’s dominance untroubled, questions about whether ‘religion’ can contribute to gender equality or not obscure the relationship of patriarchy to both religion and secularism. As such, arguably the focus should not be whether ‘religion’ or ‘secularism’ offers a more effective avenue for the achievement of gender equality, but rather what are the relationships that exist between patriarchy, religion and secularism? The main point in each of these examples is that while religion is important to consider, there is the danger that in emphasizing religious identity, or placing more emphasis on ‘religion’ as a factor in discussions on war, human rights, development and gender, we exacerbate problems rather than alleviate them, accentuate identity politics and difference, rather than finding points of commonality and connection. 154

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Freedom of religion or belief It is this potential for exacerbation that has been a key concern of recent critiques of the politics of religious freedom (Hurd, 2015; Mahmood and Danchin, 2014; Sullivan, Hurd, Mahmood and Danchin, 2015). Whilst it has long been a feature of US foreign policy, religious freedom has gained increasing attention in the foreign policy of the UK, the EU and Canada in the post 9/11 environment. The promotion of religious freedom globally is seen as a key part of efforts to address the rise of religiously inspired terrorism. As critics point out, however, it is very difficult to protect the right to something on which there is no clear agreement as to what it actually is. The result of the constantly shifting understanding and definition of ‘religion’ is that particular groups are classified as ethnic minorities, rather than religious minorities and infringement on their claims to land or the right to perform certain rituals is deemed not to be a violation of the right to freedom of religion or belief (Hurd, 2015; Mahmood, 2016; Sullivan, 2005). The global politics of religious freedom are also very closely tied with the Christian lobby in the United States, such that, in certain contexts, the promotion of religious freedom is understood as a form of neocolonialism, and/or as a means of securing the hegemony of Christianity over and against other religious traditions (Hurd, 2015). Mahmood (2016) clearly demonstrates how the emphasis on the right to freedom of religion or belief is a mechanism of the secular state to ensure its power over religion, a form of disciplining religion and ensuring it conforms to secular norms and power structures. It must be stressed that these authors are not against the right to freedom of religion or belief per se, but rather aim to highlight the pitfalls and dangers of existing approaches in an effort to improve or alter them. As Mahmood (2016: 21) puts it: ‘To critique a particular normative regime is not to reject or condemn it; rather, by analyzing its regulatory and productive dimensions, one only deprives it of innocence and neutrality so as to craft, perhaps, a different future.’ This is a neat summation of the underlying motivation of critical approaches to the study of religion in IR. These scholars do not necessarily condemn or reject secular modes of mediating the relationship with religious and state institutions or actors. They do, however, seek to highlight the potential inequalities, injustices and possibilities for abuse that exist within current approaches and open up space for thinking about alternatives.

Alternatives to secularism The concept of the postsecular is one such alternative. While voiced by a number of different scholars, it is arguably the Habermasian version of postsecularism that has stimulated the most discussion and debate. Habermas uses postsecular in a primarily descriptive sense, pointing to the continued presence and relevance of religion in public life. In this ‘postsecular’ society, Habermas (2006: 8–9) argues, we must rethink the parameters of acceptable public reasoning and debate and in particular reassess the requirements that have been placed on religious citizens. A postsecular society requires a process of mutual learning and translation for secular and religious citizens alike and a shift to a post-metaphysical thought that, for Habermas, does not make normative judgements on religious truth claims but nonetheless distinguishes between ‘faith’ and ‘knowledge’. Such a shift in public reasoning has significant implications for global justice theory and practice. Yet, as many scholars have noted, Habermas’ engagement with the postsecular is still largely done through a secularist lens. His solution to the inequality of public debate is that instead of asking religious citizens to translate their arguments into secular language, both religious and secular citizens must translate their public arguments into a language that is universal and acceptable to all. Yet this language remains that of secular reason (Birnbaum, 155

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2015; Mavelli and Petito, 2012: 936; Pabst, 2012: 1003–4). While aiming to rehabilitate religion into the public sphere, Habermas’ proposal is still very much embedded in and confined by the terms of the secular. In contrast, Mavelli and Petito (2012) have articulated the postsecular, not as a description of present societal conditions, but as a form of radical theorizing and critique prompted by the idea that values such as democracy, freedom, equality, inclusion, and justice may not necessarily be best pursued within an exclusively immanent secular framework. Quite the opposite, the secular may well be a potential site of isolation, domination, violence, and exclusion. (Mavelli and Petito, 2012: 931) The postsecular critique destabilizes categories of ‘religious’ and ‘secular’, ‘public’ and ‘private’, ‘rational’ and ‘irrational’, emphasizing that such categories are largely historically, socially and culturally constructed (Bretherton, 2010: 15). The emergence of the postsecular critique represents part of a shift in sensibilities away from secular assumptions about what is rational and acceptable public reason, indeed, that the distinctions between ‘public’ and ‘private’ reason are themselves products of secular ideology and that such neat, clean divisions do not exist in reality. Yet to date, the postsecular critique and the recognition of the partial and subjective nature of secularism remain largely confined to academia and are yet to permeate policy and practice. Its utility as an alternative to secularism is also highly questionable. As the critiques of the Habermasian approach suggest, the postsecular is still in many ways too deeply entrenched in secular modes of thinking to enable it to go beyond critique. Similar to Decolonial critiques of modernism and postmodernism (Dussel, 2012: 37), postsecularism to some extent remains a ‘provincial’ or internal critique of a phenomenon that developed initially in the European context. In order to develop more radical versions of postsecularism, it is necessary to consult ‘external’ non-European critiques of the secular. Further, like all ‘post’ iterations, postsecularism carries with it the implicit suggestion of a chronological progression from secularism to that which comes ‘after secularism’, as though we can clearly move from one historical age (the secular) to another (the postsecular) (Conway, 2013). The postsecular ‘turn’ is an important step along the way towards alternative frameworks for thinking about how questions of the transcendent, the spiritual and the metaphysical are entangled with and impact on various different aspects of human existence in the contemporary age, but its contribution may be limited to critique, not necessarily to transformation. There are other possible alternatives that could also be considered, such as William Connolly’s (2005) multidimensional pluralism, or relational dialogism (Wilson, 2010, 2012). The philosophy of liberation, pioneered by Leopoldo Zea, Augusto Salazar Bondy and Decolonial thinkers such as Enrique Dussel (1985, 1996, 2012), as a direct challenge to the assumptions of modernity that plague much of Habermas’ work, offers a promising avenue for developing alternatives to secular worldviews because it is external to the Euro-American secular context. Indeed, their efforts to move beyond the modernist and postmodernist frameworks, resulting in trans-modernity, may provide a model for surpassing the secularist paradigm (Dussel, 2012: 41). These avenues have yet to be comprehensively explored, however. Given the critiques levelled against postsecularism, the question also arises as to whether ‘religion’ and ‘the secular’ remain useful terms for analysis within IR. It may also be that there is a need to develop alternative ways for thinking about these questions that move away from categories of ‘religious’ and ‘secular’ entirely. Tentative possibilities are being explored around using worldviews or ontologies as an alternative, and identifying cross-cutting categories common to ‘secular’ and 156

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‘religious’ perspectives (Wilson, 2017), but these are preliminary and still struggle to escape the problematic assumptions that shape how categories of religion and secular are understood. For scholars engaged in the critical study of religion in IR, this remains a significant challenge, how to move beyond deconstruction and critique of existing paradigms and approaches and develop viable alternatives that can be implemented not only in theory but also offer something to policymakers and practitioners. Arguably, this is a challenge for critical IR as a whole. For critical scholars of religion, a further challenge is to even encourage recognition of religion as an important rather than marginal area of study for IR and global politics. Despite the increased attention for religion in global politics, there are surprisingly few IR departments where religion is even present within research and teaching, let alone where it is considered part of essential training in IR. This situation is changing, but progress is slow, which to some extent is indicative of just how pervasive the assumptions of secularism are, not only within IR, but in politics, public policy and society more generally, at least within Euro-American contexts. Recognition of secularism as an ideology or worldview is still highly limited, let alone the additional recognition that this ideology is not neutral and universal, but is subjective, particular and highly culturally specific. Consequently, not only should greater attention to religion be given in introductory courses on IR, but also to secularism. Such emphasis would arguably contribute to the development of greater critical self-reflexivity and intercultural sensitivity amongst graduates of IR, and the potential for moving discussions beyond whether ‘religion’ can contribute to the pursuit of peace, human dignity and equality and instead to focus on how to build collaboration and cooperation in these efforts across different worldviews and perspectives. The challenge is not to over-emphasize or under-emphasize the influence of either religion or secularism, but to recognize how the assumptions that are made about both contribute to inhibiting how we respond to the challenges and possibilities of contemporary global politics.

Note 1 I am grateful to Kim Knibbe for her suggestions on how to phrase this particular point.

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12 SEEING RADICALISATION? The pedagogy of the Prevent strategy Erzsébet Strausz and Charlotte Heath-Kelly

In this chapter we analyse the content of a DVD never meant to be made public. It is a Home Office training product called WRAP 3, which is supposed to remain in the possession of WRAP trainers. If you work in a UK university you might have attended one of their training sessions. WRAP stands for ‘Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent’ – and Prevent is the UK Government’s controversial pre-emptive counterterrorism strategy, which purports to identify those ‘at risk’ of becoming a terrorist (Heath-Kelly, 2013; Rizq, 2017). The Home Office DVD is not for public release, but hundreds of thousands of healthcare, correctional and education staff have seen it (Jeory and Cockburn, 2016). Why? The authors can assure you that the reason for its prolific viewing figures has nothing to do with cinematography or storyline. In 2015, it became mandatory for huge numbers of public sector workers to engage the DVD under the supervision of a scripted trainer who also takes the audience through small group exercises to embed its content. The 2015 Prevent Duty placed a statutory duty on all education providers, correctional facilities and healthcare providers to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism’ (Home Office, 2015a). It requires all such institutions to set up referral structures for suspected radicalising subjects, and provide their staff with mandatory WRAP training sessions. Countering terrorism has become the business of schools, nurseries, universities, clinics, GP surgeries and hospitals. The chapter analyses the content of the Home Office’s WRAP training DVD, demonstrating the radical ambiguity of the new radicalisation ontology – where anyone can become a terrorist, supposedly as a result of abusive brainwashing by a radicaliser. Our focus is particularly addressed to the pedagogical strategy of WRAP which, as two interviewees from the medical profession recently described, is ‘unlike any other form of training you’ve ever received’ (Interview with Consultant Psychiatrist B and GP 2, 2017). The WRAP DVD doesn’t convey any expertise about the supposed signs of a radicalisation transition; rather, it uses aesthetics and top-down delivery by a scripted trainer to operationalise professional intuitions about vulnerable people. Viewers in healthcare professions are repeatedly told that they already possess the knowledge required to identify radicalisation, they just need the confidence to use it. The duty to report radicalisation hasn’t been introduced cold. Rather, Prevent has been attached in parasitical fashion to existing safeguarding regimes of seeing abuse and reporting concerns. The Prevent Duty explicitly justifies making teachers, doctors and nurses 161

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responsible for counterterrorism as a simple extension of their safeguarding responsibilities. But by contextualising Prevent as safeguarding, the regime creates an implied category of ‘ideological abuse’ where the ‘future-terrorist’ is recast in the present as a liminal, transitioning and vulnerable person (Heath-Kelly, 2016). This blurs both time and space (Rizq, 2017) and creates a radically ambivalent ‘pre-criminal space’ into which any member of society can be positioned by the intuitions of professionals who exercise their ‘expertise’. By analysing the pedagogy of the WRAP training product, the chapter contributes to literatures on risk and preemption in critical International Relations. Scholars such as Louise Amoore (2007), Marieke De Goede (2008) and Ben Anderson (2010) have all written prolifically on the methods by which the future is co-opted by governance to secure the present. Through technologies of risk and anticipation, the harbinger of the future emergency is imagined in the present where it can be acted upon. Our chapter contributes to this literature by focusing upon how future risks (in this case, people) are made visible as potential future dangers through the pedagogy of counterradicalisation training. We draw upon Rancière’s ‘police order’ to articulate the role of seeing within securitisation, while drawing parallels with the process identified by Foucault at the end of the 18th century, whereby seeing pathology constituted the healthcare field around medical gaze (Foucault, 2003). Both medicine and security have historically deployed the gaze to constitute their biopolitical objects of action (Howell, 2014) – but rarely in such an overlapping and coordinated fashion as WRAP training. Finally, the chapter reflects upon the ethics and risks of critique in Politics and International Relations. The authors reflect on their ethical commitment to reveal the problems of the Prevent Duty to the public, alongside their fears that some revelations – like all other critiques of Prevent – will only succeed in driving the mechanics of the strategy further into the realms of government secrecy. The authors engage in dialogue about their respective understandings of critique and the possibility, or impossibility, of bringing other worlds into being through academic endeavour.

Knowing ‘radicalisation:’ aesthetic practice and somatic politics To analyse the ways in which WRAP makes radicalisation knowable by instantiating a sensibility to the ‘pre-criminal space’ we turn to a thinker who can help us engage with the political significance of sensory experience. Rancière draws our attention to an ‘aesthetics’ at the core of politics, which defines the stakes and design of what it might mean to belong to a political community. Politics as a form of experience ‘revolves around what is seen and what can be said about it, around who has the ability to see and the talent to speak, around the properties of spaces and the possibilities of time’ (2006: 13). The parameters of a ‘we’ unfold through what may appear – visibly, affectively – as legitimate, acceptable roles and identities, which, however, are bound up with pre-established ‘sensory inclusions and exclusions’ (Lewis, 2012: 3). This is what Rancière calls ‘the police order,’ the vertical organisation of society that divides up and makes visible various parts of an imaginary social whole by assigning bodies ‘by name’ to particular tasks and places (Chambers, 2011: 306). At its base, education works at the level of the senses, bringing about and affirming a social order where we learn how to see and ‘unsee’ certain realities, and recognise ourselves within a hierarchical distribution of bodies, voices and gestures (Lewis, 2012: 4–6). Sensing and practices of sense-making have served as distinguished sites in the gradual involvement of the ‘public’ in the expansion and reconfiguration of counterterrorism efforts (Heath-Kelly, 2017). Redefining relationships between image and language, between what can be seen and what can be said about it (Foucault, 2009: 10), has been an important 162

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pedagogical tool in re-engineering public attitudes and behaviour. A course of action might follow from something being noticed. For instance the ‘See it. Say it. Sorted.’ campaign presupposes direct translatability between these regimes of image and language and rewards the reduction of complexity in their interpretation. Potential hesitation in meaning-making is replaced with the security of linear, completed and successful action by the authorities (‘Sorted.’) Here, sense faculties are militarised and colonised as strategic assets in a fight against threats to the social order where they can be separated and re-programmed independent of the specificity of context, and also of the singularity of the person. In the words of Rail Minister Paul Maynard, we want to send a clear message to anyone threatening the security of the rail network that there are thousands of pairs of eyes and ears ready to report any potential threat to BTP and rail staff who are ready to respond to these reports. (British Transport Police, 2016) As ‘eyes’ and ‘ears’ are set into vigilance mode ‘ready to report’ whatever may seem strange or unusual the body is also called upon in its capacity to make decisions on what may or may not feel ‘right.’ Like the British Transport Police, the recent Home Office ‘Action Counters Terrorism’ campaign also explicitly calls on ‘communities to act on their instincts’ without deliberation or doubt, emphasised by the slogan ‘don’t worry, don’t delay, just act’ (Home Office, 2017). The need to trust ‘instincts’ and ‘gut feelings’ has been carried over into Prevent, encouraging a ‘decisional subjectivity devoid of critical, reflective judgment’ (Dresser, 2017). The cultivation of a detached mode of seeing, its anticipatory rationality and the reinforcement of a culture of suspicion resonates with the broader ‘watchful politics’ of the war on terror that relocates bordering practices and the sovereign act of line drawing between Self and Other into everyday interactions, as matters of ‘everyday securitisation’ that mobilise existing prejudicial assumptions with regards to race, class, religion, gender in marking the ‘other within’ (Amoore, 2007: 220). Yet with the continuing expansion and elaboration of surveillance techniques and counterterrorism into the realm of public participation, the ways in which ‘citizens’ are made into vigilant subjects and taught to use their senses in line with government policy gave rise to new forms of expression. In the following sections we offer a reading of how Prevent has operationalised ‘intuition’ and the reliance on ‘gut-feelings’ as a form of professional judgement, and how official Prevent training works to build confidence in, and remove barriers to, referrals and reporting. Prevent training has been rolled out to dentists, doctors, nurses, consultants, technicians, receptionists and GPs (and others) since 2013 in most regions of the UK. The latest package, WRAP 3 training, seeks to render ‘radicalisation’ knowable, controllable and potentially treatable through the introduction of new visibilities, affective landscapes and bodily practices into existing professional structures and protocols. Its pedagogy of suspicion is framed as ‘part of the wider safeguarding agenda’ (NHS England, 2015) and embedded within the line of mandatory training sessions, such as courses on hand washing, fire safety, or infection control. On the basis of a combination of trainer’s handbooks and scripts, as well as a close reading of the visual architecture and content of the training video we tease out and reconstruct some of the mechanisms that create a distinct sensibility to ‘radicalisation’ and anchor decision-making in the body, circumventing critical reflection and ethical consideration. We show how through the cultivation of a particular way of seeing and a mode of intuition-based action the Prevent training builds and deploys an aesthetic regime within which bodies, language, gestures and factual circumstances come to be perceived as future risks and distributed within a regulatory structure where ‘medicine’ and ‘security’ collapse into each other. 163

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The pedagogy of ‘pre-criminal space:’ the making of the professional gaze WRAP 3 training sessions are two hours long and delivered by a non-expert facilitator, who reads out a script, plays the respective parts of the training video and conducts two exercises with the group. These exercises serve to identify vulnerabilities that can lead to ‘radicalisation’ and to map out and encourage reporting. For both exercises the facilitator plays a ‘case study’ that showcases a success story of ‘Prevent in action.’ The selection of cases features instances of ‘far right extremism’ and ‘al-Qaeda influence’ in schools, health care and local communities, with ‘adult’ and ‘adolescent’ versions where almost all ‘vulnerable individuals’ are male. The first case study is narrated from the point of view of a person whose life positively changed through the intervention of a multi-agency panel and the second one is told through the perspective of a professional who made a referral out of concern for someone’s wellbeing. ‘Radicalisation’ is made actionable as WRAP entrenches and encourages a new knowledge practice within the medical profession. Here a non-expert professional gaze and an adherent intuitive judgement are embedded within an otherwise evidence-based medical culture. The training package is designed by the Home Office such that 1–2 hours of DVD-based training can facilitate the spotting of signs of ‘radicalisation’ by healthcare workers who then refer the vulnerable service user to their safeguarding team. The safeguarding team then make the decision to either park the query, or escalate it through the Prevent process. Yet this system requires the recontextualisation of safeguarding duties by changing how ‘vulnerability’ is seen and consequently, how it should be addressed. Counterterrorism activities are made to fit within healthcare through the implicit inclusion of ‘ideological abuse’ as a safeguarding concern. Radicalisation is equated with a grooming process, but one which turns its victim into a weapon. This grooming process occurs in an unsubstantiated ‘pre-criminal space’ where individuals deemed vulnerable to being radicalised can receive ‘support’ and ‘redirection’ by professionals – rather than sanction. Radicalisation in this context comes to be described as ‘comparable to other forms of exploitation’ (ibid.), as ‘no different to safeguarding [people] from other forms of potential harm’ (Home Office, 2011). The training video depicts the relationship between the ‘radicaliser’ and the vulnerable individual in a manner that not only foregrounds the latter’s victim status but also marks the realm of mental health as a site of intervention and battleground between ‘criminal masterminds’ and healthcare professionals. ‘Radicalisers,’ as explained by a group of experts in the video’s introduction: might find someone who is aggrieved, looking for answers and radicalize them, give them a purpose, a cause, a reward, even if it might cost them their lives. They find someone who needs help and abuse that, often turning them into a criminal for the first time. Well, we can stop that. Which means we can stop crimes like terrorism. Understand: an attack truly starts with finding, indeed recruiting someone to carry out the atrocity. Someone who is impressionable or vulnerable, someone who is lost, who wants us to notice them and to listen to them, and if we don’t recognize that and give them our attention someone else might, someone who doesn’t have their best interests at heart. (Training Video) ‘Radicalisation’ is rendered sensible within healthcare provision through the construction of a grey, indefinable area that reframes the possibility of (political) violence through safeguarding assumptions. The notion of the ‘pre-criminal space’ is made real and relatable in daily practice through the identification of vulnerability with ‘ideological abuse’ and grooming. 164

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While ‘pre-criminal space’ is flagged up as a strategic term that healthcare professionals need to ‘understand’ (NHS England, 2015), as a spatio-temporal metaphor it operates within a rather ambiguous scope. Goldberg et al. ground it in the temporal provision of professional support – when the vulnerable person is engaged by the Channel panel and related professionals – and in this view, ‘space’ becomes a relational concept that is non-specific and accompanies interprofessional activity without reference to physical spaces (2017: 209). Yet, as they write, both ‘time and space [are] decided by negotiation with and between professionals,’ which presupposes an act of professional judgement – the ‘pre-criminal space’ may ‘start on acceptance of a referral of a person within the Channel panel, or perhaps on referral or discussion of the possibility of referral by NHS staff to Channel personnel’ (ibid.). Rizq notes, however, that the ‘pre-criminal space,’ at the same time, is potentially infinite, including, for instance, a psychiatrist’s counselling room from the moment that someone enters. Rizq notes that the notion of ‘pre-crime’ directs attention to the person who has not yet acted, on the presumed intention to act. As such, she writes, ‘the “pre-criminal space” is in my consulting room and yours – anywhere and everywhere; it applies anytime, to anyone’ (2016: 6). What is key, therefore, is neither a particular interpretation of time, nor that of space but the operation of a professional gaze as a way of seeing and mode of acting that turns a counselling room (or for that matter, the street, the supermarket, the school) into a ‘pre-criminal space’ where individuals deemed vulnerable to radicalisation can be identified. The ‘pre-criminal space’ with its distinct diagnostic and hierarchical features therefore comes into being through the capacity to see what was previously unseeable. This new ‘reality’ then enables and perpetuates what Rancière identifies as the emblematic function of the police that cements such configurations by asserting their ‘normality’: ‘Move along! There is nothing to see here!’ (2001). This professional gaze is trained to identify particular manifestations of vulnerability as prefigurations of criminality within what is presented as the realm of safeguarding activity. As Berger emphasises, looking is never object-focused only, ‘we are always looking at the relation between things and ourselves’ (1977: 9). The pedagogical apparatus of WRAP is geared towards the construction of particular sensibilities to the ‘pre-criminal space’ in relation to which a specific mode of looking can emerge. The ways in which pre-criminality via vulnerability is presented and represented in the training can be characterised by a series of operations that engender a certain design of perception: what is seen and how it is recognised, processed and dealt with. Reading one the case studies, the story of Neil (narrated from his point of view) along with supporting training materials, we have teased out various mechanisms through which a professional gaze is brought about as a form of non-expert awareness that serves as the basis of intuition-based action. As it will be shown in the last section, the training video’s visual organisation further reinforces the need to extend safeguarding duties to ‘ideological abuse’ by setting the ‘pathological’ apart from the ‘normal’ at the level of images, enabling the former’s successful reintegration into the latter via professional intervention.

‘Case study 1’ As an example of ‘adult Al-Qaeda influence,’ Neil, who had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and was imprisoned for attacking a policeman in a delusional state, gives the following account of how he became ‘radicalised’ in prison: People say I don’t look British but I am. My dad who is dead is white and my mom is white. In prison there were some prisoners from Iraq who said I looked like them and I could hang around with them and they would protect me. They let me be 165

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a Muslim. I was in prison when the airplanes hit the twin towers. They told me about jihad. They told me that in heaven I would not have any mental illness. When I was released I told Sally my community psychiatric nurse that I wanted to be a martyr. Sally was lovely. She was the only person I saw much of. My brother would come around and take my benefit money but no-one else. I did not like to go to the mosque. My new medicine made me dribble and it would go into my beard and people would laugh at me. So I wasn’t a good Muslim. And I still like to drink and smoke skunk. I was once called a ‘dirty Muslim.’ So I had to do something to make that better. I told Sally that I thought I might be a suicide bomber at the football stadium or at a shopping centre but I told her I wouldn’t do it until my mom had died. I don’t think my mom would like it and I didn’t want my mom to be upset. But I also knew that if mom died I would be so upset that I would want to kill myself. Sally was worried about me. I showed her the knife I slept with and took on a bus so that I felt safe. And that’s when I was sectioned for a month. When I came out things have changed. Sally had put me forward to a group of people who wanted to help me. (Home Office, 2015d) After the referral Neil was offered assistance to talk to imams about Islam at local mosques in private, his medication was changed, he moved accommodation, his council benefits were checked, social workers helped him visit his mother more often and he was given a kitten to look after. He concludes his story by saying: ‘I feel happy today. Sally told me that for 11 years I was considered high risk something called tier 4 but I’m not anymore. I am much better.’

Non-expert ‘awareness’ Neil’s story is presented as part of a non-expert agenda. The stated purpose of WRAP is to install an ‘awareness’ in the audience without requiring prior knowledge yet without the promise of generating new professional knowledge either. As the facilitator announces to the workshop participants: For most or all of you you’d be a Zero if we were ranking Prevent knowledge out of 10. And my job is to take you to 1 or 2 on that scale with this workshop. And for many of you, that will be enough – just having that basic understanding of Prevent will still mean you can bring the Strategy to life and make a difference to vulnerable people. (Home Office, 2015c: 1) As the script explains, ‘we don’t need to understand the ideologies or ideas that are promoted, more the way they work to hook in the vulnerable’ (Home Office, 2015c: 2). Awareness as a knowledge practice is engineered through making an appeal to a yet unknown ‘depth’ of terrorist activity introduced by the ‘iceberg’ metaphor that stipulates an invisible realm beneath the ‘tip’ of ‘pictures and images’ that visibly demonstrate acts of violence that have already taken place. The facilitator is encouraged to ‘“own” this section’ as a ‘great chance to educate the audience, and assert [their] authority/knowledge for the rest of the session’ (Home Office, 2015b: 4). This represents a corrective move away from a ‘too narrow’ perception of terrorism in the light of which ‘terrorism’ and ‘safeguarding’ might have been considered as separate realms. The notion of the ‘pre-criminal space’ is introduced through the now visible ‘hidden activity that builds and builds, leading to the attack itself’ visually represented as the base of the iceberg and the postulation of an organiser, a ‘radicaliser’ who exploits vulnerability and is 166

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responsible for putting a ‘mass of activity’ in place. The ‘iceberg’ metaphor relocates visibility within the regime of the sensible: it re-imagines ‘terrorism’ in the fabric of everyday life, and recontextualises everyday experiences of vulnerability by positioning them in a causal chain that necessarily leads to violence. It teaches to see the unseen, what otherwise would have remained obscure and dangerous, by facilitating a mode of perception that not only constructs others’ behaviour in an anticipatory manner but also with a sense of finality: as if the attack had already taken place. The ‘pre-criminal space’ as an animating category of daily life is uncovered through a dramaturgy that doesn’t leave much room for critical reflection or negotiation. It takes place within a hierarchical staging between trainer, the audience and the training video produced by the Home Office where the trainer is not an expert in ‘radicalisation’ or counterterrorism broadly understood. The DVD is foregrounded as the prime source of knowledge: trainers do not require formal training, except that they must have attended a WRAP session themselves and are ‘capable of delivering the WRAP product’ (NHS England, 2016). The workshop departs from the assumption that audience members ‘may be wondering why they are at the event,’ suggestive of a misfit between counterterrorism and safeguarding activities, yet this presumed unease (and potential site of critique and resistance) is easily bridged as the facilitator’s workbook makes clear that ‘the video will do much of the work’ and hence the introduction should be kept ‘short and sweet’ (Home Office, 2015b: 3). Meta-messages that may circulate through informal gestures, conversations, insider views and reflection – that is, instances of unwritten knowledge that engenders a ‘professional’ culture at the level of everyday practice beyond and often, in-spite of formal rules (see Jubany, 2017) – are carefully controlled for and limited to the minimum. The dramaturgy of the training that consists of short explanatory commentaries on training video chapters and two follow-up exercises discourages any autonomous, unscripted engagement from the audience – the script is read out and questions are generally not expected. The trainer’s capability of delivering the ‘product’ however means that they should be ‘confident in answering questions that sometimes arise’ (NHS England, 2016, our emphasis). While WRAP 3 explicitly frames Prevent in the NHS as ‘just safeguarding,’ the training’s delivery minimises personal contact and draws heavily on institutional disciplinary structures. This further illuminates that the knowledge practices entrenched in this way are an uneasy fit with safeguarding or medical routine – they are introduced by means of a sovereign intervention which not only controls what is to be known but also how that ‘knowledge’ is deposited. Yet the peculiarity of a non-expert awareness within an evidence-based institutional culture may be mediated through resonances with already existing knowledge-practices in medicine. In The Birth of the Clinic Foucault identifies a new modality of the gaze, the ‘act of seeing’ that marks the emergence of modern medicine at the end of the 18th century, which, as an epistemological shift, fundamentally redefined the practice of medical perception and through that, medical experience and doctor–patient relationships (Foucault, 2003: ix). As the eye becomes the ‘depositary and source of clarity,’ it takes on the power ‘to bring a truth to light that it receives’ and ‘only to the extent that it has brought it to light’ (2003: xiii). The sovereignty of eye perception foregrounds the ‘case’, the ‘condition’, separating ‘normal’ from ‘pathological’ on the basis of the presence or absence of the symptoms of disease. The medical gaze moves away from the complexity of the person and their stories of illness, and turns to the identifiable disease that it not only seeks to map but also to defeat (Bleakley and Bligh, 2009: 372). Importantly, as Bleakley and Bligh note, ‘medicine’s imperialistic urge to conquer illness (through intimate knowledge of the body) on behalf of patients mutates to conquering illness despite patients’ (ibid.). Yet as they remark, the clinical 167

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gaze is only partly literal looking and seeing – it is also attitude, even hubris, a certain cultivated ‘sensibility,’ which is mediated through a cultural apparatus and knowledge practices. In the 21st century the medical gaze has become fragmented and dispersed with technological progress, the proliferation of diagnostic software, protocols, guiding frameworks and the distribution of functions across various practitioners that stage and structure encounters in clinical settings. However, the logic of war that structures its fundamental relationship to ‘disease’ may provide a point of accommodation for the spotting of ‘ideological abuse’ and the fight against radicalisation even in the absence of expertise, evidence or methodological precision.

Intuition-based action The ‘awareness’ WRAP seeks to cultivate is presented as an extension of already existing safeguarding skills and available support in recognising vulnerability and by proxy, someone’s supposed vulnerability to terrorism. After watching the first case video narrated by someone who has been successfully diverted from terrorist activity, the ‘Vulnerabilities’ exercise turns to what can be seen as the preconditions of ‘radicalisation’ and departs from the broadest definition of vulnerability: ‘What will those signs that someone needs our help look like?’ (Home Office, 2015c: 5). As the script continues, In truth, they will look a lot like other troubling behaviour. So without being caught up on whether the motivations are terror-related or not […] I want us to think about what behaviours would give you a cause for concern – as simple as a ‘gut feeling”’ – about someone’s welfare? (ibid.) The Facilitator’s Workbook contains specific provisions with regards to how this exercise should be conducted and what learning outcomes are desirable. The facilitator should ‘try and steer the responses to emotions and feelings – these are after all what are truly exploited by a radicalizer’ (Home Office, 2015b: 6). WRAP clearly prioritises and aims to orchestrate emotional learning, postulating that ‘people can relate to feelings a lot more than they can [to] someone’s circumstances’ and as such, ‘circumstantial reasons given for vulnerability’ should be turned by the facilitator into ‘emotions and feelings,’ which will ‘more likely to solicit key words such as Isolation; Belonging; Need; Anger; Desire; Frustration; Grievance … ’ (ibid.). ‘Isolation or Exclusion from the mainstream’ are seen as particularly important factors to mention, especially that as the script confirms, ‘all the case studies allow for this quite naturally’ (ibid.). While it is openly acknowledged to the audience that ‘all of us at times may share feelings, or influences such as these’ as private persons, what is emphasised is that the presence of these emotions ‘often lead to a sense of injustice – be that on a personal or more far reaching scale – making someone feel like an outsider, isolated, not listened to’ (Home Office, 2015c: 4). The problem now turns out to be if feelings that may give rise to concern about someone’s wellbeing remain unchecked. The facilitator stresses the need for protection and intervention: But protect them from what? Radicalisation. (ibid.) The sensibility of the ‘pre-criminal space’ through which ‘radicalisation’ is introduced into safeguarding practice gives rise to ‘pre-emptive sense-making processes’ that are ‘characterised by speculation, suspicion, and doubt’ (Walmsley, 2017: 82) that pump-primes instincts, which then 168

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constitutes the basis for action. The message conveyed to the audience is to ‘do something,’ even if the possibility of involvement in terrorist or criminal activity, as emphasised in the facilitator’s script, may be remote. WRAP offers a threefold typology to break down the ‘gut feeling’ into recognisable categories, such as ‘emotional’, ‘verbal,’ ‘physical’ signs of vulnerability and through this, builds confidence to articulate what may be noticed privately as a public concern (Home Office, 2015c: 5). The protocol of ‘Notice-Check-Share’ revealed towards the end of the session after the showing of the second case video – a success story narrated this time by a healthcare professional who made a referral under Prevent, which demonstrably induced a positive change in the vulnerable individual’s life – takes what may be felt as intuition to the threshold between private observation and institutional notice. It presents an embodied mechanism through which ‘gut feelings’ are prepared for an institutional articulation of ‘concern.’ The video explains that concerns turned into referrals are addressed by intervention providers who have ‘robust knowledge of the ideology the individuals’ vulnerabilities are hiding behind’ and as the facilitator’s script clarifies, the intervention is about ‘stripping away the ideology and getting to the crux of the vulnerability underneath – the same vulnerabilities the audience would have spoken about back in the first exercise’ (Home Office, 2015b: 30). In this way the training comes full circle: after the militaristic removal of ideological distortions safeguarding activity returns to its ‘normal’ course, dealing with ‘vulnerabilities.’ As the video concludes, ‘we can all have the confidence to trust our instincts and speak up when someone needs our help.’

Fictional reintegration and its aesthetics The training video not only reveals the ‘truth’ of the ‘pre-criminal space’ as the underlying, invisible depth of a metaphoric iceberg, which then encourages the cultivation of a non-expert gaze and authorises intuitive action, but it also puts in place a scopic regime (Grayson, 2012; Coward, 2018; Manderson, 2017) that governs how the viewer sees and participates in what has been made visible to them. ‘Awareness’ of Prevent is cultivated at two distinct sites of visibility. Casual professional dialogue and expert statements made by clinical psychiatrists, members of Channel, mentors and community activists with regards to vulnerability and its connections with ‘radicalisation’ are shot in light, spacious, ordered but friendly environments that convey an air of ease, efficiency and humanity. Life rendered ‘normal’ is alive, caring and problem-focused, where a range of practitioners – teachers, policemen, social workers – explain how they extend their existing duty of care and regular activities when they assess ‘vulnerabilities of individuals and decide on an intervention if required.’ In contrast, an assemblage of black and white images and recordings weaving through the information blocks introduce an entirely different lifeworld. Some of these are snapshots of streets from a distance, from a view of looking down to people walking by or close-ups of bodies resembling CCTV footage. Other shots are blurred, people and faces are out of focus and small details of objects (such as a branch or railings) are zoomed in on, making the observer’s presence felt in a fashion that is suggestive of a narrow, closed, literally short-sighted (and anti-social) view of the world. Time-lapse images are shot from behind a tree, as if the person watching was hiding or waiting. Other images show scenes of isolation and disorientation in slow motion, such as a female student walking on the school corridor, or a man who is standing alone under a tree (observed from a distance). The monochrome world of the pre-criminal space is within which ‘cases,’ actual success stories of ‘Prevent in action’ recounted by the vulnerable individual themselves, or by a practitioner who made a referral under Prevent. The staging of both types of stories is similar: a voiceover narrates the story while images of the main characters with intense gesticulation, sometimes looking at each other and at other times looking into the camera, move from right to 169

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left at varying speeds, creating a film-like sequence where linearity becomes an exaggerated feature. Gestures and mimicry create an affective, relatable landscape for the words spoken while the theatrical dramaturgy keeps the realm of ‘words’ and ‘action’ separate, as if doubling their power and impact over the viewer. As Rizq notes, however, in a ‘pre-criminal space’ between practitioner and the vulnerable individual the opposite is presumed: ‘words and deeds are conflated; what you say is literally what you are going to do’ (2016: 6). The viewer is positioned on the threshold between distance and proximity, objectivity and personal involvement, in the space between ‘words’ and ‘action,’ as both an observer and a participant to the meetings and conversations staged. Characters of case stories are photographed through headshots mostly, as if sitting right in front of the viewer, engaging them directly through sharing and exposing emotions. The viewer’s place in this way is already made within the stories told and their milieu – as a listener, a friend, a family member, or a healthcare professional. Each case story is a testimony of success where signs of vulnerability were spotted, and the threat of radicalisation was diverted through intervention by the coordinated efforts of a multi-agency panel. At the end of each story, as the narrator reflects on the outcome of the process and their personal learning, the image and the life-world represented turns into colour. The person being filmed comes visibly alive – gestures become freer, body postures more relaxed. In the same gesture, the liminal position of the viewer is also resolved. Through the work and process of ‘safeguarding’ the dullness of the black and white precriminal space is turned into the colourful vibrancy of regular life (where, for instance, expert interviews about Prevent take place and into which the individual deemed vulnerable is returned). The morals of the stories are captured and underlined in these few seconds of transition, which also entrench a model of change – that of making a difference to vulnerable people’s lives – as an affective imprint. Quite literally, as an adult male formerly involved in right wing extremism remarks, ‘Not everything is black and white.’ In the training video’s visual organisation the ‘pre-criminal space’ unfolds as a distinct sensibility that is placed outside the ‘normal.’ The black and white images and particular camera angles conjure up a ‘world’ that is detached, suspicious and separate. Safeguarding action is called upon as a means of reintegration where the ‘pre-criminal’ is returned to a non-criminal state. Yet this model of change and the promise of fulfilment through fulfilling one’s duty is fully dependent on the initial split between regular life and pre-criminal space, that is, the distillation of a black and white, obscure world from the multidimensionality of colour and its subsequent reintegration. The pedagogical moment lies with the fiction of re-integration (of what had not been separate in the first place), which, at the same time, makes the case for safeguarding to be used otherwise.

About critique and critical junctures What is critique? What are we doing with this analysis? Here we engage in dialogue with each other about our different understandings of critical IR and the ways in which critical engagement also participates in and makes the world we study. Thinking with (and besides) Foucault and Rancière, while a critical project can take many forms, what cannot be spared is the effort and commitment to break through the numbness of habit and the mundane, often unspectacular modes of enacting and embodying the ‘normal’ and the already familiar. Foucault described the task of critique as one to uncover the established, unexamined ways of thinking that underlie social practices and everyday behaviour. Criticism is about ‘showing that things are not as obvious as people believe, making it so that what is taken for granted is 170

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no longer taken for granted.’ More poignantly, ‘to do criticism is to make harder those acts which are now too easy’ (Foucault, 2000: 456). For instance, when it comes to language and image, Foucault observes the radical inexhaustibility of the ‘visible’ by the ‘sayable.’ What we see can never be fully captured by words, as well as the precarious ethical position that arises from such impossibility: how can we keep the ‘relation of language and vision open’ so that we can ‘stay as close as possible to both’? (2009: 10). What is required from us to be mindful of our inescapable insertion in a game of appearances and words, and negotiate it responsibly on a daily basis? Despite (or perhaps partly due to) critical efforts, for Rancière ‘true politics’ hardly ever happens: ‘only when a person or group of people gain voice in a heretofore unimaginable way’ (Bingham and Biesta, 2010: 22). Everything else falls within the activity of policing and in one way or another, finds its place in the ‘police order.’ Politics in this emancipatory sense is not calculable, let alone predictable – it cannot be orchestrated, but just like intellectual emancipation (Rancière, 1991), it can be encouraged and made space for through (momentary) interruptions, when social and institutional norms, programmes, familiar sensibilities get troubled, diverted, re-appropriated (Bingham and Biesta, 2010: 23–24). Politics can arise, as such, with autonomous and determined ‘true’ learning (Rancière, 1991: 59). How can we learn and learn to think and see in this way, without anticipation for what is yet to come? Among other things, critique can help us make what is easy harder, keep relations open, and imagine the unimaginable. With regards to the research process and preliminary findings of our project on how ‘Prevent Duty’ has been implemented in NHS England since the 2011 Prevent Review, this is the point to which we can speak as a ‘we’ and maintain an ‘objective,’ unitary voice. We share a constructive intellectual journey grounded in empirical analysis and a desire to ‘make sense’ of what may seem worrying, paradoxical, or to the contrary, seemingly benign and neutral-looking. There have been disagreements and discoveries, bringing to light a new range of unexpected questions and theoretical puzzles. Yet when it comes to what critique can or should do beyond destabilising habitual, internalised thinking and practice, ‘we’ become(s) our idiosyncratic, individual selves, ‘Charlotte’ and ‘Erzsébet,’ with our own assumptions, beliefs and hopes in, of, and perhaps despite academic research. We look at this unexpected (but in many ways, liberating) fragmentation of the authorial voice as an opportunity. After all, it is unlikely that at any stage of the project – individually or as a team – we will be asked to give an account of our ethical and political commitments that drive the investigation, or this is what the both of us thought initially. But, where we stand ‘politically’ has actually been a defining aspect of the organisation and empirical geography of the project, deciding on several occasions where and how access may or may not be granted within the NHS infrastructure. For instance, a professional panel of a Clinical Commissioning Group interrogated Charlotte with regards to her political views on Prevent, which then, as she found out through other contacts, not only denied research access but also discouraged other institutions from participating in the study. However, besides the unforeseen daily struggles with a militarised gatekeeping culture there is more to the intellectual, affective, embodied labour that goes into our efforts, something that neither policy-makers nor healthcare workers deemed to be important to find more out about – so far. In fact, beyond what efficiency and academic good practice required we haven’t considered these questions in depth either. So we interview each other. What then can critical inquiry do for the project, for others, for ourselves? For Charlotte there is an ethical commitment and a democratic attachment: ‘people need to know what’s being done in their name.’ Part of the critical task is to uncover those undemocratic 171

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practices and processes that the government seeks to cover up and keep out of sight. For Charlotte, to speak about the ‘autoimmunity’ of the Prevent Duty grasps something essential in this regard: it helps to conceptualise the moment when security leaps from identifying an ‘outside’ that threatens the ‘inside,’ from focusing on that outside force against which it has built immunity and instead, complicates the distinction and brings ‘the enemy’ inside the body (politic). This autoimmune moment can perhaps be best captured in the reaction of security elites to the 2005 bombing of London, especially their seamless transition from narratives about the threat posed by Al Qaeda to a brand new security discourse of radicalisation (Sedgwick, 2010). Prevent has re-tasked counterterrorism toward the inside, rather than at (or beyond) the border, and becomes more and more pathological as it looks for pathology. It attacks healthy cells in the process. The autoimmune logic sets in motion a cycle of destruction as the Prevent Duty is not able to identify what is ‘cancer’ and what isn’t, expanding and reconfiguring the scope of surveillance from racialised communities to potentially anyone who can be decisioned in its frame. Early Prevent was a committed and unrefined racist, whereas contemporary Prevent has some of the symptoms of paranoia and split personality. ‘Pre-crime’ takes security from an anticipatory agenda to that of the pre-emptive, establishing a predictive model that is cut loose from any statistical underwriting that formerly informed risk-models and becomes totalising. Charlotte says, ‘We have a mass reporting structure in society, permanently, on a statutory footing, and no-one freaks out about it!’ But changing views has its risks and difficulties. Revealing the problems of Prevent Duty to the public – similarly to other critiques of Prevent – might only succeed in driving the mechanics of the strategy further into the realms of government secrecy and bureaucratic policy. It was once easier for academics to gain access to police and lower level Prevent professionals, to discuss their work. But after the Government faced a barrage of academic critique for using racialised census data to allocate counterterrorism resources (Kundnani, 2009), the Prevent Strategy migrated across departments into the Home Office and the Office for Security and Counterterrorism – and a new culture of operation secrecy has been enforced. ‘Knowing Prevent’ is now a lot harder. Further, in a society ever-more influenced by right-wing discourse, the moment of critique often fails to generate social change and the abandonment of abusive policies. While there are interesting moments that could bring about change, they tend to get passed by. Charlotte is pessimistic about the emancipatory potential of critique, that it will make ‘life’ qualitatively better. Our researcher-truth is not messianic or revelatory, if no one else wants it. Yet Erzsébet has a strong commitment to transformation and she thinks along with Rancière that the possibility for emancipation lies with a new ‘staging’: in a poetic act that brings about a new sensory world where alternative ‘scenes’ of political participation – of what can be seen and who can speak – are invented (van Munster, 2009: 267). Maybe critical practice is not going to bring spectacular results, especially not in the short run. She has little doubt that Prevent, its pedagogy and associated modes of social engineering are going to stay. But perhaps – against and despite the pedagogical paradigm of WRAP – we can train ourselves to sense and make sense differently. We can unlearn suspicion and teach ourselves to notice how our fears, prejudices and anxieties are co-opted into mechanisms of social control and policing. Charlotte asks Erzsébet a provocative question: ‘what about the moments where a new staging happened but was ignored or passed by?’ In the absence of truth claims, critique often reinvents itself as a potential midwife of change – but how many opportunities have already been missed to engage real debate on this counterterrorism policy? Do we have to now face the prospect that a large section of society doesn’t want our input? 172

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In Erzsébet’s view, the further Prevent’s sensibility is driven into the mundane, the more we are pushed to find alternatives in that very register also. Starting from the micro-scale of individual lives inserted within institutional routines and habits, we can choose to explore and experiment with what seeing, hearing, speaking can mean and might do, especially in settings that are increasingly pre-mediated not only through Prevent Duty but also as a result of neoliberal government. Change, real debate and the imprints of a ‘new sensory world’ may not only be where we think they are. Whenever I take the train, I look at the already familiar signs that tell me to watch out for anything suspicious, over and again, and I ponder my own relationship to them. What would possibly disarm them? Or rather, what could deactivate the fear in me that resonates with and responds to these messages? Erzsébet finds hope and inspiration at the edges and thresholds of theory, embodied forms of knowing and lived experience. Foucault notes the radical inexhaustibility of the visible by the sayable, that is, that what we see can never be fully captured by words, as well as the precarious ethical position that arises from such impossibility. His question is how we can keep the ‘relation of language and vision open’ so that we can ‘stay as close as possible to both’? (2009: 10). What is then required from us to be mindful of our inescapable insertion in a game of appearances and words, and negotiate it responsibly on a daily basis? How can we become aware of the ‘awareness’ Prevent seeks to inculcate in the public, in us, undo the hold of instinctual conditioning and use that space of understanding to see what other modes of being and forms of relating may emerge? ‘I haven’t seen a doctor in years and otherwise I don’t hang out with policy-makers. I speak with students every day though.’ Erzsébet still believes that the classroom remains a ‘radical space of possibility’ in the academy (hooks, 1994: 12), and importantly, beyond that. She would like to design and teach a course with the specific ethical and political commitment to cultivate other ways of seeing and sense-making. ‘Literally, we would engage perception in a hands-on, practical manner, through experiments with space, time and beingtogether.’ Critique, for her, has already made space for this. She recounts that as she was watching the training video for the purposes of the analysis occasionally she felt completely drawn into its world, no longer knowing what was possibly ‘wrong’ or problematic with it anymore. ‘Maybe it really is just “safeguarding”?!’ Yet patiently breaking down how such experiences are orchestrated and generated at the personal level helped her find new directions, too. ‘I needed to see this so that I could learn more about how to work myself out the grip of “pre-criminal space” and its aesthetics. That learning, I trust, is already a different sensibility of political possibility.’ Now Erzsébet asks Charlotte a provocative question. ‘What is then, the best-case scenario for this project?’ Charlotte has listened with interest, and confirms that she too has been profoundly unnerved at particular moments during this project. While she hasn’t watched the WRAP DVD as many times as Erzsébet, she has interviewed the safeguarding and Prevent leads involved with the project. ‘Over time, the repetition of narratives about Prevent as a form of care for vulnerable people also affected me – and I wondered if I was the one who is mad. Or maybe even bad!’ She felt a huge sense of relief when interviewing medical professionals who have published critical reflections on Prevent, finding herself at home once more. ‘I will try to use this sense of “home” to answer your question. Home has a language. And my pessimism about the potential for critique to change anything stems from a feeling that not many people speak our language.’ Charlotte thinks that our critical language is the 173

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product of university education (specifically, postgraduate level) in social science departments open to continental philosophy. And naturally, we feel most comfortable speaking there – in a language familiar to us. But not many people recognise this language, its rhythms and its quirks. Popular culture and political institutions steadily downgrade their respect for us and their patience to listen to ‘an expert.’ Critique is perhaps a threatened language; not endangered or dead, but only spoken in restricted circles. Part of our job is to protect that language by passing it on to new generations, in the way others work with threatened languages. But as we pass on a language, we should think about placing the responsibility for changing politics/critique upon our students. We were once in their place, unaware that such a transaction was being undertaken in our names. If critique has a relationship with change, however incremental, we should be aware that we are sidestepping a burden and offloading it by practising critique through teaching. We invoke the student, in our place, as an actor for – or object of – change. ‘Yet I don’t have a solution. Indeed I’m happiest when I see the incredible new research being done into the Prevent strategy by students, and the original lines of enquiry they have developed.’ For Charlotte the best result would be if this project helps students to formulate their own projects and interrogations of Prevent, or just gives them the confidence to ask their own questions about counterterrorism. ‘A language continues to live if new generations pick it up, bring in new insights and create new “dialects”. At least then we have a home.’ And as such, to ‘make harder those acts which are now too easy’ is also better achieved. On this we agree.

Bibliography Amoore, Louise (2007) ‘Vigilant Visualities: The Watchful Politics of the War on Terror,’ Security Dialogue 38(2), 215–232. Anderson, Ben (2010) ‘Preemption, Precaution, Preparedness: Anticipatory Action and Future Geographies,’ Progress in Human Geography 34(6), 777–798. Berger, John (1977) Ways of Seeing. London: Bloomsbury. Bingham, Charles and Gert Biesta with Rancière, Jacques (2010) Jacques Rancière: Education, Truth, Emancipation. London: Bloomsbury. Bleakley, Alan and John Bligh (2009) ‘Who Can Resist Foucault?’ Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 34, 368–383. British Transport Police (2016) New National Rail Security Campaign Starts Today: “See It. Say It. Sorted”. 1 November. www.btp.police.uk/latest_news/see_it_say_it_sorted_new_natio.aspx (accessed 8 September 2017). Chambers, Samuel A. (2011) ‘Jacques Rancière and the Problem of Pure Politics,’ European Journal of Political Theory 10(3), 303–326. Coward, Martin (2018) ‘Against Network Thinking: A Critique of Pathological Sovereignty,’ European Journal of International Relations 24, 440–463. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/ 1354066117705704 (accessed 10 September 2017). De Goede, Marieke (2008) ‘Beyond Risk: Premediation and the Post-9/11 Security Imagination,’ Security Dialogue 39(2–3), 155–176. Dresser, Paul (2017) ‘Trust Your Instincts – Act! A Critical Examination of PREVENT, Risk and Affect,’ Presentation given at the Critical Studies on Terrorism Annual Conference 2017, ‘From CounterTerrorism to Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism? The Global Governance of Political Violence, Newcastle University, 4–5 September. Foucault, Michel (2000) ‘So Is It Important to Think?’ In: Power: Essential Works of Foucault, 1954–1984. Vol. III, James D. Faubion (ed.). New York: The New Press, 454–461. Foucault, Michel (2003) The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception. London: Routledge. Foucault, Michel (2009) The Order of Things. London: Routledge.

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Seeing radicalisation? Goldberg, David, Sushrut Jadhav and Tarek Younis (2017) ‘Prevent: What is Pre-Criminal Space?’ BJPsych Bulletin 41(1), 208–211. Grayson, Kyle (2012) ‘Six Theses on Targeted Killing,’ Politics 32(2), 120–128. Heath-Kelly, Charlotte (2013) ‘Counter-Terrorism and the Counterfactual: Producing the “Radicalisation Discourse” and the UK Prevent Strategy,’ British Journal of Politics and International Relations 15(3), 394–415. Heath-Kelly, Charlotte (2016) ‘Algorithmic Autoimmunity in the NHS: Radicalisation and the Clinic,’ Security Dialogue 48(1), 29–45. Heath-Kelly, Charlotte (2017) ‘The Geography of the Pre-Criminal Space: Epidemiological Imaginations of Radicalisation Risk in the UK Prevent Strategy, 2007–17,’ Critical Studies on Terrorism 10(2), 297–319. Home Office (2011) Prevent Strategy. London: HM Government. Home Office (2015a) Revised Prevent Duty Guidance for England and Wales. London: HM Government. Home Office (2015b) Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent, Facilitators’ Workbook. London: HM Government. Home Office (2015c) Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent, Workshop Script. London: HM Government. Home Office (2015d) WRAP: Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent, Training Video. London: HM Government. Home Office (2017) Action Counters Terrorism Campaign. 7 March. www.gov.uk/government/news/ action-counters-terrorism (accessed 8 September 2017). hooks, bell (1994) Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. London: Routledge. Howell, Alison (2014) ‘The Global Politics of Medicine: Beyond Global Health, against Securitisation Theory,’ Review of International Studies 40(5), 961–987. Jeory, Ted and Harry Cockburn (2016) ‘More than 500,000 Public Sector Workers Put through Prevent Counter-Terror Training in Bid to Spot Extremism,’ Independent, 23 July. www.independent.co.uk/ news/uk/crime/extremism-prevent-counter-terror-training-public-sector-workers-bid-to-spota7152466.html (accessed 27 January 2016). Jubany, Olga (2017) Screening Asylum in a Culture of Disbelief: Truths, Denials and Skeptical Borders. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Kundnani, Arun (2009) Spooked! How Not to Prevent Violent Extremism. London: Institute of Race Relations. Lewis, Tyson E. (2012) The Aesthetics of Education: Theatre, Curiosity and Politics in the Work of Jacques Rancière and Paolo Freire. London: Bloomsbury. Manderson, Desmond (2017) ‘Chronotopes in the Scopic Regime of Sovereignty,’ Visual Studies 32(2), 167–177. NHS England (2015) ‘Prevent Training and Competencies Framework,’ February. NHS England (2016) ‘NHS England National Prevent Update Number 2,’ August. Rancière, Jacques (1991) The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Rancière, Jacques (2001) ‘Ten Theses on Politics,’ Theory & Event 5(3). Rancière, Jacques (2006) The Politics of Aesthetics. London: Bloomsbury. Rizq, Rosemary (2016) ‘Big Brother Is Listening,’ Therapy Today 28(8), 6. Rizq, Rosemary (2017) ‘“Pre-Crime”, Prevent, and Practices of Exceptionalism: Psychotherapy and the New Norm in the NHS,’ Psychodynamic Practice: Individuals, Groups and Organisations. www.tandfonline. com/doi/abs/10.1080/14753634.2017.1365005 (accessed 8 September 2017). Sedgwick, Mark (2010) ‘The Concept of Radicalization as a Source of Confusion,’ Terrorism and Political Violence 22(4), 479–494. van Munster, Rens (2009) ‘Jacques Rancière’. In: Critical Theorists and International Relations. Jenny Edkins and Nick Vaughan-Williams (eds.). London: Routledge, 266–267. Walmsley, Josh (2017) ‘The Puzzles of “Preventing Extremism:” An Exploratory Study of Enactments of the Prevent Duty by Front-Line Practitioners in English Schools and Colleges,’ MSc Dissertation, University of Amsterdam.

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PART V

Otherness and diplomacy

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13 THE POLITICS OF OTHERNESS Illustrating the identity/alterity nexus and othering in IR Sybille Reinke de Buitrago and Erica Resende

Introduction: how can we live together peacefully in a world that is made up of difference? Encounters have existed since the dawn of civilization, from the travels of merchants, diplomatic envoys and armies in ancient times to the contemporary movement of tourists, students, immigrants and refugees. They have been driven by a mix of curiosity, a yearning to have knowledge about the world out there, as well as power, and economic and/or security needs. World literature is full of such examples: from Homer’s Odyssey to The Travels of Marco Polo, from E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. They chronicle, narrate, depict and represent encounters between self and other. Some end in a true conversation, where difference is embraced and celebrated as a constituent feature of humankind. Others, above all white European encounters with unfamiliar cultures, feature stories of conquest, intolerance, slaughter and dominance. They often instil in our minds stereotypes, prejudices and phobias that usually inform the way we engage with the other. As a result, they produce a discourse about identity and difference which shapes our common-sense views of peoples, places and things far from us and what is familiar to us. Our motivation to engage in our encounters with the other carries an important ethical consequence which is highly political: how to deal with difference? Issues of identity, difference, otherness and alterity are especially relevant in current times for breaking away from recurrent cycles of violence and insecurity: living in peaceful coexistence with others requires the acceptance of difference. Indeed, the debate on those key issues, specifically their impact on foreign and security policy, are very present in IR scholarship. Authors such as Neumann (1999), Diez (2005), Hansen (2006) and Reinke de Buitrago (2012, 2015) have generated insights about what is considered by some to be the subject of a broader Western metaphysical debate since Hegel (Todorov, 1992; Neumann, 1996a: 141; Nabers, 2015: 82). However, a handful of questions remain underexplored: How do identity and identity formation develop at different levels, times and dimensions? How do discourses of differentiation and identification – which reside at the core of othering practices – help construct state identities, and co-constitute national interests? How are otherness and othering practices expressed in 179

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foreign policy discourses, images and popular culture? How could questions of tolerance, religion, collective memories, gender, as well as feelings of solidarity, sympathy and empathy, come into play in othering processes? This chapter tackles some of those questions in the hope of furthering the debate on the implications of identity formation, discourses of alterity, the articulation of difference and othering for understanding critical IR.

Conceptualizing difference: how do we think about identity and difference, and what are the consequences of how we view difference? Traditionally, the discipline of international relations (IR) has understood its object of study as the actions of states outside their national borders in a context of anarchy. Following this canonical rationale, especially within the inter-paradigm debate, the discipline has evolved perceiving its problématiques as pertaining to the nexus between war and peace, or conflict and cooperation (Guillaume, 2011). However, especially since the mid-1980s and early 1990s, the discipline has gone through profound changes in understanding what IR is about. Inspired by the linguistic, sociological and aesthetic turns, many scholars have focused their attention on issues of identity and processes of identity formation – in terms of states having national identities and or being the bearer of identity – and how national identities affect interstate relations (Neumann, 1999; Holland, 2013a).1 This shift has produced what Guillaume (2011) calls the identity/alterity nexus, which offers a new perspective to think about IR beyond the action of states outside their national borders. In this sense, IR could be understood as the continuous process of constructing relations of self and other (Neumann, 1996a, 1996b, 1999), or even the construction of difference (Nabers, 2015), or on-going processes of othering and producing otherness. Discourses of alterity, referring to the construction of the other in juxtaposition to the self, frequently inform foreign policy (see Walker, 1993; Campbell, 1998; Hansen, 2006). As Shapiro (1989: 13–14) and Holland (2013b: 10–11, 24) state, an identity’s specific cultural foundation and specific nationally oriented view informs state behaviour. In addition, the analysis of international actors such as the European Union allows a departure from the hierarchical, inward-looking and essentialist conceptions of identity that are typical for nation-states. Broadly speaking, identity is the way in which we define ourselves in relationship to our surroundings, the world and others, and how we, in doing so, differentiate ourselves from others. It is part of the cognitive and emotional systems and formed early in human development. Identity exists on the individual level, group level and national level. Identity is always constructed in reference to something other, enabling both belonging and exclusion (Connolly, 1991; Bretherton and Vogler, 1999: 236). Every social group is constructed in an on-going practice of forming distinctions between us and them, self and other. Scholars highlight the instabilities inherent in any relational meanings, the constant threat to the inside by an outside, and, thus, the infinite dispersion and constant presence of difference. To maintain identity, some differences must be converted into otherness, or even evil (Connolly, 1991: 64; Lebow, 2012; Nabers, 2015: 100). To illustrate our arguments, we will explore four cases centred around issues of identity/ alterity and how they pertain to specific security and foreign policy choices: the role of otherness in U.S. identity formation processes and foreign policy throughout time, the use of discourses of differentiation and identification in constructing Russian and European state identities, the impact of othering practices in articulating U.S. policy for U.S.–Iran relations, and the roles of difference and of tolerance in Germany’s policy regarding the current refugee crisis in Europe. 180

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Illustrating difference and othering practices U.S. national identity, foreign policy and otherness: how do national identity and identity formation processes occur and develop at different levels, times and dimensions, and how do they relate to foreign policy and threats? According to Mansbach and Rhodes (2007: 444), politics has always harnessed national identities as the prime discourse for articulating, constructing and disseminating a kind of ‘marriage’ between nation and state. This ‘union’ has been responsible for creating a vehicle that simultaneously creates, reproduces and rationalizes a specific kind of polity that took dominance in modernity: the nation-state. A common identity gives people a sense of comfort – effective albeit also somewhat illusory – that their lives are connected and that they have a reason to act upon common interests and goals. Constructed and reproduced by discourse, the group becomes an imagined moral community (Anderson, 1991) that defines itself and by inference what it is not: the other. As a result, identity discourses articulate and construct a moral community which defines itself as ‘us’ and ultimately different from ‘them’, the ‘them’ being excluded from the collective. For these reasons, discourses are prescriptive for they have the capacity to create realities, subjectivities and relationships between self and other, especially when they define which rights and duties are recognized for the members of the community but withheld from those outside it. Let us take the United States of America as example. In his study of the Cold War, Campbell (1998) observed that U.S. foreign policy texts of that time reproduced a very specific representation of reality. Articulations such as ‘free and peaceful America’ threatened by ‘an international conspiracy’, and a set of values ‘granted by God’ which are the roots of ‘western civilization’, created a specific representation of the American self. Campbell claimed that the deliberate evocation of a ‘national mission’, the ‘republic’s objectives’, the ‘defense of freedom’ and the ‘predestination of America’ in national security documents did much more than simply offer an analysis of international politics: they reaffirmed a specific national identity for the United States. Indeed, the discourse identified by Campbell linked directly to what he claimed to be a typically American puritan ideology. Narratives such as an ‘exceptional America’ with the transcending ‘predestination’ to be a ‘beacon of the world’ and to act as ‘benign empire’ – above all as opposed to the ‘Evil Empire’ symbolized by the Soviet Union – seemed to serve foreign policy interests at the time. It indicated the attempt to script puritan ideology with a national, permanent and natural appearance. Employing the language, narrative and style of the typical sermon of the puritans in Colonial America – the ‘jeremiad’2 – those texts signified the American self as being ideologically puritan in opposition to a non-puritan other (Bercovitch, 1978; Campbell, 1998; Resende, 2012). This led Campbell to propose a relationship between ideology and U.S. foreign policy, whereby the use of a discourse to signify ‘America’/‘non-America’ meant that foreign policy discourses construct and reproduce an essentialized, homogenized national American self. According to him, foreign policy is then to be understood as the practice of constructing borders, since it discursively produces differences based on dichotomies such as ‘inside’/ ‘outside’, ‘domestic’/‘foreign’ and ‘friend’/‘foe’ based on identity markers of specific ideological content. Through foreign policy, a privileged arena for contact with difference, the state employs discourses of fear to convert the external into a threat and thus reassure its moral and spatial borders, and to stabilize its own identity. Therefore, the constant articulation of danger through foreign policy is not a threat for the identity or the existence of the state, ‘but its possible 181

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condition’ (Campbell, 1998: 13). By constantly articulating insecurity and creating otherness, the state seeks and constructs its own legitimacy. Considering, however, that threats as well as identities are never fixed, the state needs to continue to create and signify others to legitimate its own reason for being. As a result, discourse on the national self occurs and develops at different levels, times and dimensions, according to specific political and social contexts. Cullinane and Ryan’s work on how the other is constituted throughout U.S. foreign policy history presents a meaningful case. For them, alterity has frequently played a role in defining U.S. national interests for it simplifies and removes ‘the culture of its complexity, its position in historical time, place, and geographical location’ (Cullinane and Ryan, 2015: 2). The discourses that have constructed the American other throughout time – from the native Indian other in colonial times to the British despotic rulers, from the Nazi Germans of World War II to the Soviet communists of the Cold War – do not seek to detail and understand other cultures; the effect is to produce a ‘simplified depiction of the Indian, the European, the Nazi, the Communist, and of Islam’ (Cullinane and Ryan, 2015: 2). Since those discourses are largely constructed and circulated within U.S. culture and its ideological sphere of influence, they end up sharpening American identity, placing it as morally superior to the inferior, undesirable, barbaric foreign other. In this sense, U.S. foreign policy discourses are uniquely self-referential: a discourse articulated by Americans about America and Americans in opposition to non-America and non-Americans in a world full of danger and threats.

Russia and the European self/other identity discourses: how do discourses of differentiation and identification help construct state identities and interests? Another way to understand the functioning of the identity/difference nexus in IR is to highlight the use of discourses of differentiation and identification in constructing state identities and interests as done by Neumann (1996b), who emphasizes how multiple alien interpretations of Europe struggle, clash, deconstruct and displace one another. Recognizing that identity is not located in ‘essential and readily identifiable cultural traits but in relations articulated between self and other and the question of where and how towards the other should be drawn’ (Neumann, 1996b: 1), he shows how much Russia is caught between the attraction of an economically, politically and socially more developed Europe, and the appeal of being able to play a European-style imperial role in less-developed Asia. Russians, by talking about Europe, also talk about themselves. Indeed, Russian interests in Europe are not postulated as objective, natural, given national interests, but constructed by discourses ‘confined to Russian debates conducted, directed at Russians, concerning Europe and, by the same token, the Russian themselves’ (Neumann, 1996b: 2). The process of delineating a European other distinct from the Russian self is an active part of Russian identity formation, Neumann argues. By engaging in discourses of differentiation and identification with Europe, Russian political debate is directed to how Russia conceives of and relates to Europe. Engaged in othering discourses that call a specific representation of Europe into being, the Russian public debate articulates a self-representation based on ideas about Europe. Europe is thus presented as a speech act: it is talked about and written into existence by Russian intellectual and political debate throughout time. As a result, the Russian debate about Europe is also a debate about what Russia is and should be, and how it should act in the world policy-wise, he concludes. 182

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Albeit identities are in constant flux, one discursive position is recognized as fixture: the position of the state. It calls upon itself to determine the limits of public debate, and it directs power resources toward the debate itself, employing multiple strategies to control it. Fine examples are the use of censorship, the withholding of records and information, and the investment in publication channels such as official newspapers, television and radio stations. The state incentivizes specific narratives and representations by selecting which debate participants should be punished or rewarded. As a result, the Russian state not only defines the limits of political debate but places its own position at the centre, thus becoming a fixture in discourse. As Neumann demonstrates, the Russian debate about Europe generates, diffuses and transforms ideas about Russia’s own political project within a public space controlled by the Russian state. In discussing Europe, Russians have also clearly been discussing themselves and hence talking themselves into existence as they differentiate or identify with Europe’s political projects throughout time. Neumann’s account has also the merit of formulating a critique of neo-realist insights about the state system. Kenneth Waltz’s claim that competition produces a tendency toward sameness of the competitors (Waltz, 1979: 127) resulted in a theory of international relations that does not offer an ontology of the state. Neumann’s study shows how Russians have interpreted and acted upon their notion of Europe to implement this competition.

U.S.–Iran relations: how do otherness and othering practices express themselves in foreign and security policy discourses, narratives, images and popular culture? How is policy impacted? Relations between the U.S. and Iran have been strained since the 1979 Iranian revolution and the following hostage crisis. Up until the renewed dialogue at the end of 2013, U.S. foreign and security policy expressed a view of Iran and the Iranian leadership as threat to the U.S., U.S. regional interests, and to regional and global peace. U.S. discourse had constructed Iran as a significant other, and dangerous and threatening other. This remained so until recently, even though the U.S. did also sell weapons to Iran in the mid-1980s. In the 1990s, the U.S. levied sanctions on Iran. With Iranian reformer Khatami in the late 1990s, relations grew less tense, but increased to new heights after 9/11 and G.W. Bush’s infamous inclusion of Iran into the ‘axis of evil’, as well as under Ahmadinejad’s radical foreign policy. When in 2013 the moderate Rouhani offered dialogue and Obama responded in kind, the renewal of relations was enabled. Otherness and othering practices are expressed in U.S. foreign and security policy discourses, as well as in popular culture and images. Meaning is not only expressed in policy and strategy documents, such as the National Security Strategy, but also in visual media, including political cartoons (Bleiker, 2009; Hansen, 2015). Visuals tell us which representations of self and other we produce, and which geopolitical ideas we link these to. Visuals like cartoons can illustrate representations of certain regions, such as the Middle East, as dangerous – and they can include calls for action (MacDonald, Dodds and Hughes, 2010; Dodds, 2010: 114). Together, U.S. foreign and security policy and strategy documents and political cartoons in U.S. media on Iran can deliver important insights on constructions of difference (Reinke de Buitrago, 2017). Up until the nuclear agreement, Iran was explicitly represented as the threatening and evil other to the U.S. and to regional and global peace; after the agreement, discourse has become more nuanced and Iran is now represented as less threatening and possible partner. Aside from the danger of the nuclear program, Iran and the Iranian leadership were linked with sponsoring terrorism, acting as regional destabilizer for their own hegemonic aims, and as 183

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dangerously irresponsible regarding non-proliferation. Iran was constructed as radical, hostile and aggressive, insincere and an international outcast, as well as enemy of the U.S. and of Israel. The U.S., on the other side, is represented as responsible, democratic, internationally supported and acting for stability in the Middle East (Cordesman, 2014). Under Obama, U.S. discourse became less divisive, but Iran was still portrayed as threat, a regional destabilizer and a global non-player (Obama, 2013; White House, 2013: 4, 8). But Obama recognized Rouhani’s 2013 offer of rapprochement, turning the U.S. representation of Iran a little more positive, while still reminding the Iranian leadership that they must prove their good will with actual steps and keeping the military option against Iran open (Obama, 2013). After the re-start of U.S.–Iranian dialogue and the reaching of the nuclear agreement, great mistrust towards the Iranian leadership remained, however, also fuelled by Iran’s record of breaking commitments. While much of U.S. discourse, including that of Obama and the administration, centred on renewed dialogue and relations as a positive development, and on how the agreement strengthened U.S. security, regional stability and global peace (White House, 2015a, 2015b), there were still many critics of the agreement in the U.S. Congress (especially Republicans but also some Democrats), as well as in Israel and Saudi Arabia. U.S. opposition centred on a perceived insincere and untrustworthy Iran, and on how the agreement offered too many loopholes and too few safeguards to be effective. Overall, U.S. security policy discourse expressed a construction of Iran as a lesser threat than before the nuclear agreement. While still presenting a possible threat, Iran was no longer linked with solely negative characteristics but also seen as possible partner now. We thus found both growing trust and continuing mistrust of the Iranian leadership; there was also continuing opposition to any concessions to Iran in parts of the U.S. political establishment. The presence of mistrust towards Iran and the Iranian leadership despite the new dialogue was echoed in the cartoon analysis (Foden, 2015; Koterba, 2015). Cartoons criticized the new trust in Iran as unfounded. Particularly questioned were Iranian good will and willingness to cooperate on the nuclear issue. While Iran was shown as holding a strong(er) and uncompromising position, the U.S. was portrayed as weaker and naïve (Reinke de Buitrago, 2017). Cartoons showing the leaders of the U.S. and Iran expressed imbalanced relations between both countries. Rouhani is portrayed as hiding his nuclear bomb and Iran’s real intentions, thus pointing to a clear danger that is not seen by the U.S. or that the U.S. does not want to see; the U.S. is left to Iran’s good will. Iran is shown as threatening and deceiving the U.S., while the U.S. is portrayed as readily trusting Iranian promises and as breaking own principles in order to accommodate Iran. Iran is portrayed as getting its way regarding reduced sanctions without having changed its position on the nuclear issue. Portrayals of Iranian leaders verbally threatening the U.S., and being rewarded for uncompromising behaviour with a partial lifting of sanctions, illustrate a strong and still dangerous Iran that cannot be trusted without safeguards. Cartoons emotionally frame as well as condense and dramatize U.S.–Iranian relations and the way the U.S. behaves vis-à-vis Iran regarding nuclear weapons, thereby also expressing and evoking strong emotions. Cartoons dramatize the issue of an Iranian nuclear bomb and its threat. Stylistic means employed include the use of red, which is associated with danger and aggression, and which calls for attention; as such it adds to emotions and creates a sense of urgency. Regarding the discourse’s impact on foreign and security policy, before the nuclear agreement was reached, there were serious talks of conducting military strikes against suspected Iranian nuclear facilities (Kroenig, 2012). Sanctions had long been implemented. They increased Iranian costs and likely contributed to the turnaround. Discourse also cemented views of a threatening and misleading Iran and thus the apparent need of hard policy means to counter the threat. 184

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After the nuclear agreement, Iran is no longer represented as evil and threatening other only, but also a possible partner; yet much of U.S. discourse still expresses substantial mistrust of the Iranian leadership. This mistrust and the underlying views of Iran as insincere and still somewhat threatening will make balanced relations between the two countries difficult. The negative elements in U.S. views of Iran, the simplifications of self and other and the multi-layered structural effects of a long, divisive discourse first need to be overcome. Trump as current U.S. president, and again a tougher rhetoric towards Iran, make such efforts difficult, however. Positive and balanced relations are nurtured also by positive emotions and trust-building. White’s concept of realistic empathy (White, 1998: 122) may be a useful corrective to perceived divisions. Additionally, continued positive interactions at state and societal levels can allow both countries to form alternative views of each other, balance politically motivated emotionalized discourses, rebuild trust and heal relations. Mutual empathy and recognition of shared emotions can foster positive emotions towards the other – and over time enable nonthreatening relations (Reinke de Buitrago, 2016).

Germany and the refugee crisis in Europe: how do tolerance, religion, memory and emotions relate to identity and state behaviour? Can difference be experienced also in a positive manner, with its positive dimensions? Can it be taken as something neutral and non-threatening? We may argue that the stance taken toward difference also depends on context. That is, some situations seem more amenable to facilitate neutral and/or positive views of and emotions towards difference. An example of this may be the current refugee crisis and in particular how much of German society has reacted to it in a positive manner. Many Germans have reached out to the refugees and even welcomed them, by helping them and working to integrate them; many have refused to fall victim to the calls of fear and anti-refugee positions held by some right-wing groups. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates the number of refugees globally at over 65 million (UNHCR, 2016). A significant number of refugees are heading north to more developed countries; internal displacement is also high. The refugee crisis and the massive migration movements are interpreted in multiple ways and linked with various degrees of danger. Politics in Europe have come under strain, and European societies have reacted by expressing urgency to solve the crisis in one way or another, but also by expressing fears of what the refugee influx might bring. It would arguably be natural to also feel own national identity challenged by the new incomers and the difference they present. We thus find much mobilization to help refugees, but also policies aimed at reducing the number of refugees coming to Europe – since about 2017, much of the efforts have been directed both at intensifying integration efforts for those given asylum status and at hindering new migrants and asylum seekers to come, the latter in particular with various agreements between Europe and North African/African states. Depending on how refuges and the refugee crisis are constructed, discourse and policy are directed more pro or against refugee needs. Hammerstad (2014) has illustrated some portrayals of refugees and asylum seekers as construction of possible security threats to Europe. Right-wing and populist groups have gained traction with their increased warnings of coming ‘masses’ of migrants and refugees. The representation of refugees is also linked with the organization and regulation of space, including national borders as a political construction that both includes and excludes. National borders serve to differentiate and divide self and other, to create dichotomies and boundaries or linkages and to distinguish distinct normative orders (van Houtum and van Naerssen, 2002: 125–127; Soja, 2005: 33). Some of the EU’s newly adjusted border control practices include 185

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the delegation of parts of EU control and jurisdiction to non-EU actors and countries beyond EU borders; critics speak of an externalization and extraterritorialization and the framing of refugee and migration policy in terms of security policy (Red Cross EU Office, 2013; CasasCortes, Cobarrubias and Pickles, 2014). Germany has by mid-2016 taken in many more refugees than other countries in Europe (ZEIT online, 2016a). The number of refugees wanting to apply for asylum in Germany has also enormously increased. The last years have seen a continuing rise of asylum seekers and migrants to Germany, mostly from countries currently in war and armed conflict, such as Syria, Afghanistan and some African states, but also from other regions such as the Balkans (BpB, 2017). With a large number of refugees aiming to come specifically to Germany, views have changed somewhat. During the summer of 2015, at the height of the refugee crisis, Germany illustrated what it meant to have a Willkommenskultur, a culture of welcoming, but one year later some note its substantial decrease (Zick and Preuß, 2016). The majority of Germans still see integration of refugees in Germany as important and positive, but is against the coming of additional refugees. Increasing numbers of migrants and refugees have led to a strain on resources in many cities and smaller communities; how much this is the case differs in perception though. The study illustrates an increase in the numbers of Germans fearing a loss of German values and an increased terror risk, and demanding refugees return upon an improved situation in their homelands. Likely, also fairly constant media reporting plays a role in stirring both positive and negative emotions, but perhaps more the latter, as populist parties are gaining support. Also the costs of and difficulties in integration are more visible now. While hard to put in precise numbers, it seems that the solidarity expressed and acted out in 2015 has decreased, to some degree towards migrants and refugees already in Germany, and strongly towards those still wanting to come to Germany. Political responses to the refugee crisis aim at improving integration via easing refugee employment, mobility, housing, education, medical care and German language learning. Those asylum seekers who have a good chance of gaining asylum can now integrate easier; those with less chance can be returned home faster, although the latter is not fully implemented due to both humanitarian and bureaucratic reasons. To reduce the numbers of incoming migrants, the German government has also declared some countries such as in the Balkan region as safe origin; from these countries, refugees are returned much more speedily (BpB, 2017). The terror attacks in Germany in mid-2016 and 2017 have resulted in demands for more and tougher security measures, and for more information of who is actually coming and has come; the revamped, and since 2015 expanding, Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) is having difficulty keeping up with developments. The terror attacks have also led to views of Muslim refugees being slightly more linked with risks to German security. Warnings against a general suspicion of Muslim refugees as potential terrorists have increased. In addition, we also find clearly positive constructions of refugees and of migrants. These relate to innovation, economic incentives and the influx of new ideas, the filling of jobs not wanted by Germans, the benefits for the German pension system, and catalysing and multiplying processes with benefits for the entire society (Heckel, 2015; ZEIT online, 2016b; BpB, 2017); successful integration is argued to bring many more benefits than costs, although more in the long term. German discourse on refugees expresses in part the necessity and importance of solidarity and empathy with those in need. There is also solidarity with those fleeing from war, which is at times linked to the collective memory of flight by Germans at the end of World War II. The aspect of tolerance of difference is also found in discourse, although there are substantial calls for refugees and migrants to make the majority of adjustment efforts in order to integrate 186

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into German society. From Christian voices, there are reminders of the Christian duty to help those in need. Religion as a force that can bridge difference and bring people together is then also found. However, regarding the religion of Islam, there is also a rising number of Germans that do not consider Islam as belonging to Germany (ZEIT online, 2016c). Religion can both serve to unite and divide, depending on how it is framed. Rising populist movements are also playing on religion, and the differences between Christianity and Islam – they are partly successful in this. While the calls to respond to humanitarian needs and reminders of the obligation to help are found in all of German discourse, answers to such calls differ. For many, migrants and refugees should be helped in Germany, and refugees should be allowed to come; but growing numbers argue for only helping them in their home countries and to prevent them from coming to Germany. Solidarity appears to have overall decreased, especially towards those in distant places.

Implications and consequences of othering practices: what are the ethical considerations regarding the way we chose to treat the other? Othering may be seen as process with multiple motivating factors. As scholars point out, the articulation of threats should be paid attention to, for once risks, threats and dangers have been articulated, their constitutive and long-lasting effects tend to persist; dichotomies and boundaries between self and other are produced and reproduced in discourse and become part of policy processes and structures that in turn inform ensuing interpretation and behaviour towards the other (Agnew and Muscarà, 2012; Holland, 2014). Not every other mobilizes the ‘we-feeling’, and not every other is framed in adversarial terms to the self. The concept of significant other is useful in understanding the conflictual nature of othering but also the productive way of the other constructing the identity of agents (Morozov and Rumelili, 2012). Current and past conflicts evidence othering being negatively biased, with a differentiation and a distancing from the other. If this is necessarily so must be still elucidated. However, academic debate is divided on this: Diez (2005: 628–629), for example, argues that the other can also be seen as neutral. For Hansen (2006), however, there are always views of superiority and inferiority, thus a hierarchy. For Bauman (2004), the binary opposition which lies at the base of this hierarchy is constantly subject to reversal. Yet, if identity is constructed by both differentiating from and engaging with others (Lebow, 2012: 270–271), it may be possible to maintain identity without producing harmful barriers toward others. Ways of perceiving the other as both different and equal can be a worthwhile endeavour for the facilitation of peaceful relations. For if otherness could come in diverse forms and not only from negative differentiation, how could a person, a group and a state’s society maintain their own identity without producing harmful barriers toward others? Some argue that identity formation is not only a process of differentiation from others but also one of moving towards others, making it possible to form identity without building of barriers towards others (Lebow, 2012: 270–271); the direction it takes likely depends on existing conditions of self-other relations and factors of influence. Scholars also see the possibility of otherness taking distinct, multiple forms (Croft, 2012: 91) or of othering being neutral and not only negative (Diez, 2005: 628–629). If there is a chance for this, there is the possibility and chance for neutral or positive differentiations between self and other, or a form of differentiation that does not result in creating a, in whatever form or degree, threatening other. Thus, if identity may be maintained without building harmful oppositions, there must not be a negative process of creating otherness or othering. 187

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How may it be/become possible to see and experience difference to the self in a neutral or even in a positive way? Following Emmanuel Levinas, we propose that this encounter could occur through a dialogue that prevents barriers of protection as a self-defence mechanism of protecting and preserving one’s own identity. At the core of Levinas’ philosophy are descriptions of the encounter with the other: the other impacts me unlike any worldly object or force. I can constitute the other person cognitively, on the basis of vision, as an alter ego. I can see that another human being is ‘like me’ and acts ‘like me’. As a result, subjectivity is born out of its relations to others (Levinas, 1985: 96),3 and the responsibility that derives from this encounter (1966: 41) for the ‘being-for-the-other’ also defines who we are. In this sense, subjectivity is primordially ethical as responsibility for the other and is not a derivative feature of our subjectivity, but instead its anchor, as it gives it meaningful direction and orientation (see also Burggraeve, 1999; Peperzak, 1993; Bergo, 2017). Levinas derives the primacy of his ethics from the encounter with the Other, which he calls the face-to-face. For Levinas, the Other is not knowable and cannot be made into an object of the self, as is done by traditional ontology. Responsibility toward the Other precedes any ‘objective searching after truth’. The experience of the face-to-face constitutes a privileged phenomenon in which both the other’s proximity and distance are strongly felt. ‘The Other precisely reveals himself in his alterity not in a shock negating the I, but as the primordial phenomenon of gentleness’ (Levinas, 1969: 151). He goes on to argue that the encounter of the Other through the face-to-face experience forbids any attempts to exclude, domesticate, or reduce to sameness, and simultaneously installs a responsibility for the Other in the Self. Here the connection between responsibility and the Other becomes the basis for Levinas’ ethics: to be responsible means to make oneself available for service to the Other so that one’s own life is intrinsically linked with the Other’s life (Levinas, 1985: 97). I am thus a human being in the sole measure that I am responsible for another. Responsibility becomes then a ‘place where I bind myself to the Other’ (Levinas, 1981: 12). Rather than a binding of a piece of material to the block of which it is a part, nor as organ to the organism in which it functions (Levinas, 1966: 41), it is a place in which the Self enters into a relationship that is disinterested, but not indifferent, with the Other. Responsibility seeks the good of the Other, not looking for recognition in the Other. Thus, the desire for the Other is not an appetite but a generosity (Levinas, 1966: 39). Being-for-itself means that the Self is pre-occupied with itself, and therefore, indifferent to the Other (Levinas, 1969: 87). Levinas’ term ‘being-for-the-Other’ (1969: 261) indicates a position in which the Self is responsible for the Other, which requires the exercise of sensibility (Levinas, 1981: 77), one that implies exposure or being in proximity to the Other. It involves standing in the place of another and offering protection to them (Levinas, 1969: 135–136). Therefore Levinas’ ethics of alterity consists in opening one’s self to the other, especially the one that is different, unequal, diverse and plural, which deserves to be respected as it is, without indifference, dismissal, repulsion, exclusion, or simplification of its particularities. Only by embracing a conception of the self that also includes the other will we be able to let go of restraints of selfishness, indifference and isolation. After all, we are in some degree dependent on the other inasmuch as our sense of self emerges from encountering the other: we are constituted in and by our relationship to it.

Concluding remarks This chapter has attempted to explore what we perceive as the ultimate challenge of our times: How can we live together peacefully in a world that is made of difference? This question leads 188

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us to engage with the politics of otherness, what has been classified by Richard Bernstein (1991: 68) as ‘the very heart of the work of every major twentieth-century Continental philosopher’. Indeed, to understand the identity/alterity nexus is not only to try to grasp the issues regarding collective identity formation and difference, but to come to terms with our own responsibility regarding the life of the other. After presenting a brief survey about the ways we conceptualize identity and difference in IR, and the consequences of the way we think about them, we advanced our arguments by exploring four cases that feature the role of othering in security and foreign policy choices. Taken together, they pointed to how national identity and identity formation processes occur and develop at different levels, times and dimensions, and how they relate to foreign policy and threats. We have also highlighted the importance of discourses of differentiation and identification in constructing state identities and interests. We have shown how otherness and othering practices express themselves in foreign and security policy discourses, narratives, images and popular culture. We have also claimed that policy might be impacted by othering, especially when feelings of solidarity, sympathy and empathy – what we have called positive identification – are called upon to modify state behaviour. But perhaps this is also a question of matters relating to some level of equality or comparability of abilities and wealth/material security, since humans tend to compare themselves with groups and individuals around them. Comparing between self and other seems to be a key mechanism for understanding the self vis-à-vis others around. Thus, groups that find a somewhat comparable level of wealth in groups surrounding them have one strong motivation less on which to differentiate themselves against others in a negative manner. Seeing difference neutrally or positively would also seem to be a question of a – more or less cultivated – ability of living with difference without needing to judge as better or worse, in a way that difference itself is perceived as less strong or even marginal, as being of little relevance to the safety and security of the self, thus not serving or being used as motivation to treat others or act towards others in a divisive manner. In a way, this is a societal task, and an essential one for peaceful relations in our world. But the smallest unit of any society is the individual, and any individual finds itself in the unit of the family; it is in families where socialization of all members of society begins, where the foundation is laid for later thinking and behaviour. Families then also play a pivotal role in how difference between self and other is perceived, experienced and acted upon. In fact, it is in families that children, at a very young age, learn – physically and psychologically – to comprehend themselves as unique beings, separate from others, yet also in many ways being similar to others, as well as how to communicate with and behave toward others. Key in such processes is also how parents, but also grandparents and older siblings, teach how to deal with (various types of) difference by acting toward (various) others. Difficulties in relations with others as well as pathological or ‘ineffective’ ways of dealing with these are often transferred to children, who then apply similar modes of behaviour. The family is then a key location of teaching about self–other difference, and deserves a much greater focus when it comes to how difference can be dealt with in a neutral or even positive manner. Another focus may be the role of teaching not only tolerance of difference but, even more, the seeing of difference as enrichment and enjoyment, as something desired and desirable – thus, as truly positive. Such efforts seem existentially important when viewing the global landscape of recurrent conflict and distress. This should begin also in the family, but then be continued in kindergartens and schools (and there are plenty of examples where 189

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teachers work towards an inclusive view of difference). There is certainly room for this at the workplace too; how to deal with diversity in a positive manner is in fact of interest for increased productivity and in monetary terms, but also in regards to the creation of a positive work climate. Moreover, political actors need to recognize that their often instrumentalized use of difference, for various political agendas, is harmful to societal and international relations, causing much greater costs in the middle and long term than bringing hoped for gains in the short term. As a result, our very being is tied to the protection of the other for this is what it means in ethical terms when we argue that self and other are mutually constituted. In this sense, it is always helpful to remember Levinas’ favourite quote from Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov: ‘We are all responsible for everyone else – but I am more responsible than all the others.’ By taking responsibility for the other, we also reject the possibility of violence that could emerge from an encounter with the other, especially when acts of violence are committed and justified in relation to the so-called protection of a specific self from a dangerous, threating other. In current times, where life itself seems so fragile and tenuous, and where we continuously see the other being reduced to less than human, this stands as an ethical imperative to all of us.

Notes 1 Studies suggest that identity can help expand the field of IR if taken more seriously (Neumann, 1996b; Campbell, 1998; Albert, Jacobson and Lapid, 2001; Hansen, 2006). 2 Originated from the Old Testament, the ‘jeremiad’ was a popular genre of public discourse in 1600s Massachusetts. 3 While Lacan associated the Other with language and the symbolic, Levinas linked it with the ethical metaphysics of scripture and tradition, where the Other is superior and prior to the Self. See Fryer (2004).

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Sybille Reinke de Buitrago and Erica Resende Neumann, Iver B. (1996a) ‘Self and Other in International Relations’. European Journal of International Relations 2(2): 139–174. Neumann, Iver B. (1996b) Russia and the Idea of Europe: A Study in Identity and International Relations. London: Routledge. Neumann, Iver B. (1999) ‘Conclusion: Self and Other after the Death of the Sovereign Subject’. Uses of the Other. ‘The East’ in European Identity Formation, Iver B. Neumann (ed.). Manchester: Manchester University Press: 207–228. Obama, Barrack (2013) Statement by the President on First Step Agreement on Iran’s Nuclear Program. The White House (23 November). Retrieved from www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/23/ statement-president-first-step-agreement-irans-nuclear-program, accessed May 18, 2016. Peperzak, Adriaan (1993) To the Other: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press. Red Cross EU Office (2013) ‘Shifting Borders: Externalizing Migrant Vulnerabilities and Rights?’. http:// redcross.eu/en/upload/documents/pdf/2013/Migration/Shifting_Borders_Externalizing_migrant_vul nerabilities_rights_Red_Cross_EU_Office.pdf, accessed on March 3, 2016. Reinke de Buitrago, Sybille (2012) ‘Introduction. Othering in International Relations: Significance and Implications’. Portraying the Other in International Relations: Cases of Othering, Their Dynamics and the Potential for Transformation, Sybille Reinke de Buitrago (ed.). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing: xiii–xxv. Reinke de Buitrago, Sybille (2015) ‘Self-Other Constructions, Difference and Threat: U.S. and Arab “Othering” of Iran’. Regional Insecurity After the Arab Uprisings, Elizabeth Monier (ed.). Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan: 85–106. Reinke de Buitrago, Sybille (2016) ‘The Role of Emotions in US Security Policy towards Iran’. Global Affairs, 2(2): 155–164. Reinke de Buitrago, Sybille (2017) ‘Grasping the Role of Emotions in IR via Qualitative Content Analysis and Visual Analysis’. Researching Emotions in IR: Methodological Perspectives for a New Paradigm, Maéva Clément, Thomas Lindemann and Eric Sangar (eds.). Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan: 303–324. Resende, Erica Simone (2012) Americanidade, Puritanismo e Política Externa [Americanness, Puritanism, and Foreign Policy]. Rio de Janeiro: Contracapa. Shapiro, Michael J. (1989) ‘Textualizing Global Politics’. International/Intertextual Relations: Postmodern Readings of World Politics, James Der Derian and Michael J. Shapiro (eds.). New York: Lexington Books: 11–22. Soja, Edward W. (2005) ‘Borders Unbound. Globalization, Regionalism, and the Postmetropolitan Transition’. B/Ordering Space, Henk van Houtum, Olivier Kramsch and Wolfgang Zierhofer (eds.). Aldershot and Burlington: Ashgate: 33–46. Todorov, Tzvetan (1992) The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other. New York: Harper Perennial. UNHCR (2016) Global Forced Displacement Hits Record High (June 20). Retrieved from www.unhcr.org/ news/latest/2016/6/5763b65a4/global-forced-displacement-hits-record-high.html, accessed July 12, 2016. van Houtum, Henk and Ton van Naerssen (2002) ‘Bordering, Ordering and Othering’. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie 93(2): 125–136. Walker, R. B. J. (1993) Inside/Outside: International Relations as Political Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Waltz, Kenneth (1979) Theory of International Relations. Reading: Addison-Wesley. White House (2013) National Security Strategy. Retrieved from www.utexas.edu/lbj/sites/default/files/ file/news/National%20Security%20Strategy%202013%20%28Final%20Draft%29.pdf, accessed January 3, 2016. White House (2015a) Remarks by the President on the Iran Nuclear Deal. Washington, DC: American University. (5 August). Retrieved from www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/08/05/remarkspresident-iran-nuclear-deal, accessed May 18, 2016. White House (2015b) Statement by the President on Iran (14 July). Retrieved from www.whitehouse.gov/ the-press-office/2015/07/14/statement-president-iran, accessed January 3, 2016. White, Ralph K. (1998) ‘American Acts of Force: Results and Misperceptions’. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology 4(2): 93–128. ZEIT online (2016a) ‘EU-Länder schieben ab, Deutschland nimmt auf’ (June 26). Retrieved from www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2016-06/europaeische-union-fluechtlinge-deutschland, accessed July 12, 2016.

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14 ABUSIVE FIDELITIES Diplomacy, translation, and the genres of man Sam Okoth Opondo

Tell me what you think about translation and I will tell you who you are. Martin Heidegger (1996), Hölderlin’s Hymn “The Ister”

Diplomatic/colonial theatre A deposed monarch. A family drama. The translation or mistranslation of a text, and the emergence or erasure of the colonial context. Through these familiar frames, we are invited into the theater of diplomatic statecraft, stagecraft, and mancraft. But this is only one of the many versions of the diplomatic story. A story dominated by professional codes and regimes of recognition or protocols deemed necessary for the establishment and maintenance of the dialogue between states. However, a different conception of diplomacy emerges when one engages Aimé Césaire’s A Tempest, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, for a “Black Theatre.” Unlike Shakespeare’s romance genre play that “stresses themes of forgiveness, restoration, and reconciliation” against the backdrop of diplomatic, familial, and colonial relations, Césaire’s adaptation contests colonial difference as it deterritorializes the determinate article THE and reterritorializes the indeterminate article A, thus interrupting the canonical text by making it a fugitive version of itself in a world populated by other texts/beings (Greene, 2010: 5). While Shakespeare’s play presents colonialism as a fairly benign practice by emphasizing Caliban’s absolute alterity (a “savage and deformed slave”), Césaire rewrites and re-scripts the play thus inviting a politics of “deformation and demystification” by presenting a more “dialectical” Caliban (a black slave) who is more militant in comparison to Ariel, the mulatto slave (Césaire, 1992; Dayan, 1994: 141). Not only does Caliban recall his ownership of the island, he also calls up his genealogy, pre-colonial language, and other gods to question the negations characteristic of the colonial order. The more nuanced dialogue that emerges from the translation/adaptation redistributes the aural and visible spaces of the play thus resisting the order of knowledge and governance presented by the “cultured,” vocal, and all-knowing deposed Duke of Milan (Prospero). In an attempt to educate his daughter (Miranda) on the conditions under which they came to be marooned on the desert Island (ACT I: Scene 2), Prospero narrates how the “Holy Inquisition for the preservation of the Faith and pursuit of heretical perversion” acting on the powers granted to it by the Holy Apostolic See, accused 194

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him of a “wickedness,” “heresy,” and questioning the authority of the Holy Scriptures. Owing to his experiments with the prophetic sciences, and reading quotes from profane writings by “Strabus, Ptolemy, and the tragic author Seneca” alongside “Arabic calculations, scribblings in Hebrew, Syrian, and other demonic tongues, Prospero was accused of being a heretic” (Césaire, 1992: 8). Accordingly, he is expelled from Europe when his ambitious younger brother Antonio, and the King of Naples (Alonso), conspire to steal his “as-yetunborn empire” from him. However, in his conversation with Caliban, it becomes clear that Prospero’s dalliance with alternative forms of knowledge, his heretical spirit, and quest for justice, does not make him any less imperial in his orientation and neither does his victimhood prevent him from becoming a victimizer himself. By pointing out the asymmetries in translation, knowledge sharing, and power that colour Caliban’s and Ariel’s relationship with Prospero, Césaire’s A Tempest raises significant questions about the ethics of encounter and co-habitation. Not only did Prospero’s secrecy and duplicity enable him to establish epistemic colonial power over Caliban and the Island’s inhabitants, it also enabled him to establish an ontology of inequality that manifested in labour and property relations. That is, while Caliban taught Prospero about the “trees, fruits, birds, the seasons,” so as to enable him to survive on the Island, Prospero kept his knowledge locked up in his big books and channeled the new and old knowledge systems to colonize, enslave, and convert the Island and its inhabitants. The resultant regime of intelligibility being predicated on the distinction between nature and culture, human history and natural history, the well-born human, and the improperly born human (slave/monster). By uttering a single word – Uhuru – the Swahili word for freedom, and through the appropriation of the name X, Césaire’s Caliban undergoes a radical subjectification that disrupts dominant narratives of estrangement that mark the Caliban of Shakespeare’s play (Césaire, 1992: 15). With this reappropriation of an [M]other tongue and the refusal of the colonial name, Caliban points to the existence of other knowledges and with them, the possibility of being and relating otherwise. Alongside Caliban’s new identity, Césaire’s rewriting includes an extra character (Eshu, a black devil-god) who is the embodiment of lawlessness, openness, deceit, humor, and ludic sexuality. As the uninvited devil-god, Eshu’s anti-protocols disrupt the space of Western spirituality and its attendant moral code while putting into relief the forms of excommunication and immunity that make the noble assembly’s communion possible (Césaire, 1992: 48–9). Read with the familiar frame of Western mytho-diplomacy in mind, Eshu’s qualities resonate with those of Hermes “the god of diplomacy” (who is also the god of language and travelers) while providing a useful alternative to the hegemony of Hermes as the god of diplomacy (Constantinou, 1996: 150–1). As one of the most important deities in Orisa-ifa system of the Yoruba and other syncretic African diaspora faiths like the Santeria/Lukumi and Candomble developed by the descendants of African slaves, Eshu’s inclusion in the play provokes us to read the multiple cosmologies and worlds brought into contact through a god who speaks to non-devotees and dwells in open zones (Davis, 1991; Falola, 2013). As such, the theatrical geography of the “black theatre” becomes broader, more ambiguous, and amorphous as it brings together African-American icons, Swahili language, and Yoruba gods making the play move between Atlantic, Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Indian Ocean worlds. Eshu’s entry also provides a ludic counterpoint to the instrumental pragmatism which dominates conventional approaches to diplomacy as statecraft and populates the diplomatic stage with other gods, colored bodies, other languages, and other ways of being-with-theother. The significance of such a pluralization of the mytho-diplomatic scene is well-captured 195

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in Robbie Shilliam’s (2015) engagement with the decolonial science made possible by dispensing with the “Homeric Hermes, the colonized messenger” and resurrecting the “Arcadian Hermes who is concerned with creatively cultivating knowledge of deep relations for the restitution of colonial wrongs.” These deep relations apprehend “Hermes’ contemporaries” from other cosmologies who include but are not limited to: “Tāne (occasionally Tiki) who is the progenitor of humankind and of forest life” within Maori cosmologies; Māui, who is “neither good nor absolutely bad, but he is a great voyager and, like Hermes, well-practiced in trickery, especially in changing shape”; Legba from the Fon cosmology and the cosmologies of the African Diaspora who, in his embodied “irreverence to ordained fates,” enables us to bind and make claims with regard to “reparation for the wounds of enslavement” (Shilliam, 2015: 14–15). Unlike Prospero’s heretical spirit and modern diplomacy’s racialized regime of recognition, the heretical spirit derived from the encounter with Eshu gives speech to those whose voices were previously considered noise while highlighting the falsifications and credos that make up the coeval emergence of the colonizer, the colonized, and the modern diplomat. That is, the spirit of Prospero and the gods, knowledges, familial relations, and forms of encounter that it privileges contributes to modes of textualization (the sacredness/secrecy/canonization of his books) that have been central to the folding and unfolding of multiple worlds/words into a colonial order. Such textualization fixes what diplomacy is by fixing identity, representational codes, purpose, and strategy based on their fidelity to colonial difference, nation-statist imaginaries, religious, capitalist, and gendered race-thinking. But other possibilities exist. As Césaire’s play illustrates, the translational/diplomatic mode can be mobilized to raise critical questions about ethics and subjectivity by embracing a projectional form of interpretation and creation that commits our analyses to ongoing negotiation of lives, things, and beings, while revealing their complicity or resistance in the representational process (Shapiro, 1989: 20). By paying attention to the diplomatic and translation practices that underline what Césaire’s fellow poet/diplomat Jacques Rabemananjara, called the “theft of language” (by colonizers and the colonized), the resonating fragments that make up this essay explore a variety of “transculturation” (Mignolo, 2012) and “translation zones” (Apter, 2006). These places of encounter and translation where identities and meanings are constructed, negated, and negotiated become the scene for reflection on, and performance of a critical translational and “diplomatic method.” It is a site that reveals, carries across, and undoes the “classificatory apparatuses” through which diplomacy’s double meanings, its fabrications, duplicities and the truth games specific to the international/intertextual relations find their full force (Shapiro, 1989). Attention to translation zones also enable us to critically read the intertribal relations which are often presented as the alternatives to, or the beginnings of international relations (Numelin, 1950). As I illustrate in later sections of this essay where I read Octave Mannoni’s Prospero and Caliban alongside the translational practices surrounding another deposed and exiled royal – Queen Ranavalona III from Madagascar – the diplomatic/translational/colonial encounter cannot be reduced to the easy dichotomy and tensions between Prosperos and Calibans, nature/culture, states and stateless societies, international and intertribal relations, or originals and copies as most critiques caught up in ethnological reason are wont to do (Mannoni, 1990). In order to interrogate the claims to truth, originality, and with it the stability of the concept of diplomacy as well as diplomatic methods, our diplomatic quest proceeds through a reading of both the colonial and transgressive translation practices surrounding the Ems Affair and the Gifts & Blessings: the Textile Arts of Madagascar exhibition held at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art between April 14 196

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and September 2, 2002. This inter-articulation of diplomatic and translational handicraft enables us to explore the “mediation of estrangement,” fidelities, and valuation practices that underline diplomatic and colonial forms of recognition as well as the dynamics of statecraft, and mancraft in Europe, Africa, and beyond (Der Derian, 1987; Constantinou, 1996, 2006). Moving with diplomacy and/as translation also presents a zone from which we can experiment with more life-affirming mediation practices from which we can craft other lives and ways being diplomatic.

Diplomatic/duplicitous affairs A deposed monarch. A family drama. The translation or mistranslation of a text, and the emergence or erasure of the colonial context. This uncanny presence of the spirit of Prospero, the casting of family affairs into affairs of state, secrecy, and the desire to create or regain a European empire while colonizing a non-European space is identifiable in what Harold Nicolson and others label the “old diplomacy” (Nicolson, 1954: 2). For diplomatists like Nicolson who were concerned with both the art of negotiation and the general theory and machinery through which such negotiation was carried out, figures like the 19th-century Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck and his European interlocutors were the embodiment of the secrecy, duplicity, and suspicions characteristic of the diplomacy of this era. Through a series of acts of handicraft and their related global designs, Bismarck participated in colonial/ diplomatic translation practices that produced figures who, from a European point of view, acted as a metaphor for absolute alterity while at the same time helping to consolidate the European idea of the self. It is precisely this remaking/unmaking of Germany, Europe, and the world that W. E. B Du Bois speaks of in his Fisk Commencement speech on the significance of Bismarck, “the man of iron” (Du Bois, 1888).1 For Du Bois, Bismarck was a generative character who had made a nation out of bickering people. While it seemed to focus on Europe, Bismarck’s nation-building, and Pan-European imperial projects, had a diplomatic and colonial element as evinced by his hosting the November 1884 Berlin Conference which marked a highpoint in both European multi-lateral diplomatic ventures and the scramble for and partition of Africa. As Nicolson goes on to tell us, these colonial/diplomatic ventures meant that the old tradition of the Balance of Power, and the diplomatic method it fostered, were thereafter compromised by new and uncontrolled appetites, by much flagrant hypocrisy, by fresh jealousies and suspicions … that affected policy more than it affected the method of negotiation. (Nicolson, 1954: 80) The significance of these transformations in diplomatic method and colonial logics was immense. Writing about the “irony of Bismarck” many years after W. E. B. Du Bois, Ali Mazrui notes that Bismarck helped unify Germany while initiating the division of Africa. The net effect of this ambitious geopolitical project was the emergence of one of the most powerful nations in the world on one hand and the creation of the most vulnerable regions on the other (Mazrui, 2010: x). In this sense, Bismarck’s diplomacy was also anti-diplomatic. Not only did it create horizontal and vertical axes of relation through which the mutual estrangement between states and strata was formalized, it also institutionalized a regime of recognition and a colonial cartography that transformed previously sovereign peoples and spaces in Africa into colonial subjects (Der Derian, 1987: 135–40). 197

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Attention to the context of Bismarck’s rewriting of Europe’s map and the resultant transformation in diplomatic methods provides an opportunity to examine the diplomatic theory and practices characteristic of an era while highlighting the diplomacy-translationtheory intertext. If we take the duplicitous rewriting/translation of the diplomatic note that marked the June 1870 Ems Affair (the backdrop to Du Bois’s Bismarck speech) as our provocation, our attention is drawn to forms and sites of estrangement that inform kinship, nationhood, balance of power, and imperial expansion in 19th-century Europe. Like the multiple diplomatic, colonial, religious, and kinship relationships that animated Césaire’s play, this diplomatic event also highlighted how conceptions of the political, modes of conviviality, and writing practices exceed discourses that seek to define and fix where and what diplomatic and political life is supposed to be by simultaneously seeking to mediate and transcend estranged relations. At the center of the Ems Affair was Bismarck’s plan to put Prince Leopold of the Hohenzollern-Sigmarinen dynasty on the Spanish throne as the successor to Queen Isabella II who had been deposed in the September 1868 revolution. Bismarck’s interest in Leopold’s ascension to the Spanish throne was at once strategic and ontological. At a strategic level, it was an attempt by the German house to become an imperial European power by extending its power to Spain. Ontologically, it was an attempt to consolidate a religious and bloodmediated idea of Germanness that was also at home with the French alongside an idea of Europe predicated on generativity of individuals and societies. In short, Bismarck considered Leopold’s South German descent and youthfulness beneficial since it linked him by blood to the Prussian King Wilhelm I while his Catholic faith and ties to the Murats and Beauharnais made him acceptable to the French while contributing to their encirclement (Apter, 2006: 18). However, a crisis ensued when Count Vincent Benedetti (the French Ambassador to Prussia) protested to Kaiser Wilhelm I urging him to withdraw his support for Leopold’s candidacy for the Spanish throne. Benedetti also sought an assurance that no future claims would ever be made to the Spanish succession. Given that Wilhelm I regarded the entire matter a family affair rather than an affair of the state, he forced Leopold to retract his acceptance of the Spanish throne so as to avoid upsetting the peace and the balance of power in Europe (Thackerey and Findling, 1996: 137). In response, Duc de Gramont (the French foreign minister) insisted on having the Kaiser meet again with Benedetti in order to extend a royal apology along with further assurances. While the Kaiser and Benedetti had an unofficial/chance meeting on the Ems promenade, the Kaiser also confirmed that he could not meet Count Benedetti again, but would have him “informed by an adjutant” of the withdrawal of Leopold’s candidacy. An official note of the exchange was drafted, and through Heinrich Abeken, the official position on the Kaiser’s commitment to the withdrawal of Leopold’s candidacy relayed to Bismarck through what came to be known as the Ems telegram. Bismarck’s rewriting/editing of the Ems telegram highlights the political significance of official and unofficial writing and translation practices. By editing the note, he made it more offensive by implying that the Kaiser intended to cut off all further negotiations instead of just cancelling a meeting. He also sent the telegram to all major European embassies and German newspapers thus transforming the private correspondence into a public document (Apter, 2006: 19). Furthermore, the French press simply transferred the German word adjutant which signifies “aide de camp” to the French term adjudant, which refers to a “warrant officer or sergeant major.” This simple act of mistranslation deepened the diplomatic crisis by implying that the Kaiser intended to breech diplomatic protocol by sending an emissary of lowly rank to meet Benedetti (Apter, 2006: 19). Between Wilhelm’s draft and Bismarck’s rewriting of 198

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the letter and its circulation with selective deletions, we witness the transformation in the letter’s intention, reception, and use. The timing of the dispatch was also significant; Bismarck telegraphed the letter on July 14, the eve of the French Bastille Day thus inciting Napoleon III to declare war on Prussia on July 19, 1870. Often treated as a foundational world historical event, the resultant Franco-Prussian war serves as the basis for thinking about Europe as the theatre of macropolitical diplomatic and colonial practices characteristic of the old diplomacy. Here, the writing or rewriting practices of Wilhelm I and Bismarck privilege different sites of estrangement, identification, and mediation. The former subscribing to kinship and statist logics while the latter wrote in the service of a German nation-state that was yet-to-come, an enlarged sense of self, and a European empire in formation. Thus, the Ems Affair became more than an act of mistranslation or the failure of diplomatic agents to represent the true intentions of the sovereign given that truth and sovereignty were presented as highly motivated and unstable categories. Read critically, the affair makes it possible for us to question the location of sovereignty, the significance of various forms of handicraft (writing, translation, circulation etc) and our commitment to forms of writing that privilege a fidelity to the original or those that view diplomacy or translation as simple communicative practices between entities whose form, function, and capacities we already know. Beyond the rendition of a message from one language into another in order to facilitate the dialogue between states, in the Ems Affair, diplomacy, and translation emerge as complementary heterologies – discourses on the other – that are also discourses on the self (Venuti, 2000). Together, they question each other and reveal the ethico-political and theoretical claims and orientations that underline them such that posing the problem of diplomacy in terms of translation ethics (as the Ems Affair and Césaire’s adaptation of Shakespeare does) prompts one to think about the different ways in which diplomacy mediates estrangement and how these can be usefully mobilized to address translation’s concern with fidelity, foreignizing, or assimilative engagements, and the asymmetry of relations between peoples, races, and languages (Niranjana, 1992). Similarly, attentiveness to the different tropes of translation and the poetics they adopt exposes the regimes of intelligibility, difference, and recognition within which diplomatic theory and practice is framed (humanity, the state, nations, religion, race, families, and social rank etc). It also reveals how familiar conceptions of diplomacy are translated/transplanted into foreign spaces and languages and how foreign people are in turn translated/converted into diplomatic or colonial subjects based on the dominant regime of recognition. This tropic use of translation textualizes and contextualizes our readings of diplomacy thus disturbing conceptions of diplomacy that focus on statist, secular, professional, “originary,” and Eurocentric discourses. Reading the Ems Affair today, it becomes clear that Bismarck’s duplicitous translation/ rewriting of the telegram simultaneously enacts the established idea of diplomacy while questioning it. Taking place in an age where imperialism, colonialism, nation-states, dynastic, religious, and familial bonds were in need of mediation, the Ems Affair raises meta-diplomatic questions about the ethics of translation, the pure concept of diplomacy and its pluralization/ transgression. When inter-articulated with concerns over translation, this diplomatic affair forces us to raise questions about the equivalence between the foreign text and the translation, the axiomatics of fidelity which distinguish between a translation that domesticates and one that foreignizes (or even fakes), and the hierarchy between originals and copies. These value judgments and the craft/craftiness that underlines them also reveal how translation and diplomacy can work through “ethnocentric translation” practices that deform the foreign 199

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text by assimilating it into the target language and culture thus producing a colonial imaginary which is in itself a regime of veridiction (truth) (Berman, 2000: 284–97). With events such as the Ems Affair and the Berlin Conference, it becomes clear that Bismarck’s acts of handicraft and their related duplicity generate diplomatic/colonial discourse where the truth of the idea of Germanness, Europeanness, and humanity is constructed, translated, and projected onto the world. With the ideas of the “colony as a copy or translation of the great European Original,” colonial space, language, and peoples are accorded a lower rank through regimes of recognition or values and valuations that privilege fidelity to “originals” as well as a desire to draw equivalences between originals and copies (Bassnett and Trivedi, 1998: 4). Here, the quest for more truthful translations and diplomacies works not in the service of what is ethical, but in the furtherance of a regime of veridiction where colonial discourses are enabled to say or assert certain things about the world (of diplomacy) as definitive truths about humanity (Foucault and Senellart, 2008: 35–6).

Origins, copies, and originals At the center of the conversation about Césaire’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s play for a “Black Theatre” and Bismarck’s rewriting of the Ems telegram is the concern over the original–copy relationship. Depending on context, the original–copy relationship often raises concerns over origins, hierarchy, authenticity, autochthony, truth, equivalence, and fidelity. In the diplomatic context, it contributes to a concern over diplomacy’s origins, regimes of recognition, and its proper/authentic forms today. Given the proliferation of diplomatic practices and agents as well as critical diplomatic theories that pluralize, retrieve, or disturb our idea of diplomacy, the desire to control diplomatic discourse, to determine its truth, origins, and transformations becomes more urgent (Der Derian, 1987; Constantinou, 1996; Cornago, 2013). While critical diplomatic theorists have gone a long way in problematizing the idea of an “original” or nation-statist diplomacy that dictates who, and in what language one can communicate on the world stage, I would like to turn to Ragnar Numelin’s study of intertribal and international relations which he pursues under the title The Beginnings of Diplomacy (Numelin, 1950). Unlike a historical study of origins of diplomacy, Numelin’s attempt to map and study diplomatic “forms and relations among primitive peoples” proceeds through the method of comparative ethnology. As such, he juxtaposes these primitive societies with “historical societies” so as to see “historical diplomacy from the outside” (Numelin, 1950: 16). In an attempt to displace the desire to fix the evolution of diplomacy and diplomatic method by confining it to International Relations and Western civilization, Numelin offers an etymological and comparative ethnological reading of diplomacy that establishes the relationship between ethnology, sociology, and history. A relationship that is also mapped onto the architecture of the book which, among other things, engages “the stranger and the guest,” the “primitive diplomats (messengers, heralds and envoys),” and “diplomacy among historical peoples (Babylon, Hebrew, Greek, Romans etc.).” In so doing, Numelin presents us with an idea of diplomacy as practiced by “primitive society” and with it, a concept of diplomacy outside “historical society” but which it always moves towards. Useful as Numelin’s explorations may be for pluralizing our idea of diplomacy, by locating the “beginnings” of diplomacy in “primitive” society, he endorses the idea of different “genres of man” and uses the diplomatic, its translation, development, and comparison, as one way of knowing human societies (and their mediation of otherness). The distinction between historical and primitive society, international and intertribal relations, and the different methods of studying different forms of diplomacy (depending on whether a society 200

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is primitive or historical) contributes to diplomatic theories and theories of man that are coextensive with the discourses of otherness in the human sciences of ethnology, history, and even the counter-science of psychoanalysis. Doubtless, ethno-sociological readings of diplomacy have been used to creatively structure multi-track diplomatic practice and peacebuilding initiatives in non-Western societies thus pluralizing diplomatic theory and practice. However, the ethnological frame that animates these innovations in diplomatic practice are often invested in discourses on man and otherness that reproduce a conception of humanity that is familiar within the human sciences and their discourse on lack given that “ethnology has a fundamental relation with historicity since it is traditionally the knowledge we have of peoples without histories” (Foucault, 2006: 411). Accordingly, Numelin’s ethnological quest amounts to a study of “structural invariables of cultures rather than the succession of events” with his interest in “intertribal” rather than the chronological history of international relations enables the study of diplomacy to reveal the “synchronological correlations in other cultural forms” (Foucault, 2006: 411). Ultimately, the study of the diplomacies of other cultures (without histories) leads Numelin to a reading of diplomatic history that works as some kind of reverse or “internal ethnology” of Western diplomacy and civilization (Foucault and Faubion, 1998: 292–3). In many ways, Numelin’s reading of diplomacy follows the grids of Western genres of man predicated on the relationship between “humanitas” and “anthropos” – the universal and the particular – and determines not only the general regime of knowledge through which we come to think the diplomatic, but also the way in which those Westerners who unquestioningly identify themselves with “humanitas” view the world and its others (anthropos) – their critical diplomacies notwithstanding (Nishitani, 2006: 270). This anthropos/humanitas distinction becomes evident when Numelin turns to the study of the language and ratio that makes both his reading of Western and non-Western mediation practices possible. Through an etymological reading of diplomacy that centers its Greek and Roman origins, Numelin notes that “the word diplomacy is not derived from the ancient Greek verb diploun (to double), but from the Greek noun diploma (double document)” (Numelin, 1950: 125–6). He then proceeds to illustrate how, under the Roman Empire, passports and official certificates/documents (diploma) were written on double leaves (diploo) joined together and folded (diplono). The diploma subsequently becoming a “term applied to duplicates of letters from princes, recommendations, introductions (acts), the originals of which were retained by the giver” (Numelin, 1950: 125–6). As Numelin goes on to reveal, the act of giving, folding, concern over authenticity, and the status of originals (diplomatics), as well as the privileges conferred upon the bearers of these written documents and messages are not confined to these ancient diplomas nor are they the exclusive province of the “written acts of sovereigns” (Numelin, 1950: 126). Although suggestive, this etymological quest captures barely half the picture of what diplomacy is or can be in the modern/colonial world. However, it highlights the violence that underlines the monological concept of diplomacy that ties it to the practice of statecraft or the official engagements of professional diplomats while revealing how modern diplomatic culture has been colonized by meanings and forms of knowledge that privilege European history, philosophy, and concept of man. Most significant for us is that Numelin manages to question diplomatic history by engaging in a study of the diplomacies of history’s others and their encounters (intertribal and international) without engaging the colonial question. By broadening and pluralizing our understanding of diplomacy, he makes it possible to study the diplomacies of all human societies through a mode of inquiry or interpretive mode (ethnology) that is at its “root, concerned with the history of western culture” even when it 201

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seeks to think/speak of “other cultures” (Foucault, 2006: 411). While Numelin goes beyond the study of the rituals of mediation of non-Western “races” or “peoples” in the familiar evolutionary mode, he still locates these “primitive” diplomacies allochronically thus making it impossible for him to recognize them as part of our modern diplomatic thought and practice (Kurasawa, 2004: 12). As such, Numelin’s Beginnings of Diplomacy exemplifies a “way of thinking” that reverses the historical mode of thinking about diplomacy without necessarily presenting a reversal of Western thought or providing a map for delinking from its epistemological frames. For instance, his critique of what “older anthropologists call the origin of culture” and the museumization of primitive societies does not deter him from locating the “beginnings of diplomacy” in a contemporaneous primitive society. Presented thus, his study fails to recognize the “originary syncretism” – the enduring forms of mixture, and transformations – that were part of “primitive” society and its diplomacies (Amselle, 1998: x, 1). Locating itself somewhere between a comparative and translational mode of analysis, Numelin’s study of diplomacy reveals how the encounter with different ways of being in the world can contribute to either a “critical examination of this socio-historical formation from a distance through a comparative perspective” or a desire to colonize or translate it into the familiar (Kurasawa, 2004: 13). The distancing, the desire to know otherness by other means, could also contribute to an ethnology by other means which, according to Fuyuki Kurasawa, could reverse the ethnological relation to otherness by enabling “us” to “become the ethnologists of our own society if we distance ourselves from it” (Kurasawa, 2004: 12). Locating Michel Foucault’s work as a kind of “ethnology by other means,” Kurasawa states that Foucault’s oeuvre can be read as an “ethnology of modernity in Euro-American societies” that presents a reversal of the ethnological perspective of thinkers like Claude Levi-Strauss (Kurasawa, 2004: 137). His genealogical and archeological study of the order of things in Western modernity and antiquity reveals what lies at the margins of Western society or that which is estranged yet, remains central to the truth and values of Western society (Kurasawa, 2004: 141). Under such a critical mode of inquiry, historiography becomes anthropologized while the ethnological quest turns to “deliberately seek its object in the area of the unconscious processes that characterize the system of a given culture” (Foucault, 2006: 414). By doing this, Foucault reminds us, ethnology would discover – though on a larger scale – what analysis can discover at the level of the individual; it would define as a system of cultural unconsciousness the totality of formal structures which render mythical discourse significant, give their coherence and necessity to the rules that regulate needs, and provide the norms of life with a foundation other than that to be found in nature, or in pure biological functions. (Foucault, 2006: 414) Like Foucault, James Der Derian’s On Diplomacy; A Genealogy of Western Estrangement offers a critical reading that disrupts the accepted truth of diplomacy while simultaneously exposing its theoretical foundations. By interrogating the practices and forms of knowledge that give coherence to the different paradigms subsumed under the heading “diplomacy,” Der Derian locates diplomacy as a mediator of estrangement between human collectivities and is concerned with the “roots of modern diplomacy particular to the West.” Accordingly, he characterizes Numelin’s work as an “ethnological ramble through primitive histories” which is interesting but of little help in determining “what concerns us.” Noting that Numelin forecloses an investigation into the “original matrix” of ideas and practices which produced 202

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them, Der Derian then proceeds to present a genealogy that orders the diplomatic narrative in terms of what he refers to as “six interpenetrating paradigms to analyze the origins and transformations of diplomacy [these he notes are; mytho-diplomacy, proto-diplomacy, diplomacy, anti-diplomacy, neo-diplomacy, and techno-diplomacy]” (Der Derian, 1987: 45). This genealogical reading of diplomacy locates the estrangement within the West and makes it possible for us to think about diplomacy outside the statist, elitist, essentialist, and positivist modes of thought that have dominated diplomatic studies. While his engagement with the tension between “universalist” and “particularist” orientations and the interplay of “diplomacy” and “anti-diplomacy” enables us to explore the diplomacies of the other, or how utopian and world transforming projects work against diplomatic formations, the genealogy of Western estrangement still operates within the Western frame (that he is critical of) such that the encounter with other diplomacies or diplomacies others (colonial or otherwise) does not fully appreciate the way diplomacy is continuously being pluralized by that which he marks as anti-diplomatic. This critical stance effaces the locus of enunciation from which the history of diplomacy and/as anti-diplomacy can come to terms with the “thingification” of non-Western peoples in its marking of what is particular or universal and does not account for the estrangement that emerges, develops together with, or against the Western mediation of estrangement and the (anti)diplomacies that they create. As the above cases illustrate, the promise of critical diplomacy lies not only in its openness to the diplomacy of the other (as in Ragnar Numelin’s ethno-sociological work), or in its critique of the ideals of western estrangement by highlighting multiple sites of otherness within the west (as revealed in Der Derian’s genealogy). The promise also lies in recognizing the impossibility of realizing the promise of the diplomatic project as long as colonial forms of knowledge and identification persist (as Césaire illustrates). In its recognition that there is always something other, an untranslatable or ungovernable excess in need of “diplomatization,” or that whatever appears as otherness is sometimes a part of the self-same subject/ object, and that what is plural is also singular, the promise of diplomacy lies in its ability to map the coeval emergence of diplomatic community and immunity while recognizing that the formation of diplomatic community/immunity is implicated in colonial (ex)communication and other forms of superfluity. Therefore, as diplomatic critique engages the otherness and sameness within diplomatic communities, it also undertakes a theoretical quest/questioning that demands that we engage modern diplomacy’s others otherwise if “we” are to save diplomacy or if diplomacy is to save “us” (Constantinou and Der Derian, 2010: 1).

Ethico-political and heterological reorientations Such a critical reading of diplomacy and a commitment to its promise as well as theory is encountered in Costas Constantinou’s On the Way to Diplomacy. A work that proceeds not by examining the behavior and ideas of diplomats, but by exploring the forms of knowledgeable practices and language through which modern diplomacy and/as theory is formed (Constantinou, 1996: 103). By looking at the language that underwrites and directs theory and diplomacy, Constantinou presents a careful and patient investigation of the vicissitudes of the term theoria and its etymological–philosophical association with theatre (theatron), theory, and diplomacy, thus opening up the meaning of theory in a manner that problematizes the theory–practice distinction such that one can think of diplomatic-theory as practice.2 Constantinou’s etymological quest and the related counter-ethnological explorations and theoretical retrievals reveal that the structure of modern diplomacy is both the structure of Western metaphysical thought and the structure of representation. Positioned thus, he excavates some 203

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of the elements of Western diplomacy and even the diplomacies of non-western societies in a manner that reveals diplomacy to itself while opening vistas for us to think its coloniality among other ways in which diplomacy is framed. This critical reading of diplomacy as a mediated mediation of estrangement that is in need of a critical and ethical remediation highlights those practices, which, even if estranged from our understandings of diplomacy, humanity, and international relations, remain central to diplomacy and the relations between human beings and beings in general. Edified by Constantinou’s attempt to restate both language and diplomacy through material and textual strategies that exceed representational practices and James Der Derian’s conception of diplomacy as the mediation of estrangement, it becomes possible to articulate a concept of the diplomatic that is attentive to colonial and postcolonial entanglements as well as the multiplicity of diplomatic life. By looking at diplomacy and its double, we could, with Constantinou and other diplomatic theorists, see how the “theme of diplomacy could be illustrated not only in statecraft but also in handicraft” (Constantinou, 1996: 84). That diplomacy (as a craft of the hand/double hand), is intricately intertwined with other forms of “inscription, arrangement, and authentication” through which the “theme of diplomacy gets rewritten, reread, and redefined” (Constantinou, 1996: 84). This reorientation of diplomacy as handicraft invites us to consider not only statecraft (and the stasis it implies), but also the crafts of the double hand. It engages the process of doubling, rewriting, and our orientation towards the unwritten, translation, and the untranslatable. The ethico-political dimensions of Constantinou’s critical reading of diplomacy means that our readings of discourses on otherness and how otherness is mediated has to be more than ethnological or historical. If anything, it comes closer to what Michel de Certeau calls a heterological counter-discourse on alterity that can highlight multiple sites of estrangement. This includes but is not limited to an interest in the otherness of: gods (mysticism and theology), alien cultures (colonialism, ethnography), our own societies (nation-building, race, class, history), our psyches (psychoanalysis), our own bodies (medicine, phenomenology) etc (Barbieri, 2002: 28; De Certeau, 1986: 86). With this heterological schema, we can engage not only the multiple registers of estrangement/alterity, but also the multiple ways in which diplomacy is not only about heterology but also homology and with it the practices, methods, rituals and agents involved in the mediation of estrangement and sameness (Constantinou, 2006). At a minimum, the critical engagement with how state and un-stated diplomacies are implicated in each other invites us to look at how diplomacy folds, doubles, and unfolds (in) the world. While there are many ways of reading or weaving together the above diplomatic practices, in the next section, I treat a scene where historical, museological, psychoanalytic, and ethnological engagements with the diplomatization of translation and the translation of diplomacy takes place. Looking at the Gifts and Blessings exhibition and reviewing some elements of the text that accompanies the exhibition (Objects as Envoys), I reflect on colonial and postcolonial forms of diplomacy and/as translation practices. Beyond looking at the practices through which colonial others are variously effaced, constructed, or governed, the diplomatic/translational scenes of their enactment/effacement highlight how the mediation of estrangement is always already mediated. At the heart of such a critical engagement with the diplomatic is an attempt to call up the translational and colonial aspect of diplomacy while thinking critically about the diplomatic task of the translator, the translational task of the diplomat, and theories and ethics appropriate to these entangled tasks. 204

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Fabrics and fabrications: diplomatic gifts, texts, and textiles Let us return to a familiar scene and its resonances: a deposed monarch, the translation or mistranslation of a text/textile, and the emergence or erasure of the colonial context. To pursue the ethico-political significance of the above scene, we need to engage not only how diplomacy and translation engage other human subjects but also the conditions under which African subjects, objects, and objectified persons are inserted or removed from the diplomatic milieu. By relating the diplomatic thing to colonial thingification and its related practices of translation, we can consider the racial and colonial memories called up by the Gifts & Blessings: the Textile Arts of Madagascar exhibition where a critical reading of gifts between sovereigns (munus) opens up to a critique of the colonial and diplomatic order of community, immunity, superfluity, reciprocity, and debt. Acting as a temporal embassy, the exhibition combines state diplomacy, museological knowledge, public exhibition of material culture, and textual production to reveal how the valuation, coding, and translation of diplomatic objects and subjects facilitate colonial diplomacy and governance. Among the primary events that the exhibition and the collection of essays that accompanied it (Objects as Envoys: Cloth, Imagery, and Diplomacy in Madagascar) engages is the 1886–7 gift exchange between Queen Ranavalona III of the Merina Kingdom and Grover Cleveland following his election to the US presidency. Attached to Queen Ranavalona III’s congratulatory letter to the US president were a number of diplomatic gifts; two Lamba akotofahana (hand-woven silk textiles), a carved bone pin, a gold brooch, a silver chain and a small basket. In line with conventions of diplomatic reciprocity, President Cleveland sent an autographed photographic portrait of himself and his wife through John Campbell, the American consul in Madagascar. In a letter dated November 4, 1887, Campbell went to great lengths to explain to the Merina court that this presidential gift was “a high honour and a favour seldom obtained from the President of this Great country” (Arnoldi, 2002: 103). The dynamics of the gift exchange and their subject-constituting capacities is wellarticulated in Mary Jo Arnoldi’s essay in Objects as Envoys. As Arnoldi illustrates, the significance of gifts, and diplomatic gifts in particular, cannot be appreciated unless one engages the valuing practices of both the giver and the recipient. Highlighting how the US federal legislation prohibiting the “reception” and “personal use” of gifts from foreign rulers determined Cleveland’s personal relationship with the gifts from the Queen, Arnoldi maps how the official script and the designation of gifts contributed to a series of coding and overcoding practices that transformed both the significance of the gifts from the Queen and her sovereign status. More specifically, President Cleveland, upon leaving office in 1889, and in line with the aforementioned federal legislation, transferred the gifts that the Queen gave him to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Here, the “diplomatic” significance of the gifts was minimized by a primary definition of the two textiles that shifted them from the category of luxury goods to be inserted into the system of “international diplomatic gift exchange,” to that of “ethnological type specimens representing the arts and industries of Madagascar” (Arnoldi, 2002: 102). In line with the relationship between museum coding, display, and recognition of items and the peoples who present or are represented by them, the two silk textiles were listed in the museum catalogue as “embroidered linen table clothes.” An erroneous classification based on the extension of “familiar” Western categories to aid in the understanding and managing of an unfamiliar, multivalent, and multi-purpose item in a museum catalogue whose methodology requires a single index term to be assigned to each object (Arnoldi, 2002: 108–9). As a representational site where practices of knowledge, identity, and truth are 205

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produced, the exhibition acts as a meta-diplomatic “forum” where “confrontation, experimentation, and debate” on the meaning of diplomacy, Africanness, and diplomacy in Africa takes place (Lavine and Karp, 1991: 3). Most significantly, the diplomatic encounters, museological knowledge, and memories that the exhibition calls up make it possible for us to raise critical questions about the way diplomatic recognition is used to order, translate, manage, and partition different ways of sensing and making sense of the world. This transformation of diplomatic recognition into what Walter Mignolo calls colonial difference operates by converting differences into values that create “a hierarchy of human beings ontologically and epistemically … Ontologically, it is assumed that there are inferior human beings. Epistemically, it is assumed that inferior human beings are irrational and aesthetically deficient” (Mignolo, 2000). Equipped with this knowledge of the Euro-American diplomatic/colonial imaginary, the Merina court had for a long time exchanged gifts with other European powers with the aim of emphasizing the high level of Merina “civilization.” By appealing to European aesthetic sensibilities and values, the Merina kingdom hoped that the diplomatic norm of mutual recognition among sovereigns would prevent colonial incursions into Madagascar (Fee, 2002: 67). This dislocation of the act of Merina/Malagasy cloth-making and “gift-giving” from their local meanings and contexts created a monological concept of the diplomatic that emptied both the gift (Lamba akotofahana) and the concept diplomacy of the varied histories, meanings, technologies (of the self) and the genres of expression that constitute them. This reduction of the gifts to the official message of inter-national friendship or ethnology that was used to code them gave the gift new meanings. On one hand, diplomatic gifting acted as a tactical move by the Merina court that draws on established regimes of recognition to resist French colonial advances by appealing to the United States to intervene or mediate in its favour. On the other hand, gift-giving was a strategic move that consolidated a diplomatic and governmental zone where the Merina court established its position as the recognized and legitimate representative of the entire island and its inhabitants. The Malagasy/diplomatic subjectivity that emerged from these Merina re-positionings conform to the modern geopolitical imaginary concerned with discourses on the possibilities and necessities within the sovereign state as opposed to counteracting claims concerned with necessities and possibilities elsewhere (Walker, 2006: 65). However, owing to a racialized and ethnological regime of recognition that privileged ontology over strategy, France was able to colonize and govern Madagascar and its inhabitants in spite of Merina sovereign and civilizational performance. According to these colonial diplomacies, African diplomacies can tell us something about the beginnings of diplomacy but not its present form, its ethical commitments, or its future possibilities and impossibilities. Fortunately, the move between the exhibition’s curatorial re-arrangements and the book’s authorial/editorial collation reminds of the multiple diplomatic meanings conveyed by the gift exchange that are overlooked by museum coding and geopolitically and colonially defined regimes of recognition. That is, when reading Gifts and Blessings and Objects as Envoys it becomes apparent that the language of strategy, national interest, and pragmatic instrumentalism that modern diplomacy is predicated upon is also an alibi for ontological investments within which other gods, bodies, objects, languages, and ways of being-with-the-other are either excluded or translated to more familiar forms. The coeval devaluation of gifts and peoples, the translation of sovereign space into colonies, and the transformations arising from this colonial encounter attest to the brutal arts of colonialism which worked to transpose gifts and treaties into the order of debts and subjugation (Graeber, 2011: 106). For instance, heavy taxes were imposed on Madagascar’s population by General Gallieni (after “pacification”) in 206

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his attempt to ensure that the colonized “reimburse the costs of having been invaded” much like what happened in Haiti after the Haitian revolution where a republic was placed in “permanent debt peonage” while being excluded or held in a subordinate position in the diplomatic community (Graeber, 2011: 5).

The gift of pluralization By engaging multiple modes of mediating estrangement, the Gifts and Blessings exhibition and its reproduction on the internet pluralize our conceptions of diplomacy. Not only do they remind us how cloth-giving creates and consolidates relationships between the sovereign and foreigners as a mark of enduring friendship and connection to the Malagasy people, they also highlight its significance for social relations between lovers, between the living and the dead (through famadihana shrouds used for reburial rituals) or between subjects and the sovereign (through Hasina – a mystical force of primacy that bound and linked all beings in sacred stream) (Bloch, 1986). While these meanings are alluded to in the 1886 diplomatic gift exchange, colonial trivialization of meanings and lives of the colonized made it impossible for the Merina court to have enduring friendship with the Western governments with which it exchanged diplomatic gifts. On a different register, the engagement with diplomacies that exist both inside and outside the exhibition’s “Queen’s room” creates a space for encounter with the ambiguous vernacular mediation practices of Merina and non-Merina groups. As we move between the different rooms/web pages, the exhibition enacts a “poetics of space” that enables us to encounter multiple diplomatic subjects and objects and with them plural or even disjunctive diplomatic temporalities. From contemporary and historical textile arts to the funerary room (where Merina and Northern Botsileo Famadihana shrouds and Southern Tandroy gifts of cloth to the dead are juxtaposed), and finally to the activity room where one encounters images and fragments of Madagascar’s geography, animals, languages, and music (including the work of Tin Pan Alley poet/songwriter Andriamanantena Razafinkarefo – better known as Andy Razaf) (Gifts and Blessings n.d.). Such an expanded diplomatic (web) space provokes us to think about a diplomacy and diplomatic history of Madagascar that includes the mediation practices of marginalized groups and persons who do not fit into the Merina-mediated idea of Malagasy diplomacy. By pointing to other times, peoples, and exchanges, the exhibition illustrated how Madagascar, far from being “a world apart,” is more complex and caught up in modern/colonial world affairs than it is often thought to be. For example, a consideration of non-royal diplomatic engagements leads to an appreciation of the diplomatic practices by groups like the Karembola. In contrast to most Malagasy peoples who either identified as faithful “royal followers” or, alternatively rejected symbols of monarchy, the Karembola utilized ambivalence and mobility to subvert royal ritual, to benefit from royal power without being subjected to it, and to relate to foreigners without necessarily being converted to their regime of recognition or seeking to convert the foreigners into something familiar (Middleton, 2000). Similar complex accounts of mediating estrangement are provided by Indian Ocean diasporic groups (Bohra and Karana in Madagascar, Zarabs and Sinwa in Réunion and Mauritius) whose relations, based on friendship, family history, economic interests, and political solidarity help to call up memories of the Indian Ocean slave trade, religious persecutions, and indentured labour (Vergès, 2003: 250). Evidently, these maps of estrangement and exchange do not fit neatly into colonial as well as state-sanctioned diplomatic histories. For, in the process of creating a world of colonial states and subjected populations, 207

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colonialism also inculcated a colonial state of mind and state of being that over-coded existing modes and created new sites and ways of mediating estrangement. Tensions over the locus, meanings, and means of diplomacy are also identifiable in the types of cultural translation and recognition surrounding the colonization of Madagascar by the French and the attempts to establish an African-American slave colony on the island as well as the emergence of an anti-colonial and postcolonial Pan-Malagasy nationalist identity. In all these, one can discern competing ideologies and structures of domination as well as forms of resistance and transgression that cannot be reduced to the simple dichotomy between colonizers and the colonized, the primitive and the historical, state and non-state, or the civilized and the uncivilized.

Thick translation/deep diplomacy To read the diplomatic text/textile in such a context requires attentiveness to what Kwame A. Appiah’s calls “thick translation”; an ethics of translation that makes it possible for interlocutors to “evoke the asymmetries in the global cultural and political economy” through practices that locate a text/practice in a rich cultural context (Appiah, 1999). Such an ethics of translation presents a deeper and more nuanced picture of the relationships, bodies, and meanings that constitute the zones of diplomatic encounter that exist outside, or together with the dominant interpretations of modern diplomacy. As a critical orientation, thick translation reveals how the Lamba akotofahana textiles (as markers of goodwill, enduring friendship, respect, and honor) lose some of their mediation capacities due to their passage through a colonial and racially coded translation/diplomatic zone. It illustrates how the little value attached to the meaning of the gift exchange between the US presidency and the Merina Court enables colonial, statist, racial, and monarchical diplomatic concerns to prevail over all others. From a translational point of view, the United States’ and Britain’s failure to act against France’s attempts to colonize Madagascar in spite of the history of diplomatic exchanges has to be read as the outcome of ontological investments rather than strategic diplomatic calculations or the quest for peaceful coexistence. By considering a wider cultural context within which lamba is produced, circulated, and used, the exhibition illustrates why, and how, modern diplomatic formations come to have a particular shape and how these arrangements might be otherwise. It converts museum space into a temporal embassy where we not only consume histories and worked objects, but also make and negotiate historical and nonhistorical pasts and presents as they remake us or deform our idea of the diplomatic. Unlike the ethnocentric re-readings of the Lamba akotofahana at the Smithsonian, a critical engagement with diplomatic objects/subjects raises the ethical and political stakes of rethinking diplomacy, ethnology, and historiography by engaging peoples whose modes of meaningmaking have been excluded from both Western and recognized non-Western diplomacies and points to the possibilities of retrieving other diplomacies and with them, a deeper relation. This translation-inspired ethico-political engagement with diplomatic methods provides a rich site for exploring how “otherness is constituted, communicated and transformed” (Hallam and Street, 2000: 1). As the story of Prospero and Caliban illustrate, the diplomacies of deposed monarchs like those of the Merina Kingdom are intricately intertwined with the everyday diplomacies of dispossession which becomes discernible when one recognizes that the diplomatic is produced by, and reproduces everyday practices and sites of political engagement which is often constrained by discourses that privilege the language of 208

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civilization, abstraction, propriety, and the state even when they seem to be speaking of something else (e.g. primitive, stateless society, or non-Western civilization).

Wrap-up: abusive fidelity, negotiation of the negation It is precisely this translation and reduction of multiple diplomacies and modes of relation to the language of the state and civilization of which Octave Mannoni is critical. Mannoni, a colonial era ethnologist/psychoanalyst serving as an intelligence officer in Madagascar when the 1947 revolt broke out, attempts to provide an analysis of the “psychology of colonization” in his Prospero and Caliban: the Psychology of Colonization (1990). Through an extended “reflexive ethnography,” Mannoni provides a relevant albeit problematic theoretical circumvention of analyses of colonial and diplomatic relations that privilege statecraft, abstraction, and civilizational discourses in Madagascar. Drawing upon the theoretical insights from psychoanalysis and ethno-psychiatry, Mannoni renders colonial relations in terms of a pair of reciprocal neuroses; the “dependency complex” (Caliban Complex) for the colonized and an “inferiority complex” (Prospero Complex) for the colonizer. Accordingly, he identifies multiple sites of contact and estrangement such as the psyche, the family, the dead, dreams, nationalist narratives which move colonial and diplomatic critique from a discourse that focuses on leaders and civilization abstraction to one that engages everyday mediation practices and forms of estrangement. According to Mannoni, we need to consider non-civilizational and non-elitist encounters while paying attention to the specificity of the colonial context. Addressing his fellow Europeans/colonizers, Mannoni states: We are surprised, however, when we discover what parts of our civilization the colonial natives have more or less readily assimilated and what parts they have vigorously rejected…It may well be that it is just because we look for a too faithful copy that we tend to see the actual result as grotesque mimicry. Civilization is necessarily an abstraction, contact is made, not between abstractions, but between real, live human beings, and the closest contact usually occurs at the most undesirable level. When a native chief meets a European leader, the psychological impact is less than when native laborers work under the European foreman. The leaders are the refined specimen of the two cultures, but the value of their encounters is lost in the ceremonial niceties which appeal to what might be called the political imagination but do not help in bringing adjustments at the level of little everyday affairs where the real work of mutual adaptation must take place. (Mannoni, 1990: 23–4. Italics mine) While Mannoni’s analysis of colonial relations and states of mind has been faulted by Frantz Fanon (1967) (in his chapter on “The So-Called Dependency Complex of the Colonized”) and others, the above critique of abstraction, statecraft, and civilization discourses illustrates how colonial estrangement and mediation practices take place at the level of everyday life, the unconscious, and collective encounters. In so doing, Mannoni points to amateur everyday diplomatic possibilities and sites of colonial erasure or imposition of meaning that exist outside (both Western and non-Western) elite practices. In short, Mannoni illustrates that the mediation of estrangement is both an internal and external process and a response to structural forces. The psychoanalytic and materialist sites of estrangement that he engages go forth to illustrate that diplomacy is as much a dialogue between states as it is an encounter between states of mind, states of being and modes of becoming. Such a problematization and 209

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pluralization of the sites of estrangement and mediation reveals the violence of interpretive practices that seek to abstract diplomatic practices from their social, political, and economic placements. Heeding Mannoni’s insights would mean reading not only the fabrics and fabrications that make up the gifts of the queen but also the everyday life and history of negotiations and struggles of colonial weavers and postcolonial workers in the MadagascarUnited States “textiles and apparel” Export Processing Zones (EPZ) currently encouraged by the African Growth Opportunity Act – AGOA “Wearing Apparel” provisions of March 6, 2001. Far from doing away with diplomacy, the pluralization, and problematization of diplomacy supplies a way of engaging multiple or new forms of foreignness that demand diplomatic mediation. Coupled with a translational ethics that acts as a “reorientation device for directing our analytical presumptions and our methodological energies (and everyday life) in different directions” our fidelity to professional or originary concepts of diplomacy (critical or otherwise) is put to task as we take on the task of the translator with an ethics of abusive fidelity that “values experimentation, tampers with usage, seeks to match the polyvalencies and plurivocities or expressive stresses of the original by producing its own” (Venuti, 2003: 252; Burton, 2007: 237). This is the lesson of Caliban. It is a call to tamper with the usage, figures, and sites of the diplomatic, while appreciating diplomacy’s attentiveness to unintelligible speech and its commitment to negotiation. Something that can provide a pathway to a hyperbolic ethics that seeks out, and listens to the “barbarian” voice that often counts as noise. A philobarbaric diplomacy that negotiates the untranslatable and avows the impossible thus moving us away from the Bismarckian conception of diplomacy as “politics as the art of the possible,” and the geopolitically oriented and decision driven idea of diplomacy that emerges from it (Steinberg, 2011: 472). While the complexes that Césaire and Mannoni treat are specific to the colonial situation (Mannoni in Madagascar and the Duke of Milan [Prospero] in a desert Island), there is an increasing need for “un-stated” diplomacies that engage the reversal of the movement of populations between old colonies and the old metropolises (Caliban in Milan). Such an amateur diplomacy is attuned to the forms of estrangement arising from the racism, xenophobia, nativism, precarious citizenship, and humanitarianisms characteristic of this new “immigration complex” (Balibar, 1991: 21–2). With the proliferation of these sites where the foreign is translated into the familiar and difference domesticated or rendered mute, embracing the untranslatable and openness to an experiential and experimental amateur diplomacy enables us to apprehend the ethical weight of others and to negotiate or co-habit with those “undiplomatic” figures who are marked as bearers of an insurmountable difference. With some abusive fidelity to the critical diplomatic theoretical project, this amateur diplomacy seeks to be adequate to the missing “sixth act” in Shakespeare’s play “which might have been enlisted for representing relations among Caliban, Ariel, and Prospero once they entered a postcolonial era” (Byrd, 2011). It is also the diplomacy of an era where the “triangular relations” that constitute the settler colonial situation can no longer disavow the afterlives of slavery and indigenous presence and resurgence where Caliban, Shakespeare’s anagram for Cannibal/Carib becomes an ever-present figure who reminds us of foundational violences and resists their continuation through the dynamics of recognition and even diplomatic experimentation in the present (Veracini, 2011). Caliban and Prospero, Madagascar and Martinique, the double curse of Berlin (the conference and the wall), the Italian connection, and the Caribbean specter all become part of the estrangement and cultural discourses arising from an immigration complex which is as much a question of the state as it is of states of mind. As Cristiana Giordano illustrates in her study of 210

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ethno-psychiatry and practices of translation at Centro Frantz Fanon in Italy, citizenship today has become a therapeutic process characterized by mediation practices that allow migrants to talk about their symptoms, their culture of origin, and in so doing, naming their suffering. Here, the socio-diagnostic functions of ethno-psychiatry, some of which were used/abused in the colonial context by John Carothers in Kenya, Mannoni in Madagascar, Frantz Fanon in Algeria, and Tobie Nathan in France, create “a space of mediation where the unsaid of the migrant’s story can emerge and find its own articulation” (Giordano, 2008: 598). As today’s Calibanic figures make the precarious voyage to Europe (through necrographic islands and deserts and other contact zones), they reveal the multiple beings and ways of being that diplomatic theory and practice remains inattentive to due to its fidelity to familiar notions of the foreign, extraterritoriality, immunity, the proper, and the proprietary codes that structure “our” diplomatic present. These double, duplicituous, or undocumented lives have become the subject of extraterritorial truth detection, imagined immunities, and migration control regimes that turn to diplomacy, not with a view to opening up to others, but with an intention of protecting and immunizing the familiar communities. With an abusive fidelity to diplomacy’s etymological quest, we can appreciate not only the diplomacy predicated on the safe passage rights guaranteed by official documents (diplomas), but on the rights of the paperless “foreigners.” These strangers whose passports and official certificates/documents (diploma) do not guaranteed safe passage remind us that there are many lives that do not count for much owing to their displacement from diplomatic, consular, and other immunitary paradigms. Here, we come face-to-face with new demands for an amateur diplomacy with the capacity to engage old questions of autochthony, authenticity, co-habitation, and the diplomatic status or origins of foreign others. As the diplomatic body migrates alongside today’s refugees and migrants, the everyday plural-diplomatic domain extends the promise of diplomacy and the task of translation in ways that enable us to question or even betray the dominant regimes of recognition and identification. A site for the enactment of “our” abusive fidelities where one not only negotiates with sovereigns, but also with objects, refugees, texts, and the multiple contexts of their construction, translation, and circulation (Venuti, 2002: 252). Such a transgressive and amateur diplomatic ethos reveals the conceits of ethnological reason, the violence of our statist geophilosophy, the ambiguous role of translation, and promotes transcreation thus questioning the fidelity to origins/originals, sovereign identifications, the figure of man, and their related forces of domestication (Vieira, 1998).3

Notes 1 See W. E. B. Du Bois’s 1888 Fisk University commencement speech. See William E. Burghardt Du Bois, Bismarck, Commencement Speech Delivered at Fisk University, June 1888, p.1. http://credo .library.umass.edu/view/pageturn/mums312-b196-i027/#page/1/mode/1up. 2 Constaninou illustrates how the word theoria was used in ancient Greece to “designate,among other things, an old type of embassy, the solemn or sacred embassy sent to attend religious festivals and games, discharge divine obligations of the polis and consult the oracle” (Constantinou, 1996: 53). 3 Translation as Transcreation encourages anthropophagic thinking. It is about the use of native material that turns against colonial artifice by appropriating it.

References Amselle, Jean-Loup (1998) Mestizo Logics: Anthropology of Identity in Africa and Elsewhere. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

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15 WHY OCTAVIO PAZ MATTERS Siddharth Mallavarapu

Introduction The remarkable Mexican Nobel Laureate in Literature, Octavio Paz (1914–1998) wore many hats during his lifetime which straddled much of the long twentieth century. Paz is best remembered as a poet. Besides his poetry, he penned some fine prose and responded both as a critical thinker and public intellectual to dominant intellectual currents that defined his times. Paz also had much more than a fleeting acquaintance with India having served as a diplomat (from 1962 onwards) prior to resigning in 1968 in protest against the Mexican state’s violence against its students (Schmidt, 2012a:545). His stint in India led him to some very perceptive comparisons between two civilizational complexes in the global South, Mexico and India. (I pursue this thread elsewhere.) The intent of my chapter here is to dwell on some key ideas of Paz and the potential they hold to unlock hitherto lesser or unexplored pathways in the study of International Relations (IR). I shall deal with five ideas here that I think are worth taking on board from the perspective of IR. First, Paz’s signal contribution to my mind is the re-insertion of the ‘concrete person’ back in the study of world politics (2001). As a humanist, Paz understood why this was of absolute importance and how it could be best accomplished. Second, Paz placed a key emphasis on the role of ‘criticism’ in intellectual life (2012d:32–36). The difference between living civilizations that flourish and civilizations on decline, Paz argued, had much to do with the state of public health of criticism. Those societies which were willing to acknowledge the value of criticism had better prospects of thriving in contrast to those societies which were relatively closed to criticism. There is an urgent lesson here for anyone succumbing either consciously or unconsciously to populist insular nationalism, the reigning zeitgeist in more and more parts of the globe. Third, Paz had a distinctive approach to world history and his attempt at recovering marginalized voices provides us with yet another unique vantage point from which to read the past (2012a:36–41). Fourth, Paz also participated in the larger ‘politics of knowing’ when he denounced the simple correlation posited between low levels of economic development and the lack of intellectual accomplishment in some societies (Thiong’o, 2014). He demonstrated how this was a rather naïve litmus test and was not borne out by reality. Intellectual 214

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self-esteem, he believed therefore must not be tethered simplistically to overall economic success as the criteria to make these assessments (2012a:19). A fifth dimension is also worth fleshing out from the perspective of IR. It concerns what I broadly refer to here as pedagogic counsel. Paz posed the question quite bluntly when he asked, ‘[w]hat programs for living do our schools offer the young?’ (1985:157). I use this opening to reflect on what Paz may have meant when he stated rather unequivocally that ‘[w] e must look reality in the face … ’ (1985:192). I speculate on the implications of this from the perspective of IR as a discipline. Pedagogic counsel has to be gleaned from Paz’s thoughts from a constellation of curiosities – what did Paz have to convey about strategies of reading, the role of the writer, the purpose of literature, the imperatives of a dialogue with art and among other competing themes, the difficulties of translation. What is inescapable in Paz is his unique poetics of politics. Paz’s immaculate craft as a poet gave him access to rendering narrative worlds which were not easily communicable in the language of formal academic prose. At a time when a cluster of scholars in IR are beginning to systematically re-assess how we write IR and what other narrative forms might entail for accessing the life worlds especially of the dispossessed, Paz’s register of poetry provides yet another powerful heuristic to talk about world politics (Dauphinee, 2013; Edkins, 2003, 2013; Inayatullah, 2011, Inayatullah and Dauphinee, 2016; Muppidi, 2012, 2013). Whether it deals with collective violence, notions of space and time, public and private histories, Paz compels us to think with an urgency and poignancy rarely captured in arid and oftentimes awkward academic formulations. The plea here is not to renounce other genres of writing in IR but to be alive to the multiplicity of narrative possibilities and the possibility of rendering profound reflections on the state of the world in and through the poetic register. Besides these concerns, Paz had much to say about revolt, dialogue and the need to unravel ‘masks’. His incessant quest for the ‘other voice’ placed him uniquely in terms of the excavation of denied political subjecthood and the restoration of agency to these actors (Tomlinson, 2001:1–4). Paz inevitably dealt with various facets of the human condition in his oeuvre – our collective and individual ‘inhibitions’, ‘memories’, ‘appetites’ and ‘dreams’ (1985:332). Political utopias and dystopias were a staple of Paz’s political imaginary. I take cognizance of these tropes while distilling and reflecting on the six core ideas that I have identified here as of special relevance to anybody engaging the theory and practice of world politics. This applies both to a study of the past and the present as well as possible global futures.

‘Concrete’ people matter Not known to mince his words, Paz offered some salutary counsel to anybody embarking on a study of political ideologies. He observed that [n]obody should dare write on philosophical and political-theoretical themes without having first read and meditated on Greek tragedy, on Shakespeare, Dante, Cervantes, Balzac and Dostoevsky. History and politics are the domain where we choose what is unique and particular: human passions, conflicts, loves, hates, jealousies, admiration, envy, what is good and what is evil, all that makes us human. Politics is a knot linking impersonal forces – or more exactly, transpersonal – with human beings. To have forgotten this concrete person is the great sin of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries political ideologies. (Paz, 2001:90) 215

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This is as good a place as any other to begin with in terms of thinking about IR and how we can perhaps do things differently by both acting on the letter and spirit of Paz’s suggestion. Paz is reminding us of a general amnesia – the act of ‘forgetting’ the ‘concrete person’. What are the costs of this forgetfulness? Can we pretend any longer that the real individual does not matter? What egregious erasures of this magnitude do we commit in IR on a regular basis without blinking an eye? One of the key challenges for us in both researching and teaching IR is to restore the real individual back into our narratives. The restoration must not be token; it must involve an act of coming clean on our own biases and prejudices. I shall take recourse to an illustrative example of how IR traditionally may view particular questions and how Paz’s counsel to insert the human being back into the narrative may alter how we view the same questions. It is all a matter of perspective but the key question Paz would have asked would have been ‘whose’ perspective and why has it been hitherto excluded? Reflecting on my own research journey some years ago (as I think it directly speaks to the issue here) while working for my doctoral thesis, I was following up on traditional ‘high politics’ in the nuclear domain (Mallavarapu, 2007). My intent was to examine the politics of norm creation when it came to the question of the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons at the International Court of Justice. This culminated in an Advisory Opinion rendered in July 1996. What was interesting was not merely the fact that this was the most widely participated Advisory Opinion in the history of the World Court, but also that – significantly – a whole range of actors including a transnational coalition christened the ‘World Court Project’ (consisting of the International Peace Bureau, the International Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms and the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) galvanized and transformed political discourse around the question (Dewes, 1998). While traditional realism would have been interested in the depositions (both oral and written) made by the major nuclear weapon states, I realized that this provided one though rather limited and incomplete picture of what transpired at the Court. What was revealing was that great powers notwithstanding their resources and clout could not micro-manage legal discourse beyond a point (Chazournes and Sands, 1999). I found an extremely rich universe of submissions, declarations of public conscience and particularly moving and compelling accounts especially from people living in the South Pacific about the adverse effects of nuclear testing they were faced with for several decades. This had significant implications for the Court’s deliberations in this response to this specific advisory request coming from the United Nations General Assembly (after an earlier request by the World Health Organization had been torpedoed). Their arguments were not simply emotive. On the contrary, they were extremely logical and persuasive and were bringing to bear distinct sensibilities by problematizing the claims advanced by nuclear weapon states in defence of their arsenals, postures and options. What the South Pacific Islanders did was successfully re-insert the ‘concrete person’ into legal framing around the nuclear question (Dewes and Green, 1995). Nuclear use is not an abstract or hypothetical concept. The effects of nuclear use are real and it is hard not to see how it imperils the lives of people, their air, water and soil. When some nuclear weapon states took recourse to arguments about ‘clean’ nuclear weapons or ‘surgical strikes’ with precision, the spuriousness of these claims was evident in the light of the counter-arguments about the difficulty of actually containing the effects of nuclear use to a restricted conflict theatre and the terrible catastrophe that it would result in for individual human beings caught in the atomic maelstrom. There was also an inter-generational equity aspect which the South Pacific Islanders highlighted. Nuclear testing in the South Pacific had already done untold 216

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damage even to unborn babies and nuclear use would compound these terrible biological effects on individuals wherever it occurred. All in all, there was nothing abstract or hypothetical about nuclear use and ultimately it was the toll it would take on concrete individual lives that should serve as the basis of any collective decision-making in this domain. They argued the case vociferously for a categorical ban on the threat or use of nuclear weapons. The outcome pointed out the ‘general illegality’, although there was some dithering over the question of retaining an option in ‘the extreme circumstance of self-defence’ (ICJ, 1996). These examples could be multiplied in IR. I am thinking of the disembodied treatment of the refugee question in terms of arid data and statistics. We need to bring in the stories and lives of refugees and integrate these into the deeper sensibilities of the discipline of IR and see how this could serve as the basis for enlightened international public policy in this domain (Rawlence, 2016). As more and more studies on the refugee question clearly establish that refugees do not leave their homes by choice but by compulsion, there is a need to reckon with this dimension much more seriously than has been the case so far. The depersonalization is not restricted to the refugee issue. Think of how race, class and gender work and how they are very often obscured in accounts of conventional IR (Chimni and Mallavarapu, 2012). Stories of individuals facing discrimination on any of these grounds abound and must find a way back into the warp and weave of IR. Paz would wholeheartedly endorse such a project as he appreciated what bringing the ‘concrete person’ back into the conversation entails. Most importantly, it reminds us of our obligations to fellow human beings, and also places culpability for our failure to sufficiently acknowledge the unevenness of world politics and the implications it carries for real individuals as they went about their quotidian lives.

The role of the critic Paz made two very interesting remarks about criticism that help us register how critical it was to his political imaginary. First, he argued that ‘the revolution is a child of criticism and the absence of criticism has killed the revolution’ and second he also extolled the virtues of the ‘discovery of criticism’ as ‘our sole moral compass in private and in public life’ (Paz, 2001:40). Why should this matter at all to students of IR? My sense is that it matters at several levels. Paz clarified that [t]he mission of criticism is not to invent works, but to establish relations between them: to order them, to lay bare their relative position within the whole on the basis of their biases and tendencies. In this sense, criticism has a creative function: it carries a literature (a perspective, an order) out of individual works. (Paz, 2012d:33–34) I would like to return to Paz’s original remark that connects revolution and criticism. The revolution Paz was most interested in was the Mexican one. He argued that ‘in a strict sense, the Mexican revolution should be viewed as a movement that begins in 1910 and dies out in 1930, with the founding of the Revolutionary Mexican Party’ (Paz, 2001:24). We need to give further thought to how political change rests on the shoulders of able criticism. Paz believed that the critic had a very special role to play. She has to be a torchbearer and illuminate areas of political rigidity while also exploring possibilities out of any political impasse that characterized the times. The critic has to speak truth to power and remain unflinching in her criticism of political tendencies that are regressive and need to be challenged. The critic has to go beyond the circulating vocabulary of the period. She has to 217

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invent a language to take on the more fossilized dimensions of political reality while simultaneously probing the aetiology of any political crisis. It is perhaps fair to ask, how all of this translates into counsel for students of IR. I think that Paz would have been particularly curious about ongoing global power transitions under way and would have ceaselessly interrogated the decline of liberal values, the emergence of insular populist nationalisms, the pressures of globalization and the perils of identity politics which characterize the contemporary period. He would have been suspicious of categories such as ‘failed states’, ‘good governance’ and ‘sustainable development’ as invoked in matterof-fact terms in IR. He would have asked searching questions about the many counterclaims that remain submerged in contemporary political discourse. Criticism has another rather distinctive function, and this was connecting seemingly disparate discourses. Paz viewed the world of literature and ideas as also deeply interconnected and the task of criticism as one of restoring to rightful place the nature of connections in the service of good intellectual history. For instance, he argued that Hispano-American literature would be meaningless if it was not connected to broader currents in world literature. The challenge really was to stitch traditions together into meaningful wholes and discern one’s own place imaginatively in the larger republic of letters. He observed on one occasion that [w]hat is to the point is the need to ponder the situation of our literature: its frontiers, its form, its structure, its movements. To answer this question would be to relate individual works to each other, and show us that they are not isolated monoliths … erected in a desert to commemorate a disaster, but a society: not a chorus but a dialogue of many contradictory voices. (Paz, 2012d:34) There is again much of value here for students of IR. As we have come to recognize and often lament the Anglo-American parochialism that characterizes IR as a discipline, we need to ask what other traditions of thinking are worth recovering and bringing into a global conversation as a corrective to the biases and prejudices of the mainstream. How does the world look from the Caribbean, for instance, or, as indicated earlier, from the perspective of the South Pacific Islander? Why do these voices count and how do they change the manner in which we frame and address questions in IR? There is great internal diversity in the thought of Africa, Asia, South America and the Middle East and we need to bring these strands into a larger ensemble of thinking on concerns that may be of universal interest. What are our notions of justice, political legitimacy and global order, for instance? What do we treat as worthwhile political knowledge drawn from our distinctive histories and locations within the larger global episteme? These and many other questions acquire a special urgency in Paz’s framework and it is instructive to pursue these leads if we are to stumble onto more interesting global interconnections. The critic here has a particular obligation to dialogue. Paz would have agreed with Tzevtan Todorov and Ashis Nandy on the need for a ‘prelude to a conversation of cultures in international society’ (Blaney and Inayatullah, 1994:23–51). He would have asked what the terms of this dialogue were and pondered about the format of this dialogue as well. However, more critically, Paz had a penchant for recovering ‘a field of affinities and oppositions’ when it came to world literature. IR scholars may also stand to gain if they think about the ‘affinities and oppositions’ that characterize their own local worldviews when brought into conversation with other levels of analysis (Paz, 2012d:33). What Anna Tsing demonstrated in her work on the Indonesian rainforests titled Friction is precisely the kind of mapping that Paz 218

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would have endorsed, bringing together the local and the global (mediated by the national and regional) in an interesting and illuminating fashion across diverse issue-areas (2005). Finally, from the perspective of criticism, Paz encouraged original thought and expected it to enrich our intellectual as well as lived lives enormously. He was deeply sceptical of being overawed by any single political ideology and welcomed dissent as a healthy and much required spirited challenge to dogma. It is no surprise that at different moments in his life, Paz expressed his distaste for both communism and capitalism, the reigning ideologies during the Cold War years. Ultimately, criticism involved an active engagement with issues of ‘style, a language, a vision’ (Paz, 2012a:175). IR, in Paz’s idiom, must engage with all these dimensions.

History as a ‘box of surprises’ Paz has two fascinating lines in his ‘Interrupted Elegy’. He writes ‘what you devour devours you, your victim is also your executioner’ (Weinberger, 2014:36–41). In another invocation of History, Paz observes, ‘[w]hen History sleeps, it speaks in dreams: on the forehead of the sleeping people, the poem is a constellation of blood. When History wakes, image becomes act, the poem happens: poetry moves into action’ (Weinberger, 2014:77). Both these quotes from Paz illustrate his fascination and constant engagement with History by way both of his poetry and prose. Describing the process of reliving the past, Paz wrote [a]t the start, I asked myself: what is the sense of historical change, of the birth and collapse of nations? I did not find a reply. Perhaps there isn’t one. But this absence of reply is already, as will be seen, the beginning of a reply. (Paz, 2001:97) Paz was acutely aware of the darker side of the unfolding of human history. His opening remark on victims and executioners draws attention to the inevitable toll that violence takes on both sides. There is no escape from the drudgery and wretchedness of violence for any side involved in a conflict. How do we again translate this into IR? If one were even momentarily to buy into the lexicon of great powers and their actions around the world, it is not hard to see how the past impacts the present. The active patronage given to radical groups like the Taliban even tactically only proves to be myopic when the Taliban subsequently becomes a Frankenstein’s monster which can no longer be reined. Think of all the conflict theatres today, the Middle East, Ukraine, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world. It is fair to ask: Who is culpable? How did a great civilization like Syria come to its current pass? How much of this is a culmination of internal mismanagement and how much of this is about the role of extra-regional powers meddling in the domestic affairs of these states? A trope which constantly resurfaces in Paz’s outlook on history is reflections on human ‘evil’. Paz notes uncannily that [e]vil is human, exclusively human. But not all is evil in humans. Evil nests in their awareness, in their freedom. In there also lies the remedy, the answer to evil. This is the sole lesson I can deduce from this long, sinuous itinerary: to fight evil is to fight ourselves. And that is the meaning of history. (Paz, 2001:98) Living as he did in the violent twentieth century, Paz was keen to learn the lessons of history. His conclusion that evil resides in part in human nature though it does not entirely cloud out 219

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other more benign possibilities is an outcome of a sustained reflection on human behaviour across time and space. The real demons that need to be slayed are the inner demons that torment individuals and societies and culminate oftentimes in mindless violence. Paz was also convinced that [t]his present never occurs in historical time or linear time, nor does it occur in religious or cyclical time. In profane and sacred time, the intermediaries – a god or a concept, a mythical date or the little hand of the clock – keep us being battered by the great paw of the present. (Paz, 2012a:22) History is layered and Paz was alive to this phenomenon. History-making in its best incarnation to Paz was about bringing to light a ‘face’. He argued that [t]he powerful conceive of history as a mirror: in the battered face of others – the insulted and injured, the conquered or the ‘converted’- they see their own faces reflected. This is the dialogue of the masks, the double monologue of the victimizer and the victimized. Revolt is the criticism of masks, the beginning of genuine dialogue. It is also the creation of our own faces. (Paz, 2012a:175) Paz had come to recognize that after a prolonged period of struggle, ‘Latin America is beginning to have a face’ (Paz, 2012a:175). He was keen to strip the ‘masks’, the scaffolding around which much of the historical conversation is simulated and actually again move to the realm of the real and concrete (Paz, 2012c). He conceived of history as dynamic, fluid and non-linear. He astutely pointed out that [h]istory is a theatre in which a single person, humanity, becomes many: servants, masters, bourgeois, mandarins, clergymen, peasants, workers. The incoherent shouting of all these voices turns into a rational dialogue, and this dialogue into a philosophical monologue. History is a discourse. But the rebellions of the twentieth century have violated both the rules of dramatic action and those of representation. (Paz, 2012b:275) When the script is violated it no longer respects the limits of rationality. Paz went on to argue that [w]e have unforeseen irruptions that disturb the linear nature of history: what should have happened has not occurred and what should have happened later happens now. If Chinese peasants or Latin American revolutionaries are today the representatives of the subject ‘humanity’, who or what do American and European workers, not to mention the Russian proletariat, represent? Both the events and actors betray the text of the play. They write another text, or rather invent one. History becomes improvisation. This is the end of discourse and rational legibility. (Paz, 2012b:275–276) It is interesting for students of IR to ask more as a thought experiment, how Paz would have viewed the current historical conjunction we find ourselves in. What would Paz have to say about the rise of China or the decline of the United States? How would he have viewed new coalitions like BRICS, G20, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization? What would he have to say about Mexico’s place in the new world? Or as Paz eloquently once captured it, 220

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‘[w]here does Mexico end and the world begin? How to distinguish between the past and the present, between what was, what is, and what is going on still in the living tissue of the current situation?’(Paz, 2001:4–5). Paz cast a long view and was alive to the complications that characterized the ‘discourses’ of History. There was clearly no simple master narrative or easy ‘finalities’ (Paz, 2001:13; 2012b). Even the hauntingly familiar story of imperial domination and its consequences in different parts of the world needed re-telling. Could we break out of spirals of violence or as IR scholars often ponder is war eliminable at all? Paz’s real contribution here is to encourage us to scratch the surface, connect the dots and reside in the non-linearity of the present. Paz’s engagement also reminds us of the ambivalent sides of human nature – part dark, part benign and depending on the milieu and the timing it brings out the best or the worst of humankind. Paz got us thinking, à la Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein – what kind of a ‘nudge’ would bring out the best in us, historically speaking and how can we best avoid re-enacting the terrible follies of our past (2009). In other words, how do we best contend with a ‘box of surprises’ (Paz, 2001:79).

‘Politics of knowing’1 In his book, Alternating Current, Paz advances a perceptive claim regarding location and knowledge. He observes, [t]he notion of ‘underdevelopment’ is an offshoot of the idea of social and economic progress. Aside from the fact that I am very much averse to reducing the plurality of cultures and the very destiny of man to a single model, industrial society, I have serious doubts as to whether the relationship between economic prosperity and artistic excellence is one of cause and effect. Cavafy, Borges, Unamuno, and Reyes cannot be labelled ‘underdeveloped’ writers, despite the marginal economic status of Greece, Spain, and Latin America. Moreover the rush to ‘develop’ reminds me of nothing so much as a frantic race to arrive at the gates of Hell ahead of everyone else. (Paz, 2012a:19) These remarks by Paz in my assessment provide a provocative foundation to reflect on the nature of knowledge creation, the hierarchies of knowledge and the means to redress these exclusions. Latin America is curiously placed in the world of ideas. First, there is always the risk of the Anglo-American universe missing out on Spanish language as well as contributions of indigenous peoples to knowledge. Second, given its own economic status and peculiar asymmetry vis-à-vis the United States, Latin America has been severely underestimated for precisely the reasons Paz gestures to. The conflation of economic underdevelopment with epistemic underdevelopment is fallacious and is in need of substantive revision. For me a natural corollary is to ask if IR scholarship from Latin America faces a similar fate. Have we lost out on contributions merely because the Anglo-American mainstream is unfamiliar with work in other languages or is it a deeper coding of knowledge systems that undervalues contributions from the global south? Walter Mignolo argued that the ‘idea of Latin America’ itself was deeply suspect and needed re-visiting (2005). Paz in similar vein argued that the task before us is not only to do away with an unjust and anachronistic state of affairs which condemns us to dependency on foreign powers in the international sphere, and on the domestic scene to an endless cycle: dictatorship, followed by anarchy, and a return to 221

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dictatorship. Ever more importantly, we must also endeavour to recover our true past, which has shattered, dispersed, and sold the day after we won our independence. (Paz, 2012a:173) In an interview with Claude Fell dealing with his classic, The Labyrinth of Solitude, Paz noted that [t]he opposition between poor countries and rich countries, from the viewpoint of history and culture, means: central or imperial countries and peripheral or marginal countries, subject countries and object countries. The book is part of the attempt of literally marginal countries to regain consciousness: to become subjects again. (Paz, 1985:330) Paz also noted some curious combinations in terms of how ideas from Europe travelled to his own country, Mexico. He lamented that Mexican positivism introduced a certain kind of bad faith in relations with ideas; an ambiguity not only between social reality and the ideas that pretended to justify it, but also the appearance of a particular type of bad faith, since it was introduced into the very consciousness of Mexican positivists. A psychic session occurred: those gentlemen who swore by Comte and Spencer were not the enlightened and democratic bourgeois but the ideologists of a landowner’s oligarchy. (Paz, 1985:331–332) Mexico, Paz argued, remained in isolation for a long part of its history. It was European contact via principally ‘the Spanish and the Portuguese’ who changed things and ‘[s]ince then we Mexicans have been a fragment of world history’ (Paz, 2001:14). Paz is no nativist. He was keen to make most of this contact of Mexico with the Spanish world. He observes that [r]eading the great writers and poets of those years ended up by reconciling me with Spain. I felt part of the tradition – not in a passive way, but actively, at times, even polemically. I discovered that the literature written by us Hispanoamericans is the other face of the Hispanic tradition. Our literature began by being a tributary of Spanish letters, but is now a powerful river. Cervantes, Quevedo, and Lope would recognize themselves in our authors. The dispute between hispanists and antihispanists seemed to me anachronistic and sterile. (Paz, 2001:16) From the perspective of IR and the global south as well from Paz’s perspective it might be good to re-think the connections of the periphery and the metropole afresh. Paz envisaged and dreamt of ‘an association free of all non-Latin American influence’ in the sphere of politics. However, in the realm of ideas, Paz believed in critical encounters with diverse ideational influences with the aim ultimately of enriching our collective humanity. Challenging internal hierarchies in the global South as illustrated in the dissemination of knowledge in Latin America, Paz rues that ‘neither Buenos Aires nor Mexico City has been very responsive to the rest of Latin America.’ Regarding ‘Argentinian Europeanism’ and ‘Mexican nationalism’ as two sides of the same coin, Paz is hopeful that ‘[o]ther centres are coming into being: Havana, Caracas, Montevideo, Santiago, Lima.’ Further, he also adds that ‘[p]eriodicals and groups whose outlook is Latin American are appearing even in self-centred Bogota and the Managua of Somoza the shark’ (Paz, 2012d:36). Paz’s value addition in this domain for students of IR is evident in more ways than one. He restores the marginalized political subject, is keen to study the interplay of the past and the 222

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present and demonstrate how residues from the past lodge themselves especially in the Mexican present. Paz also examines the negative as well as the positive side of the contact of Mexico with Spain in his audit of the legacies left behind and he problematizes the correlation between economic underdevelopment and epistemic underdevelopment. All in all there is much to mull over for IR students with regard to each of these facets so lucidly thought through by Paz. Two other dimensions, I would add to the Paz wish list on the ‘politics of knowing,’ are his disapproval of ideological straightjackets and a genuine quest for more humane models of politics.

Pedagogic counsel Paz was a teacher par excellence. His writings both provoke and instruct without being consciously didactic. They throw open several possibilities both in the classroom and elsewhere when it comes to teaching IR. In The Labyrinth of Solitude, Paz exhorts his readers to stretch themselves intellectually. He reiterates [w]e must learn to look reality in the face; if necessary, we must invent new words and new ideas for these new realities that are challenging us. Thinking is the first obligation of the intelligentsia, and in certain cases it is the only one. (Paz, 1985:192) To his fellow Mexicans this meant an effort had to be made to ‘acquire a new awareness of Latin America’ (Paz, 1985:193). However, the counsel is not merely restricted to Mexicans. For all peoples and societies that have particularly emerged after the trauma of colonialism, it is particularly important to invent a vocabulary that goes beyond the framework of the colonizer. IR is often freighted with concepts and maps that are bequeathed to us from a largely Anglo-American provenance. This is not good enough reason for Paz to accept them as worthwhile descriptions of the reality that faces us in our own locations, i.e. our historic, cultural, geographic, economic and political coordinates. It is time for us to re-write and re-invent the vocabulary premised on a more serious intellectual engagement of resources drawn from within. It is also important here to remind ourselves that Paz never subscribed to cutting oneself off from world currents and the real challenge to him was how to bring these renewed efforts to seek fresh conceptualization and mapping in conversation with preexisting concepts and maps that spoke only to some realities and not to others. Similarly, when it came to strategies of reading, Paz was not short of good ideas. These were oftentimes captured via his interlocutors and the emphasis he placed on key insights generated in those encounters. In his excellent collection of essays titled, On Poets and Others, Paz in conversation with Robert Frost distils and presents for his readers some nuggets of good advice on reading. He recalls Frost’s advice ‘You’ve got to read a few books well and frequently’ (Paz, 2012e:549). Frost tells Paz, ‘What you’ve got to teach people is to read slowly. And not to fidget about so much’ (Paz, 2012e:550). This appears prescient even by today’s yardsticks. Paz was also not easily enamoured of well-known figures. In his account and evaluation of Jean Paul Sartre as a thinker and his normative and political commitments, Paz does not mince words. He argued [i]n equating Western colonialism with the repressive Soviet system, Sartre fudged the issue, the only one that could and should interest an intellectual of the Soviet regime? By evading the basic theme, he helped indirectly those who wanted to perpetuate the 223

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lies with which, up to that time, Soviet reality had been masked. This was a serious equivocation, if one can so describe an intellectual and moral fault. (Paz, 2012e:579) He draws these lines clearly when he argues that ‘[w]hat seems unacceptable to me is that a writer or intellectual should submit to a party or a church’ (Paz, 1985:350). He elaborates: [a] writer should be a guerrilla fighter, should bear solitude and know that he is a marginal being. That we writers should be marginal is a condemnation which is a blessing. For us to be marginal can give validity to our writing. (Paz, 1985:350) Good advice again for IR scholars being socialized into the discipline. Given the complex relationship between the state and IR as a discipline, it is important for writers and scholars to resist the temptation of whispering in the ears of the Prince (in today’s epoch, the modern state). Paz is unequivocal. He would not want our writing in any way to be tainted by the expectation of state or market patronage. Not unrelated to this quest for a writer’s autonomy is Paz’s assessment of the role of literature. He notes in this regard that ‘[l]iterature is the memory of people; it transmits from one generation to the next the irrefutable experiences of men. It preserves and enlivens the flame of a history immune to all deformation, far from every lie’ (Paz, 2012e:637). To me this translates into worthwhile counsel for the student of IR to turn to a multiplicity of sources before establishing the veracity of knowledge claims. Literature can be a useful ally here opening up vistas and perspectives that otherwise might not qualify as worthwhile research leads. It helps forge a set of sensibilities and reveals layers of reality that go beyond officially documented narratives which circulate with far more telling regularity. Literature at its best speaks truth to power and also provides us scope for empathy especially in its stories of human agency with universal resonance. Paz also had a soft corner for art and artists. While discussing the work of Luis Cernuda, Paz writes ‘[d]ialogue with works of art consists not only of hearing what they say but of recreating, reliving them as presences: to awaken their present. It is creative repetition’ (Paz, 2012e:729). To reinforce his point, Paz suggests that ‘history is not only time lived and died but time which is transmuted into work and deed’ (Paz, 2012e:729). I do not intend to labour the point here but art opens up other ‘ways of seeing’ that are normally again not available through our conventional metrics (Berger, 1972). It is not hard to acknowledge that ‘great art’ possesses the capacity to ‘rough up your composure and then proceed in short order to rearrange your sense of reality’ (Schama, 2009:6). Again, students of IR must embrace these possibilities for the promise they hold in offering us something entirely new and otherwise concealed from view. Christine Sylvester turned her attention to museums as a valid site for studying IR but one can envisage a range of other possibilities as well that the world of art opens up for IR (Shapiro, 2016, 2016). A final dimension of pedagogic counsel that Paz invites us to consider is the act of translation. Paz rued that what we call translation is really only an approximation in another language or interpretation. Words such as nirvana, dharma, tao, or jen are really untranslatable; the same is true of physics, nature, democracy, revolution, and other Western terms that have no exact equivalent in languages outside or our tradition. (Paz, 2012a:45)

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Elsewhere, Paz acknowledged that ‘we are faced not so much with a diversity of realities as a plurality of meanings’ (Paz, 2012b:203). Translation is a slippery arena when it comes to thinking about the world of IR. However, Paz again here alerts us to an important dimension about the caution we need to exercise while evaluating ideas which travel from one part of the world to another.

Conclusion What I have sought to do here is to identify and flesh out some key concerns that were germane to the thought of Octavio Paz. I have prominently identified five facets that in my assessment have a much larger life – especially from the perspective of students of world politics. The first of these dealt with bringing back the figure of the ‘concrete person’ back into narratives of IR. For too long IR has sanitized political discourse and excluded a whole range of actors who have been relegated to secondary status. To structural realists like Kenneth Waltz (1979), the lesser powers did not matter as they lacked capabilities – both military and economic, liberal discourse in IR stigmatized everybody outside the liberal fold and valorised liberal doctrines of democracy promotion, human rights and the rule of law without adequately factoring in local context. The recent contributions of scholars like Elizabeth Dauphinee and Naeem Inayatullah among several others provide a sound basis for IR scholars to re-examine the significance of narratives afresh in the chronicling of the texture and driving forces of world politics. Paz would have enthusiastically endorsed these attempts as he himself came to recognize the value of these often marginalized perspectives. Paz also had useful counsel for the ‘critic’. He believed that criticism had a vital function in intellectual as well as public life and somebody had to take that project forward. If Paz was around, he would have in all probability reiterated categorically the need for the critic and the indispensability of criticism. What I think is particularly worth mulling over for an IR student is how the dots connect when it comes to intellectual currents. Paz could in the same breath converse about Hindu aesthetics and Hegelian dialectics. This is clearly not everybody’s cup of tea. However, the larger point is that streams of thought can be brought to bear with care to illuminate our understanding about shared concerns. Christian eschatology and Buddhist metaphysics may have vastly different lineages but they both have a particular view of human suffering that enriches our understanding of what that means to individuals subscribing to either of these perspectives. In IR, the significance of ‘polyvocality’ at one plane must be fairly obvious given the diversity of the world but this is not reflected in our epistemic stance to diverse knowledge systems and ways of being. Third, Paz’s perspective on history also brings to bear essential dimensions which have obsessed a number of theorists in IR, for example Hans Morgenthau (1948) and his understanding of human nature. Paz also has a great deal of interest in the darker recesses of human nature and is keen to unravel the nature of evil. However, he is also careful not to treat this as the entirety of human nature. Much of what Paz felt is borne by modern cognitive science that establishes many predispositions in human nature – a vast continuum from empathy to unbridled aggression. For too long IR has been attached to a rather static view of human nature and Paz’s reflections on history and human nature might provide a much needed corrective to this rather one-sided picture. For anybody studying IR especially from the global South, Paz is a fine intellectual exemplar. He combined a rare erudition drawing on South American, European and Asian intellectual currents and blending them in many diverse combinations. Paz never forgot the violence of the European imperial impulse which re-engineered societies and was keen to 225

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restore perspective by both opening up an inventory of thinkers and influences from his own native Mexico as well as other parts of the world that were often ignored in mainstream discussions. Paz dreamt of genuine exchanges of ideas even within the global south that could substantially enrich our collective wisdom. This is a project which is still in some respects unrealized. It is urgent for another generation to take Paz’s project forward. Paz has some sound pedagogic advice on a number of counts. These include particular strategies of reading and writing, sound anchoring and most crucially counsel not to be swayed too easily by dominant intellectual currents. He was particularly alive to art and encouraged a spirit of a ‘dialogue’ in this regard. He also gave considerable thought to the question of translation – its desirability as well as its limits. In the domain of poetry, Paz excelled himself. For Paz, art was deeply intertwined with politics and social concerns and this is reflected in a profound way in his poetry. The ultimate tribute to Paz is to engage him in the fashion he engaged the pioneering surrealist, André Breton. He once remarked ‘I write as if I were engaged in silent dialogue with Breton: reply, answer, coincidence, disagreement, homage, all together. Even as I write now I experience that feeling’ (Paz, 2012e:608; Schmidt, 2012:540). It is easy to feel the same way about Octavio Paz.

Acknowledgement I would like to place on record my gratitude for insightful comments on earlier iterations to Himadeep Muppidi, Jenny Edkins, Srikanth Mallavarapu, Rustom Bharucha, B.S. Chimni and Gautama Polanki. The usual disclaimer applies.

Note 1 The expression ‘politics of knowing’ throughout this text is from Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (please see references for full citation details).

References Berger, John (1972) Ways of Seeing. London: British Broadcasting Corporation and Penguin Books. Blaney, David and Naeem Inayatullah (1994) ‘Prelude to a Conversation of Cultures in International Society? Todorov and Nandy on the Possibility of Dialogue’, Alternatives 19 (1), 23–51. Chazournes, Laurence Boisson de and Philippe Sands (1999) International Law, the International Court of Justice and Nuclear Weapons. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chimni, Bhupinder S. and Siddharth Mallavarapu (eds.) (2012) International Relations: Perspectives for the Global South. Delhi: Pearson. Dauphinee, Elizabeth (2013) The Politics of Exile. Abingdon: Routledge. Dewes, Kate (1998) ‘The World Court Project: The Evolution and Impact of an Effective Citizens Movement’ PhD diss., Disarmament and Security Centre, Christchurch Aotearoa/New Zealand. Dewes, Kate and Robert Green (1995) ‘The World Court Project: How a Citizen Network Can Influence the United Nations’, Pacifica Review 7 (2), 17–37. Edkins, Jenny (2003) Trauma and the Memory of Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Edkins, Jenny (2013) ‘Novel Writing in International Relations: Openings for a Creative Practice’, Security Dialogue 44 (4), 281–297. Inayatullah, Naeem (ed.) (2011) Autobiographical International Relations. Abingdon: Routledge. Inayatullah, Naeem, and Elizabeth Dauphinee (eds.) (2016) Narrative Global Politics: Theory, History and Personal International Relations. Abingdon: Routledge. International Court of Justice (ICJ) (1996) Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons: Advisory Opinion of 8 July. www.icj-cij.org/files/case-related/95/095-19960708ADV-01-00-EN.pdf. Mallavarapu, Siddharth (2007) Banning the Bomb: The Politics of Norm Creation. Delhi: Pearson Longman.

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Why Octavio Paz matters Mignolo, Walter (2005) The Idea of Latin America. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. Morgenthau, Hans (1948) Politics among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace. New York: Knopf. Muppidi, Himadeep (2012) The Colonial Signs of International Relations. London: C. Hurst. Muppidi, Himadeep (2013) ‘On “The Politics of Exile”’, Security Dialogue 44 (4), 299–313. Paz, Octavio (1985) The Labyrinth of Solitude. New York: Grove Press. (Translated by Lysander Kemp.) Paz, Octavio (2001) Itinerary: An Intellectual Journey. San Diego: Harvest Edition. (Translated by Jason Wilson.) Paz, Octavio (2012a) Alternating Current: Five Works by Octavio Paz. New York: Arcade Publishing. (Translated by Helen R. Lane.) Paz, Octavio (2012b) Conjunctions and Disjunctions: Five Works by Octavio Paz. New York: Arcade Publishing. (Translated by Helen R. Lane.) Paz, Octavio (2012c) ‘Mask and Transparency’ in Alternating Current: Five Works by Octavio Paz. New York: Arcade Publishing, 36–41. Paz, Octavio (2012d) ‘On Criticism’ in Alternating Current: Five Works by Octavio Paz, Translated from Spanish by Helen R. Lane. New York: Arcade Publishing, 32–36. Paz, Octavio (2012e) On Poets and Others: Five Works by Octavio Paz. New York: Arcade Publishing. Rawlence, Ben (2016) City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp. New York: Picador. Schama, Simon (2009) The Power of Art. London: Random House. Schmidt, Michael (2012) ‘Foreword’ in On Poets and Others: Five Works by Octavio Paz, translated from Spanish by Michael Schmidt. New York: Arcade Publishing, 539–547. Shapiro, Michael (2016) Politics and Time. Cambridge: Polity Press. Sylvester, Christine (2016) Art/Museums: International Relations: Where We Least Expect It. Abingdon: Routledge. Thaler, Richard H. and Cass R. Sunstein (2009) Nudge: Improving decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness. London: Penguin Books. Thiong’o, Ngũgĩ wa (2014) Globalectics: Theory and Politics of Knowing. New York: Columbia University Press. Tomlinson, Charles (2001) ‘Foreword’ in Itinerary: An Intellectual Journey, Octavio Paz (eds.). San Diego: Harvest Edition, 1–4. Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt (2005) Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Waltz, Kenneth (1979) Theory of International Politics. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Weinberger, Eliot (ed. and trans.) (2014) The Poems of Octavio Paz. New York: New Directions Book.

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PART VI

Spaces and times

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16 RACING TO THE BOTTOM, SQUEEZING THROUGH THE CRACKS Imagining unbordered space Catarina Kinnvall Introduction The first lines of Chris Cleave’s novel, Little Bee, give us the following reflection of the thoughts of the protagonist, a Nigerian refugee, as she contemplates her position and how she is treated: Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl. Everyone would be pleased to see me coming. Maybe I would visit you for the weekend and then suddenly, because I am fickle like that, I would visit the man from the corner shop instead – but you would not be sad because you would be eating a cinnamon bun, or drinking a cold Coca-Cola from the can, and you would never think of me again. We would be happy, like lovers who met on holiday and forgot each other’s names. (Cleave, 2008: 1) Being a pound coin, or most other Western currencies for that matter, is to travel across borders and boundaries without much further interrogation (unless exceeding certain currency limits). It is a denomination that, because of its privileged state of origin, does not have to prove its own worth, or produce a certificate that establishes its potential contribution to Western societies, or for that matter its right colour or ethnic appearance. It can be soiled and dirty, or shining and marvellous, but its appearance does not stop it from crossing the real and imaginary borders that prescribe inclusion or exclusion. It belongs to an imagined possibility of uninterrupted space where it will be welcomed regardless of its exterior manifestations. Its privileged history is forgotten in this imagination – an Indian rupee or a Kenyan shilling would not share the same fate – and its worth is taken for granted, unquestioned and unchallenged. International relations (IR), as we know it, has been similarly described. As a universal space in which states have the power to regulate the in- and out-flow of people entering their territory; a space in which they can exercise their authority to exclude some people from their territory and where the border locates the limits of sovereign power on their geographical outer edges. It also illustrates a particular legal space in which colonial expansion 231

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has resulted in a hierarchical fragmentation of legal systems, which has established and naturalised the distinction between citizens and subject (Rico, 2005). Some citizens – just like the British pound – have been able to travel freely across borders and boundaries without being questioned, interrogated or detained while others have seen border after border being closed and the discourses surrounding such closures being justified by references to a ‘migration crisis’, to cultural and religious threats and to an increasingly undefined otherness. In this chapter I argue that European political space is caught up in a race-to-the bottom in terms of immigration and refugee policies. This process has been initiated, fuelled and intensified through populist discourses, narratives and policies, focused on protecting nations, peoples and cultures from distant others. Those states accepting the least number of migrants fleeing from war and humanitarian disasters seem to score the highest among European politicians and voters. Unlike the pound coin, which is increasingly celebrated as the foundation of the British empire and vital to British independence, the ‘African girl’ represents the displaced, the one contained and dispossessed at the same time, being refused the right to passage even when having legal entitlement to do so. Barbed wire, increased border police and multiple military enforcements at the European borders remind us of a world in which not only legal procedures are ignored, such as the Schengen agreement and the right to asylum, but also where populist narratives of governed space rely upon discourses of otherness that supply emotional structures to majorities in fear of ‘being swamped by migrants’. These emotional structures do not only work through discourses, however, but also through bodies and the embodied practise of experiencing threat and anxiety. The ‘African girl’, compared to the metallic pound, is an actual body – sometimes noted for her religious dress, sometimes for the colour of her skin but oftentimes just as a body on the move, across murky and dangerous waters in search of a place to rest – a refuge(e). An increasingly unwelcomed body that, whether in female or male form, is imagined – as fear at the heart of desire, a fantasy of threatened national integrity in which the traversing of the border is an intrusion of both national and personal space. How can such bordered spaces become unbordered to allow for other imaginings? What would an imagined possibility look like in the face of the tremendous challenges facing Europe of today? In this chapter I draw on postcolonial, feminist and psychoanalytical theories to understand how bordering is a structural and an emotional process as well as an embodied experience, but also to argue that it is a process that allows for imaginative spaces. Postcolonial and psychoanalytical approaches step away from the notion of the psyche as an individual space, or a place of knowledge, in favour of a space in which fantasies of perfect integrity and wholeness are abandoned to allow for the cracks of non-knowledge. Through recognising such cracks, such unfinished narratives, we can start the process of making the impossible possible. The chapter begins by outlining the critical role of narrative imagination for international relations (IR) theory and how narrative imagination is related to the bordering of space and subjectivity in postcolonial terms. The ‘critical’ in this sentence refers not only to established critiques of realist, liberal or constructivist IR theories and their preoccupation with the state as a sovereign body, but suggests instead a thorough investigation of the pervading white mythology of IR – what Hobson (2007) refers to as the ‘Westphilian narrative’ of much IR theory – that ‘renders racist hierarchies and racism invisible in the world while simultaneously issuing racist Eurocentric explanatory models of the world’ (ibid.: 93). Here, I outline how the postcolonial has moved into Europe and the West and how narrative imagination cannot be 232

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detached from its colonial legacy and the idea of Europe as a bordered space in temporal, spatial, subjective, but also gendered terms. In the following section I show how the narration of borders works on the ground, how sovereign power intersects and moves with and through the bodies of migrants and authorities, and how this embodied experience is set within a psychic register of imagination and fantasy that are at heart Eurocentric. This is the focus of Section 2 where I discuss how postcolonial melancholia is played out through competing, often gendered, imaginations in which institutional and emotional governance increasingly overlap. Throughout I unpack some key Lacanian concepts, such as the Symbolic Order, the Imaginary, the Fantasmatic, Master Signifiers, Lack, the Real, Desire and Jouissance (enjoyment). The final section sets out the limits to such imaginaries and outlines the extent to which a deconstructive postcolonial and psychoanalytical reading of current bordering practices can help us in justifying other imaginations: imaginations able to go beyond the illusion of sovereign states, coherent narratives and Eurocentrism. Here I outline the limits to narrative imagination unless reframed and reinterpreted as ruptures or knowledge cracks informed by history, privilege and dominant boundary making. This also marks a critical attempt by postcolonial, poststructural, feminist and psychoanalytical scholars to rewrite international relations to include those discourses and bodies previously ignored or marginalised.

Postcolonial melancholia: the narrative bordering of space and subjectivity Although the history of Europe as Subject was narrativized by the law, political economy, and the ideology of the West, this concealed Subject pretended it had ‘no geo-political determinations’. The much-publicized critique of the sovereign subject thus actually inaugurated a Subject. (Spivak, 1999: 248) It is difficult to talk about narratives of borders apart from their imaginary logic of international relations theory in which the organising principle of state sovereignty has resulted in the loss of sovereignty for others – other states, other communities and other individuals (Fierke, 2013). The state narrated as a Subject in much international relations theory has encountered significant criticism from poststructural, postcolonial and feminist scholars – both for what it represents (a unitary actor in an anarchic world) and for what it has come to be a representation of (universalism, eurocentrism and masculinity). The Subject is not only imagined in such representations but it is imagined in particular forms and made sense of through the Symbolic Order, the order of language (Lacan, 1978), where the idea of Europe and its preoccupation with a natural, rational and homogenous self in relation to an inferior other constitutes the basis for a European Imaginary. The Symbolic Order, or the Symbolic, refers to those symbols and signifiers that people surround themselves with. These do not emanate from nature, objects, infrastructure or economic production as often perceived in realist, liberal or materialist thought, but are constructions created through linguistic representations (Leupin, 2004: xxix). Even before her arrival to the European shores, the ‘African girl’ preexists in a net of symbolic representations that has designated her place, as well as that of her masters, in the social structure. Spivak speaks about this subject in postcolonial terms – a subject that was already preimagined by the European colonisers; a subject that had little choice in terms of its particular content. A subject that was (and is) spoken for rather than with. This pre-defined universal 233

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subject has always been at the core of an inter‘national’ relations theory focused on territorial integrity and cultural sameness; a nation that could only be imagined in particular ways – pertaining to Chatterjee’s (1993: 5) questions of what possible national choices the Indian state had upon independence from the British: ‘what is left for us to imagine?’ stating that ‘even our imaginations must remain forever colonized’. This is closely related to Spivak’s claim that the colonised body was viewed as ‘uninscribed’ before discovery – that it was only through its colonial explorers that it took shape and was filled with knowledge and history. Spivak, similar to other postcolonial scholars (e.g. Bhabha, 1990; Chakrabarty, 2007), thus points to how Europe was inaugurated as a subject and how this inauguration is still being performed in terms of eurocentrism in and outside of European political space in order to control, know and domesticate certain groups of people residing in national space. It is within these reproductive patterns of domination that we increasingly see a search for what Fuglerud (2005) calls the ‘authentic product’, reflecting a growing emphasis on culture, heritage and local origin – a search for ‘the nation’ as inscribed through dominating (hegemonic) strategies, but also through national and international legal instruments. This authenticity constitutes a fantasy in which individuals and bodies are transformed into representations and representatives of an abstract, but still imagined entity. ‘The boat is full’, ‘migrants are a threat to our culture’, become narrative shortcuts to a fantasy in which the register of the Symbolic meets the images of territorial integrity and the people as one. As shortcuts, they are interpreted within those normalising (natural) narratives that frame the Symbolic inherent in the everyday and the mundane. This ‘naturalness’ is both discursive and embodied. Subjectivity is decentred, located within the Lacanian (1978, 1988) psychoanalytic inventories of the Imaginary where the subject fixes itself to an ideal image – in this case the rational homogenous European Subject as a fictional ideal against the threat of the postcolonial inferior Other – an image that is called upon to affirm its imagined sense of self. The failure to safeguard this image through the other leaves the subject to turn to the Symbolic, to find a way to secure its desire for an ideal image. Here the re-imagination of bordered communities responds to a desire for an absent world. This desire is filled by the Fantasmatic (fictional) object of the immigrant; the ‘African girl’. She prevents ‘our’ desires from being fulfilled and works as a discursive and emotional container for the embodied experience of disgust, horror and fear. At the heart of such desire is the belief in homogenous identities; the conviction that we somehow possess unitary selves. However, all identities are in Lacan’s terminology mistaken, even the mirror image reverses right from left and we cannot learn who we ‘truly’ are in the gaze of others. Lacan’s subject is split. This is also what makes a cohesive self impossible – the subject is not only split but it is also characterised by a constant Lack – a lack of stable identity, a lack of certainty and a lack of a full sense of self. The relationship between the fulfilment of this Lack and the desire for a cohesive image always takes narrative form. Here narrations of a past in terms of a singular, and often linear, reading of the nation, history, culture and people – becomes a way to perform Desire through postcolonial space. A space that is not limited to former colonial powers but is reflected in our dependence on linear narratives for telling the stories of ourselves, about ourselves, in modern identity constructions (Somers, 1994; Robinson, 2004; Andrews et al., 2015). Such narrations seriously impede our ability to move beyond the illusion of consistent, unitary identities and selfhood in which nationalism and other single identifications can supply an anchorage – a sense of ontological security – referring to the (imagined) belief that individuals and groups need cohesive selves to counter ontological insecurity, fragmentation and hybridity (Kinnvall and Nesbitt-Larking, 2011). A crucial Lacanian category in theorising this process is that of Master Signifiers, i.e. those 234

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signifiers to which a subject’s identity is most intimately bound, such as nation, religion, gender and culture. However, these are never predetermined; rather they are what Lacan refers to as ‘empty signifiers’ or ‘signifiers without a significant’ (Lacan, 1978). Although we can never know the nature of the signifiers ourselves, Lacan argues, we remain convinced that others do. The naming of Europe or the Nation is itself an abstraction or an empty signifier (a fantasy) that is inscribed with symbolic agency only through the interaction with a Symbolic Order governed by political asymmetries (Lacan, 2000; Kinnvall, 2012). Lacan provides a framework from which to discuss the postcolonial. The postcolonial has moved into Europe and the West and is challenging the very foundation of European imagination and borders. This imagination rests on narratives of civilisational superiority in which cultural similarity and universal humanity are hinged on political equality and liberty, thus allowing European culture to be exported to the rest of the world – often in the language of freedom, knowledge and wisdom (Delanty, 2003). Imperialism, Bhambra (2007) argues, is in other words crucial to the very construction of Europe and European civilisation, but is seldom regarded as such. This glossing over of its imperial past creates an idea of Europe in which unity in diversity prevails, an idea that in many respects is focused on what keeps Europe together in the face of non-European values, cultures and citizens (Kinnvall, 2016). Nationalist paranoia and xenophobic fears thus become a way to protect a European image of itself as borders become narrated into territorial ‘frontierlands’ (Rumford, 2006: 157). A Europe ‘flooded by immigrants’ unless preventative action is taken acts as a powerful temporal narrative in the linear construction of European postcolonial space. Here the loss of empire can be read through the construction of the European Union as a way for colonial powers to reconsider the futures of their empires. The grievances associated with the loss of empire – damaged national pride, international prestige, being humiliated and defeated by those seen as ‘inferior races’ – could thus be traded for a new beginning, a new sense of national direction and a new purpose in a ‘New Europe’ (Hansen, 2002: 494; Gilroy, 2005; Kinnvall, 2016). As Butler (2010: 102) argues, power relations and hierarchies are affected by different temporal conceptions, where a linear and progressive understanding of time facilitates the representation of some collectives as modern – as historic actors that advance history – while others are stuck in the past. This temporal space is discursively constructed in terms of national and religious belonging. It is connected to cultural racism and othering, but also to gender and social reproduction. In imagining a core, ‘the essential, natural soul of the nation’ (Pandey, 1999), many anti-immigrant advocates thus adhere to hyper-masculine notions of what such a nation looks like. As Messerschmidt (1993: 82) has argued, hegemonic (or dominant) masculinity as manifest in Western society ‘emphasises practices toward authority, control, competitive individualism, independence, aggressiveness, and the capacity for violence’. Such hegemonic masculinity is likely to be portrayed as normal and even natural and becomes an entrenched part of what is considered a community’s particular culture, tradition and religion. In postcolonial Europe this notion of masculinity is often contrasted to that believed to be espoused by (especially) Muslim men who are then made into normative deviants; being ‘anti-West’, ‘anti-modern’, ‘anti-liberal’, ‘anti-women’ and ‘dangerous beings’ (Treadwell and Garland, 2011: 624). In much antiimmigration discourse this is intimately linked with social reproduction to prevent the decline or death of the national and cultural heritage of the next generation (Yuval-Davis, 1997, 2011). European postcolonial space is thus also about the gendering of this space, which is a process through which social systems maintain the organisation of powerful hierarchies based on assumptions about masculinity, femininity and privileges (Horton and Rydström, 2011). 235

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In this regard both far-right populist and centre-right movements rest on a political ideology that has as its core myth the homogenous nation – a romantic and gendered version of the homeland and homeland culture. Hence a key element of the anti-establishment stance is the idea of the homeland of betrayed people; that the established parties have ‘sold out’ the homeland and/or the welfare state in favour of multiculturalism. But it is also about the African girl – especially if accompanied by a hijab or other religiously defined clothing – a girl who is narrated both as a demographic threat and in need of saving from her own kind. Spivak’s (1999) claim that imperialism rested on a notion of ‘white men saving brown women from brown men’ (saving the subaltern) is indicative of how the embodiment of the veiled woman has civilisational value in postcolonial Europe. Not only does her visible religious affiliation open up for embodied narratives of an ‘Islamic threat’ and a ‘demographic takeover’, justified through (fantasies of) higher birth rates among Europe’s Muslim populations (Busher, 2013), but it also produces a violent demand to unveil both Islam and the woman herself. ‘The veil, real or imagined, functions like race, a marker of essential difference that Muslim women today cannot escape’ (Cooke, 2008: 91). This, what Gilroy (2005) terms postcolonial melancholia, is increasingly manifest among majority white populations in Europe. Throughout Europe, both internal and external borders are closing and community surveillance – especially of Muslim communities – is being justified through legal exceptions. This postcolonial melancholia fills the lack at the heart of desire through the symbol of the nation, which, alongside gender, race and religion, validates a lost empire. It heals its split self through self-love and hatred of the abject other. Such a limited representation is part of a Western, and specifically European need for narrative in which an uncontested binary between (especially Muslim) culture and civilisation is being imagined and a grandiose self-image endorsed. Anger over migration reflects a toxic mix of racial and religious intolerance but can also be described as a mourning process for the loss of colonial power and collective guilt (Truscott and Hook, 2014). As an available symbol of desire, the nation is obdurate but it is through the Fantasmatic object of the immigrant that it becomes materialised and embodied. However, as Fanon (1952 [2008]) remarks, even when such fantasies, or desires, are mediated through unconscious processes, they are ultimately grounded in the inequalities present in the wider social structures, not in personality factors of the colonised or in the internal psychic workings of individual subjects (see also Truscott and Hook, 2014).

Institutional and emotional governance: desire and the imaginary other How I would love to be a British pound. A pound is free to travel safely, and we are free to watch it go. This is the human triumph. This is called globalization. A girl like me gets stopped at immigration, but a pound can leap the turnstiles, and dodge the tackles of those big men in uniform caps, and jump straight into a waiting airport taxi. Where to sir? Western civilization my good man, and make it snappy. (Extract from the novel Little Bee by Chris Cleave, 2008: 2) At heart of Eurocentrism is the idea of Western civilisation as the cradle of modernity and the nation-state. These fantasies of a golden past have consequences for how the Other is being imagined and the emotions attached to such imagining. As Martins (2016) argues, imagination is about capturing desire and capturing desire is about fantasy or more specifically about answering the question che vuoi? (what do you want?) through certain scenarios or narratives (Žižek, 1989). The fact that narratives are constrained by the social and cultural context does 236

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not mean that there is no space for agency. Narrative, in fact, ‘requires agency’. People have a position, a place, in a story and they internalise, process and interpret the information that is provided by and to them through narratives. Of relevance is thus not only how imaginations shape collective mobilisations, but also how these internalisations become perceptions of the past and present as well as attempts to make the future. The definition that best succeeds in ordering the future is more important than whether it accurately represents the present or the past (Reicher and Hopkins, 2001). The emotional meaning of these narratives is thus important to the tone and impact they may have on the ‘emotional public sphere’ (Richards, 2007). Here, media can delimit what is visible, hearable and tellable, says Judith Butler, thus controlling what is perceived as reality and who are counted as subjects, which lives are considered grievable – worthy of being mourned – and which are not (2004: xviii–xx). This has led a number of scholars writing on migration and far-right populism to argue that populist movements and media are active agents in the narratives about their success and failure in relation to other parties, often by taking ‘ownership’ of controversial issues such as immigration (Mudde, 2007; Odmalm, 2011). The institutional and the emotional are here brought together through narratives of ‘imaginary protection’ from the immigrant other, often manifest in fetishism for ‘pure’ identities. Together they co-constitute the governing of subjectivities and behaviour, creating mutual resonance between anti-immigrant proponents and those desiring a sense of fulfilment. However, they are also institutionalised through legal procedures and various citizenship acts that justify exclusionary policies. These policies aim to secure territorial borders and are implemented through the use of emergency narratives intended to create a sense of uncertainty and fear in which the ‘African girl’ can be governed, as carefully delineated in a growing IR literature on borders and exceptionalism (see e.g. Honig, 2011; Vaughan-Williams, 2015). Emergency narratives call for immediate action, forceful measures and direct interventions and can justify polarised boundary constructions between self and others, while seemingly creating order from chaos and flux (Walters, 2004). However, such modes of governmentality can work in insidious ways and need not be sustained by a sovereign subject (Butler and Spivak, 2010). In the case of anti-immigrant movements and populist media, they have been dispersed through the body of the postcolonial migrant where ‘the immigrant confuses and disrupts a Symbolic Order felt to be infuriatingly inaccessible to ordinary subjects’ (Martins, 2016: 156). Any attempts to break this Symbolic Order must therefore take into account not only institutional governance justified through a politics of exception, fear and anxiety, but also the emotional vulnerabilities that make such a politics possible. Hence, we need to seriously engage with the psychic register of embodied experiences as found in Lacanian analysis, such as those of desire and anxiety. The Lacanian concept of Desire, as Solomon (2015) argues, is a key aspect of being a subject and for establishing identity and therefore central to our political being as well as to which narratives become political common sense. For Lacan, and for Lacanian interpreters, such as Slavoj Žižek and others (see e.g. Stavrakakis, 2007; Epstein, 2011; Solomon, 2015), the ambiguity and insecurity of social life paves the way for a politics of impossibility in which desires, frustrations and anxieties play a fundamental part. Considering the anxious and emotionally charged atmosphere in the wake of the so-called ‘migration crisis’ manifest as a ‘race-to-the bottom’ in European migration politics, it is important that we understand the role of emotions in justifying this move. Here Lacan’s conception of the Real (the unconscious direct experience1) points to this anxiousness by referring to a state in which we can never fully know either the past or the future. To Lacan, words are unable to entirely express the meaning of the subject, which implies that alienation is a basic condition for the 237

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formation of subjectivity within the Symbolic (Lacan, 1988). The subject is thus constantly split between a desire to speak from within and the wish to become integrated into a Symbolic Order that pre-exists it (Epstein, 2011). To overcome uncertainty, or Lack in Lacan’s terminology, the subject engages in fantasies and imaginations to ‘alleviate anxiety and fend off the threat of fragmentation’ and to conceal the ‘traumatic split or tear within the subject’s being’ (Ruti, 2008: 492; see also Layton, 2008). The aim of Lacan’s analysis is to unpack these fantasies, to show how they are in fact misguided and rely on an unstable ground – a belief in an ego that does not exists. Only by recognising this, Lacan says, can human potential be explored. These fantasies and imaginations are perhaps no more evident than in the so-called ‘posttruth politics’ in Europe and the West. Here the US president, Donald Trump, has become the leading champion of a politics that relies on assertions that ‘feel true’ but which have little, if any, basis in actual events. He is not alone, however, in claiming to stand up to the established elite and to speak for the ‘ordinary citizen’, the ‘little people’, through the use of ‘post-truth’ fantasies. Turkish politicians have claimed for instance that the perpetrators of the failed coup were acting on orders issued by the CIA. Swedish far-right spokespersons showed pictures of burning cars in the suburbs to create what Ahmed (2014) has referred to as ‘sticky associations’ between migrants and violence while neglecting to mention that the pictures were from India. The Brexit campaign warned of the hordes of immigrants that would result from Turkey’s imminent accession to the union – disregarding that Turkey is highly unlikely to become a member of the EU in the near future. Regardless of any actual foundation for such claims, they worked as intended. The more British government officials and academic experts tried to refute scare stories about Turkish migrants, the more they drew attention to the question of immigration, something which clearly favoured the Brexit campaign (The Economist, 2016; Eyal, 2016; Ullgren, 2016). The emotional appeal of such discourses and narratives cannot be underestimated, and the question is why these ‘post-truth’ fantasies seem to ‘grip their subjects’: why certain discourses and narratives appeal and resonate with their audiences (Solomon, 2015: 18). More importantly perhaps, is why are their attractions and reverberations ultimately garnered in the Fantasmatic object of the other – in this case the immigrant and/or the refugee? To understand how power works through anti-immigrant narratives, it is important to consider how they come to naturalise a postcolonial melancholia. The empire cannot be brought back. Enjoyment (what Lacan refers to as Jouissance) can never be fulfilled – it is ‘something lost, as a lost fullness, the part of ourselves that is sacrificed when we enter the symbolic system of language and social relations’ (Stavrakakis, 1999: 42). This unfulfillment of the colonial past ‘invokes desire by identifying something objective that prevents our being fulfilled’ (and experiencing Jouissance): ‘it constructs a scene in which the jouissance we are deprived of is concentrated in the Other who stole it from us’ (Žižek, 2008: 43). This is the immigrant other, the ‘African girl’, the ‘post-diaspora’ generation (to refer to second and subsequent generations of migrants) (Kinnvall and Nesbitt-Larking, 2011). As an external/internal enemy she is the cultural and religious ‘other’, who is not only blamed for the imagined ills of European society, but who is also a body that European society needs protection from. She becomes the source of anxiety and fear, but also of anger, revulsion and hate. The protective state could thus be seen as an attempt by the sovereign to heal the Lack – to correct the state we are in by suspending constitutional protections – but the protective state is also the Fantasmatic object itself, the immigrant, who covers over what Glynos refers to as ‘the true horror’, namely, the impossibility of a ‘complete’ or stable social identity (2001: 209–210). 238

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In Western Europe, this object has increasingly come to be occupied by the Muslim other, while in Eastern Europe it is predominantly linked to ethnic (national) minorities and refugees. These are narrated as not being ‘proper’ nationals, as ‘stealing jobs’, as ‘bogus’ economic migrants, ‘criminal foreigners’ and ‘welfare parasites’ (Kinnvall, 2015). Hence, a number of studies have found that populist campaigns tend to be most successful if they are able to relate immigration to crime and as posing a cultural rather than an economic threat (Mudde, 2007; Goodwin, 2011). Visions of a Muslim takeover have led movements on the right to increasingly stress Christian identity themes and a move towards pro-Jewish and proIsrael positions, framing their supporters as ‘the defenders of equality, liberty and tolerance against their main enemy, Islam, described as a religion of fanaticism and intolerance, incompatible with democratic values and Western culture’ (Mayer, 2013: 163). The populist use of ‘our people’, ‘our homeland’, ‘our traditions and values’, are all examples of ‘emotional governance’ in terms of their affective and emotional appeal. The ‘immigrant’, regardless of her actual birthplace, is the demonic thief of national enjoyment (Martins, 2016); the object-cause of desire, who prevents a return to the imagined safety of the imperial past – the blocking of enjoyment. Only thus can I be persuaded that what is responsible for the impossibility of realizing my (universalized) identity, what is limiting my identity, is not the inherent ambiguity and contingency of all identity … but the existence or the activity of a localisable group: the Jews, the immigrant, the neighboring nation, and so on. (Stavrakakis, 2007: 198) Non-whites, previously Europe’s colonial subjects and slaves, are now becoming its citizens or asking to be, creating through their visible presence, a threat to ‘traditional’ culture – a resentment and anger directed towards them. We live, as Said puts it bluntly, in an already Orientalised world. ‘On the one hand there are Westerners, and on the other there are ArabOrientals; the former are (in no particular order) rational, peaceful, liberal, logic, capable of holding real values, without natural suspicion; the latter are none of these things’ (Said, 1979: 49). This imagining of ‘the native’ as being in need of improvement, as living in a state of cultural immaturity is constantly revisited through anti-immigrant discourse – striking a cord of recognition. The narratives through which the ‘African girl’ is imagined are both racist and gendered, but they are also embodied, juxtaposing the free modern ‘natural body’ from that of the ‘enslaved other’. Whiteness, Seshadri-Crooks (2000) argues, promises wholeness, mastery, self-completion, or absolute humanity. It precedes seeing: the cultural order determines what we see. Here she claims that it is the anxiety that springs from a sudden encounter with the historicity of race, with evidence of its purely cultural, symbolic origins, that engenders the perception of racial features in the other. As gendered narratives, they uncover an autonomous sovereign male subject that, similar to the pound coin, assumes a position of neutrality, invisibility and universalism. This longing for fulfilment of a whole body resonates and grips the white majority populations. From a Lacanian perspective, these narratives become successful through their ability to create a fantasy space in response to a situation of failed identity by invoking a desire to restore the Symbolic Order – to fill the Lack – the disappointments, anger, frustration and anxiety experienced by majority populations in Europe and elsewhere.

Imagining the impossible: narratives of hope There were people in that crowd, and strolling along the walkway, from all of the different colors and nationalities of the earth. There were more races even than 239

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I recognized from the detention center. I stood with my back against the railing and my mouth open and watched them walking past, more and more of them. And then I realized it. I said to myself, Little Bee, there is no them. This endless procession of people, walking along beside this river, these people are you. (Extract from the novel Little Bee by Chris Cleave, 2008: 219) It is clear that Eurocentric narratives, both as academic discourses in IR theory and as dominant everyday narratives of Western societies, have affected, resonated and grasped the subjective imagination and ideologically exerted their hold on a large number of European citizens. Recently released YouGov findings (reported in Nardelli, 2016) on populist authoritarian attitudes – measured as anti-immigrant sentiments, strong foreign policy views and opposition to human rights, EU institutions and European immigration policies – provide some interesting information in this regard. The poll found that authoritarian populist attitudes were shared by 48 per cent of British adults, despite less than 20 per cent of the population identifying itself as right-wing. In France, a clear majority held authoritarian populist views – 63 per cent of those surveyed, while in Italy the figure was 47 per cent. In Germany, it was 18 per cent, a figure that according to the analysts is surprisingly high, given the country’s specific history. Like Germany, Denmark has also seen a shift in the tone of political debates and a quarter of Danes who identified themselves as centrists nevertheless held authoritarian populist beliefs. The highest levels of authoritarian populist views were recorded in Romania and Poland, where they were held by 82 per cent and 78 per cent of adults respectively, and figures in Hungary are estimated to be similar as support for Orbán and the pre-referendum debate have exposed. The extent to which opinions polls reflect a narrative and ideological hold in emotional terms can of course be debated, but the figures show a pattern that is difficult to ignore; that narratives of migration increasingly reflect more authoritarian, anti-immigrant views. As noted by a German official in relation to the increase in supporters for the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD): ‘What is dangerous is not always the words themselves, but their history and what is behind them’ (ibid.). Still, words describe the performative role of the Symbolic and the ways in which they are communicated allow for reverberation and imagination. To talk about migration as ‘waves’, ‘streams’ and ‘flows’ resonates with the (imagined) neutrality of the British pound but has dehumanising value for the ‘African girl’. Similarly, to speak of a ‘refugee crisis’ as something to be dealt with resonates with technological solutions (regulating the pound) rather than with the subjective experience of crisis for those who have fled. The question then is if there is any space for alternative narratives, for an imagination of possibility, of hope and of a Symbolic Order that can go beyond the illusion of coherent narratives, as stated in the introduction? How can we open up for the cracks in knowledge, for ruptures and incompleteness, to see the possibility in not knowing what the future holds? How can other narratives be created, narratives that do not have at their core the sovereign subject and to what extent can such narratives be ‘unfixed’, and not simply deconstructed? What would, in other words, an imagined narrative of possibility look like? Here, Lacan goes beyond much work in current IR to explore unfixity in terms of Lack – developing a theoretical model on the basis of what is lacking in human desire. In so doing Lacanian theory opens up a possibility in IR theory to reason around ontological insecurity as being a condition of both possibility and impossibility, of both opening up and closing down, of both monological closure (Bakhtin, 2001) and creativity (see also Solomon, 2015). It also makes it possible to account for what Hansen (2006) has referred 240

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to as the ‘silent security dilemma’, as it points to how unconscious desires become institutionalised in a Symbolic Order that privileges the retelling of events in certain structured ways. More than anything though it allows us to confront the Eurocentric myth of Westphilian IR by developing not only a critical account of this Eurocentrism, but more importantly by suggesting ways for the postcolonial subject, the ‘African girl’, to talk back – to redefine the symbolic representations in which she has been positioned. This can be related to Hegel’s understanding of a system of misrecognition interpreted through postcolonial psychoanalysis. Hegel’s master–slave dialectic is, as Markell (2003) notes, a way to open up the inner workings of colonialism. Hence it is important to keep in mind when discussing the psychoanalytic notion of identification that it must be placed squarely within a historical genealogy of colonial imperialism. ‘Identification,’ Diana Fuss suggests, is a kind of psychic geopolitics, ‘an imperial process, a form of violent appropriation in which the Other is deposed and assimilated into the lordly domain of Self’ (Fuss, 1994: 23, see also Kinnvall and Svensson, 2018). Breaking up this colonial imperialism must start from a bottom-up perspective allowing for subjectification and re-appropriation of alternative narratives that can resist and subvert hegemonic dominance. At heart is the challenge to sovereign power from those at the margins of knowledge production – the return of the political – in the words of Edkins (2003: 267): ‘The protests reclaim memory and rewrite it as a form of resistance’. Such resistance is both psychological and structural and is grounded in an emotional basis of defiance and anger that can reframe hegemonic boundaries. ‘There can be no radical change without performative contradiction’ (Butler and Spivak, 2010: 66). To speak with Spivak (1999) and other postcolonial writers (Hall, 1996; Gilroy, 2005), it requires for postcolonial subjectivities to talk back: for those at the margins of the narrative of authentic nations to challenge normalised discursive space and temporality. This narrative is not reducible to sovereign acts but works through complex modes of instrumental and emotional governmentality. Instead of seeing the colonial subject as fixed, Bhabha argues, colonial subjectivity must be seen as a hybrid character revealing the possibility of undermining colonial authority, because it ‘enables a form of subversion that turns the discursive dominance into grounds of intervention’ (Bhabha, 1984: 125). Bhabha’s colonial subjectivity shares with Spivak’s subaltern a space from which resistance and creativity can arise – a way to overcome the loss of hegemonic definitions, to repoliticise structures of domination. In the postcolonial setting, this is what Spivak (1990) describes as the ‘unlearning of our privileges as our loss’. This refers not only to understanding the historical context in which this privileging was formed, but also to work hard at gaining some knowledge of the others and attempt to speak to them in such ways that makes it possible for them to answer back. Spivak’s ethical goal is to make the subaltern heard (Spivak in Landry and MacLean, 1996: 292). It is about creating an infrastructure that makes hearing plausible, but it is also about the responsibilities of the elites. In seeking to learn to speak to (rather than listen to or speak for) the historically muted subject of the subaltern woman, the postcolonial intellectual must systematically ‘unlearn’ her female privilege (Spivak, 1990). Spivak’s feminism thus deconstructs the division between the coloniser and the colonised to emphasise how the migrant woman becomes invisible in the shuttling between multinational capital and culturalism. Taking the subaltern seriously is a fundamental challenge for a critical IR theory concerned with issues of representation, recognition and structural change. It requires an end to narrative binaries between the drowned and the saved, between victimhood and survivor, between the oppressed and the oppressor to allow for the subjectivity of the subaltern to emerge. This is the moral third that Jessica Benjamin (2016) talks about, and can be illustrated 241

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through a group of refugees’ critique of Swedish media’s reporting on migration (Radio Sweden, 2016). I who have been forced to flee have a refugee experience – I am not my exile. I who have a refugee story also have experiences, competences, perspectives and opinions. Just like everyone else. I who end up in the migration statistics: I am not a number – I am a human being with a past, a present and a future. I who am regarded as a drain on local resources, I am not a free loader – I add and contribute to society. I who am perceived as a threat or a stranger – do not talk about me or to me. Talk with me. What we see in many places, not only in Europe, is how new social movements and new subjectivities have emerged, thinking and moving their way through the gaps in hegemony to fight for something new. This means recognising the importance of engaging acts that goes beyond the horizons of what appears to be possible and redefines the very contours of what is possible (Butler et al., 2000). This is also a plausible way out for the subject in terms of being caught between the Real and the Symbolic in Lacan’s terms, thus containing a prospect for turning ontological insecurity and anxiety into sources of creativity. Here Lacan’s Lack resonates with Wibben’s argument that a focus on narratology (attending to the text, story and content of the narrative) can assist in challenging the limits of existing security narratives as it is ‘based on an acceptance of vulnerability and uncertainty where ambiguity and strangeness are embraced’ (Wibben, 2011: 113). As Solomon (2015) has noted, Lacan’s conception of Lack can be viewed as being the other side of ontological insecurity. ‘As subjects are continually faced with anxieties stemming from ontological lack, desire is continually sparked to seek out new “foundations” upon which the subject can feel secure’. Hence to talk with Solomon, the acceptance of being deprived of a firm foundation – the lack of an essentialist encompassing identity – can open up for subjects to creatively engage with their desire to live in new ways – to enjoyment and pleasure as much as to frustration and disappointment – rather than unreflectively identify with a dominant hegemonic narrative. This is what Lacan referred to when encouraging his patients to ‘crossing the fantasy’ or ‘crossing the plane of identification’ (Lacan, 1981: 273). As a process, it can instigate both narrative and structural change as only by realising how the current Symbolic Order interacts with unconscious desires (the Real) to pre-position postcolonial others can these be re-narrated and particular structural and institutional changes implemented. The authorising of the nation-state as Subject in much IR literature, determined by particular inscriptions and powers, thus needs to be addressed and the imaginations it rests upon must be recognised in their incompleteness. By taking seriously Spivak’s insistence on ‘unlearning our privilege as our loss’ and Lacan’s recognition of the Real, we can pry open this tortured body and question the practices through which this body is constantly being reproduced – often in Eurocentric, gendered, violent and dogmatic terms. Focusing on the incompleteness and inability to colonise the unconscious and the subaltern there is also space for resistance and change – for narratives of change and hope. An approach towards misrecognition that takes seriously an anti-foundational notion of self is thus able to rethink ambiguity and strangeness as something existing in everyday structures, symbols and discourses which shapes the subject in ways that remain unfinished, thus implying that all imaginary subjectivities have in common this incompleteness. The ‘African girl’ does not belong to some distant otherhood, to them, but is an indefinite part of an ambiguous and ruptured selfhood – of us. A focus on Lacan’s conceptions of Lack and the Real is then also a challenge to a Symbolic Order in which Master Signifiers become re-established, materialised, technologised and 242

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depoliticised through powerful imaginations of nationhood, territory, material capabilities and patriarchy, but also of bodies. It is the realisation that the ‘African girl’ is not her narration, not the Fantasmatic object of nationalist imaginations; she is not any one thing. Here Lacan shares with relational psychologists the doubt that any subject can be truly individual. Rather the subject is positioned in different ways in relation to modes of knowledge and being and the Lacanian distinction between the Imaginary, Symbolic and Real must be seen as different registers of experience relating in different ways to sociopolitical phenomena and to the prospects for radical change (Frosh, 2014). Fantasies of perfect integrity and wholeness are abandoned in favour of the cracks of non-knowledge, of Lack. Through understanding the impossibility of recognising something that cannot be recognised, Lack creates the desire for change. Hence, a perspective that takes misrecognition not as an end result or as attempts to reverse the exceptional into the normal, but rather as a way to open up space for alternative narratives, voices and equal means of distribution has the potential to rethink the political subject in terms of both structural and emotional possibilities.

Note 1 The Real can be seen as opposite to reality which is always fictional. The Real refers to meaning construction as ‘the truth of our desire’ and is always partial or entirely buried in our unconscious. In contrast to the Symbolic and the Imaginary, which are characterised by their social dimension (a shared experience), truth is singular to each individual. This does not imply any kind of universal truth, however, but refers to the direct experience that escapes any grasp of representation, as seen in the common inability to decide what it is we really want or desire (Lacan, 1988: 51–55; Leupin 2004: 47–49).

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17 ETHICS, CRITIQUE AND SPACE IN INTERNATIONAL POLITICS Dan Bulley

Where once conventional wisdom excluded questions of ethics from international affairs, today international actors appear to revel in making ethical claims. Core values, ethical imperatives and moral responsibilities are frequently invoked to justify the practices and policies by which people’s behaviour is circumscribed and enabled. Such actors include prominent politicians (McCain, 2017), international non-governmental organisations (MSF, 2016), cities (Barrett, 2015), capitalist philanthropists (Gates and Gates, 2014) and multinational corporations (Toshiba, 2016). Whether we like it or not, the resort to ethical reasoning is an increasing part of how we are governed. As Didier Fassin notes at the outset of his discussion of Humanitarian Reason: Moral sentiments have become an essential force in contemporary politics: they nourish its discourses and legitimize its practices, particularly where these discourses and practices are focused on the disadvantaged and the dominated, whether at home (the poor, the immigrants, the homeless) or farther away (the victims of famine, epidemics, or war) … I will use the term ‘humanitarian government’ to designate the deployment of moral sentiments in contemporary politics … in order to manage, regulate and support the existence of human beings. (2012: 1) The appeal of ethics for such actors, and the danger for many critical theorists, is that their invocation appears to place the behaviour authorised above the grubby world of politics with its negotiation, compromise and power relations. After all, ‘Humanitarian reason is morally untouchable’ (Fassin, 2012: 244). To assert ethical justification is to invoke what is right and wrong, rather than merely what is possible or achievable, placing an act, judgement or proscription on a sure foundation, beyond argument and the contestation of politics (Fagan, 2013: 2). Ethics can be a claim to purity, used to de-politicise contestable conduct. If critique is at least partly about ‘making facile gestures difficult’ (Foucault, 1988: 155), a crucial intervention by critical IR scholars has been to disturb this false dichotomy between ethics and politics, both in theoretical terms (Fagan, 2013; Odysseos, 2007) and in specific ethico-political practices such as war (Dillon and Reid, 2009; Zehfuss, 2018), security (Burgess, 2011), distributive justice (Brassett, 2010; Robinson, 2013), international aid (Edkins, 2000), humanitarianism and human rights (Edkins, 2003; Fassin, 2012), bordering (Vaughan-Williams, 2015; Walters, 246

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2011), hospitality (Bulley, 2017), diplomacy and foreign policy (Bulley, 2009; Campbell, 1998). Ethics, critical theorists have shown, is inseparable from politics because both its grounding and the practices it authorises are always messy, contestable, insecure and laden with power relations. Ethics is always ethico-political. However, none of these critiques dispute the fact that ethics are central to the ways in which we make sense of the world. Our ideas of right and wrong, the values we hold dear, the responsibilities we owe to ourselves and others, the duties and obligations that bind us, and the way these ties can be effaced and ignored are crucial ways in which we negotiate our everyday lives. They form markers that help orient us, directing behaviour. Whether consciously or not, these markers are part of how we produce the world and act in it. They coalesce into an often contradictory, non-unitary and unreflective way of being in relation to ourselves and others – what could be called an ethos (Derrida, 2001: 16–17). But to what extent do we choose such values, obligations and responsibilities for ourselves? How much of our ethos, even our very selves, is assembled from a set of social norms we accept unthinkingly? To what extent do these unchosen values manage our behaviour, kerbing our ethical and political imagination? How often do we critically reflect upon and evaluate the responsibilities we are assigned or assume? And why might it be important to do so? These are the questions posed by the critical approach to international ethics I outline in this chapter, with special attention paid to the role of space in constituting ethical practices. By ‘critical’ here I understand a particular relation to, or a particular way of engaging with, our present mode of understanding and acting in the world. Wendy Brown (2005: 7) has argued that this critical engagement can be viewed as inciting a ‘rupture’, both in our ‘political imaginary’ and in ‘collective self-understanding dependent upon certain practices’ – in other words, an ethico-political opening. Such a rupture, however, does not seek to simply refuse those practices and the ethos they constitute in favour of a clearly framed alternative. Rather it seeks to understand them thoroughly, to reflect on them and imagine them ‘otherwise’, to both understand them and transform them (Foucault, 1984: 41). It does so by uncovering responsibilities that have been effaced, obligations ignored and pre-existing relations covered over with unreflective acceptance of settled norms and ways of being. And it seeks out specific places where these norms are already being unsettled and resisted through alternative practices of ethics. Critique is thus an ‘act of reclamation, critique takes over the object for a different project than that to which it is currently tethered’ (Brown, 2005: 16). What that ‘different project’ is, however, can never be detailed outside of a specific ethico-political context; neither can it ever be assured, stable, or even necessarily ‘good’. My argument in this chapter is that one of the elements we need to understand how we constitute these settled norms and practices of international ethics – our everyday practices, responsibilities and obligations in relation to ourselves and others – is through our production and use of space. The first section therefore draws out the ways IR, as a discipline, sometimes works to limit our ethico-political imagination through a particular conception of both ethics and space. The second section proposes an alternative, relational reading of both ethics and space which is better attuned to the possibilities of critical rupture. Here, I suggest that critical IR can find inspiration in other disciplines, where a more fluid notion of space opens up our understanding of everyday ethical relations. The third section illustrates how such a critical understanding can help us understand and potentially transform the everyday ethics of other spaces, taking as its example the international relationality of cities.

Limiting grounds: ethics and space Space may not seem immediately important to the way we conceive of ethics. But if we are concerned with how we organise our conceptions and practices of right and wrong, 247

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responsibility, care, accountability and obligation, it quickly becomes clear that space plays a central role. After all, the central issue that concerned international ethics for many years has been how far our responsibilities extend: what duties do we owe to those close to us and those far distant? Who is this ‘we’, this ‘us’, and how is it circumscribed spatially? How are obligations to be enforced across spatial and cultural boundaries? And what about when the ‘other’ is already present within, or is seeking entry? Do ‘they’ become one of ‘us’? Would this even be desirable and, if so, how is their ‘assimilation’ or mere presence within to be policed? These questions dominated what became a stale dispute between cosmopolitans and communitarians over the extent to which states and their boundaries contained identities and duties, or constrained them unnaturally (see Brown, 1992). This debate has since been supplemented by pragmatist (Brassett, 2010; Cochran, 1999), feminist (Hutchings, 2007; Robinson, 1999) and poststructuralist (Baker, 2011; Campbell, 1998; Edkins, 2000; Zehfuss, 2005) approaches which ask different questions and seek to move beyond a purely statist framing. Nonetheless, part of the problem for international ethics has been the extent to which it responds to, or operates on the margins of, the discipline of IR and its limiting assumptions regarding ethics and space. These assumptions are not necessarily linked, but together they can operate to restrict our ethico-political imagination. Outside critical feminist and poststructuralist analyses, ethics in IR is regularly limited to dealing with ‘good and bad, right and wrong’, with making judgements surrounding what we ‘ought to do’ (Singer, 1991: v). Thus, as one prominent textbook on international ethics puts it, ethics is ‘the realm in which we evaluate and judge human action, where we begin to think about what is wrong (and what is right) with the world, and how things might be improved’ (Bell, 2010b: 2). Its aim thus becomes to produce a theory, ideally universally applicable, which best guides our judgements and actions. While the international is often considered too complex and contingent (indeed too political) for firm ethical principles to apply (Thomas, 2001), what emerges is a focus on norms which uneasily combine shared existing practice (what is normal) and prescriptive judgements (what ought to be normal).1 International ethics can easily become a discussion of norms, how they are formed, spread and internalised, and how they can be improved. While these issues are important, there is more to ethics. As feminist and poststructuralist approaches have argued for some time, and I shall explore in the next section, ethics can be conceived relationally as well as normatively. The discipline’s spatial assumptions have separately contributed to a restricted conception of international ethics. In IR, space is too often treated as an unproblematic backdrop to the events of international affairs, with the territorially defined, fixed unit of the sovereign state neatly ‘containing’ statically defined societies (Agnew, 1994). Poststructuralists focused their critical gaze on these limitations in the 1990s (Walker, 1993), with Michael Shapiro (1994) arguing that IR’s political discourses of space, defined by the sovereign state, had long been outdated. While some suggested that this was due to the rise of globalisation and the changes that were sweeping the world after the Cold War (e.g. Agnew, 1994), for Shapiro it was actually the stability of the Cold War which discouraged a focus on the existing failures and political effects of IR’s spatial presuppositions: State-centric political discourses approached adequacy only in their capacity to legitimate the authority of the state system. They helped contain ethical and political conversations within the problematics that served the centralizing authorities of states and the state system. Thus, they were complicit in reproducing modernity’s dominant, territorial imaginary. (Shapiro, 1994: 479–480) 248

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There were many moves made beyond this state-centric imaginary, with particularly successful examples including a feminist focus on grounded local initiatives for tackling poverty via an ethics of care (Robinson, 1999: 146–163) and poststructural explorations of the problematic ethico-political constructions of international community in humanitarian responses to famine (Edkins, 2000: 103–127). More common, however, were various incarnations of cosmopolitanism which made few attempts to formulate an alternative conception of political space (Boucher, 2009; Caney, 2005; Linklater, 1998).2 Rigorous cosmopolitanism therefore struggled to communicate with people’s everyday lives because the ‘cosmos’ arguably fails to resonate as a meaningful political space; it can easily feel too abstract and theoretical. Thus, when international ethics moved from the abstract to the concrete, it often couldn’t help ‘reinstalling the nation-state model of space’ (Shapiro, 1994: 480). Building on these ethical and spatial grounds then, international ethics – whether defined as normative IR, global ethics or International Political Theory (see Brown, 2002) – frequently became a discussion about what states ought to do in relation to each other, and in relation to their own and distant populations and societies. To a great extent and ‘despite significant challenges, the state-oriented map continues to supply the moral geography that dominates what is ethically relevant’ (Shapiro, 1994: 495). The focus of work in this areas thus primarily concerns the rights and wrongs of war and peace, humanitarian intervention, humanitarian relief and development aid, distributive justice and human rights.3 Though these are all crucial issues, they place severe limitations on the role and extent of ethics, directing our attention to the exceptional and juridical, rather than the way ethics is already enfolded in everyday international life. They also serve to shore up the state’s ‘natural’ claim to centrality, whilst enabling states to claim ethical authority for foreign policy practices. In order to think critically, to rupture, reclaim and transform the way we engage with the present and imagine ethics differently, we must therefore seek alternatives to these grounds of discussion, taking our lead from disciplines which start from a different framing of ethics and space.

Towards a critical ethics of other spaces A relational understanding of ethics sometimes begins by noting that, while morality is a crucial part of how we make sense of people’s behaviour, we rarely base these understandings in a coherent ethical theory of right and wrong. In fact, ‘in everyday life, ethical theories are rarely used to back-up ethical-type claims in any consistent way’ (Fagan, 2013: 2). For the most part, we muddle through making ethical claims based in different and often clashing principles. To see ethics as abstract and codified models is to mistake the thing itself for our theorisations of it: ‘theories of morality should not be confused with morality, the human social phenomenon those theories are about’ (Urban Walker, 2007: 15). Relational ethics is therefore about precisely that social experience, the everyday human phenomenon of how we actually relate to others, form judgements, use those judgements to restrict and enable behaviour, to exclude others from consideration or fight for their inclusion. Relational ethics therefore concentrates on the practical and grounded; in Margaret Urban Walker’s terms, it conceives ethics not as theories but as ‘practices of responsibility in which [people] assign, accept, or deflect responsibilities for different things’ (2007: 10). However, this focus on everyday practices accepting or rejecting responsibilities reflects a deeper ontological understanding of the ethical subject’s relational formation. Instead of viewing the subject of ethics as standing outside of social and political relations, able to determine abstract principles of right and wrong and apply them to a particular situation once they enter societal relations with others, feminist and poststructuralist accounts see the ethical 249

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subject as originally constituted by those relations. Existence is not prior to co-existence – it is ‘heteronomous and coexistential from the start’ (Odysseos, 2007: xxiii). Each of us, individually and collectively, only knows what we are, who we are, even that we are, because a place has been carved out to understand ourselves as such, in opposition and similarity to others. This carving-out is evidence of our prior relational coexistence, not our original independent and autonomous existence. Our subjectivity – whether as an individual, a community, a state, or something else – is not a given, but a product of interactions with other people and communities, institutions (material and social) and the socio-cultural norms they co-produce. As Judith Butler (2005: 8) points out, when a subject tries to give an account of its own being, it becomes apparent that the ‘I’ has no story that is not also an account of their relations with others and the norms they have co-produced. The existence of the subject that assigns, accepts or deflects responsibility is not formed in isolation then; neither are its responsibilities freely chosen in an ideal realm. They are politically cut from an infinite range of relational responsibilities. Each of us is ‘from the start, interrupted by alterity [which] may render us incapable of offering narrative closure for our lives … we are constituted in relationality: implicated, beholden, derived, sustained by a social world that is beyond us and before us’ (Butler, 2005: 64). This insight into the original relationality of selves and others, of identities and differences, has not, for the most part, been used to generate clear normative visions of which responsibilities ought to be assigned or accepted. Whilst some poststructuralists and feminists have sought to make relationality an ethical grounding for political interventions (for excellent critical summaries, see Fagan, 2013: 15–43; Hutchings, 2000), this frequently leads to damaging incoherence. Instead, for the most part, relational ethics has preferred to explore the particular connections which helped form subjects, and the responsibilities those connections incur, as the grounds of reflection rather than judgement (Campbell and Shapiro, 1999: x). After all, once we shift to this relational structure of the subject’s constitution, the focus of ethical inquiry has altered: if we do not begin with the idea of a separate, sovereign individual, who has to surrender some of that sovereignty to take part in social practices, but instead look at subjects as produced always already in and through relations with other subjects, the questions change. It is no longer surprising that other people feel compelled to respond to those in distress, since their own existence as subjects depends on the dignity of all and the continuance of the social order. What becomes surprising and in need of explanation is why sometimes people see others’ suffering as none of their business. (Edkins, 2003: 256) Instead of asking what one ought to do and why, the focus of relational ethics has become one of asking how our conceptions of obligation have become restricted and curtailed, which historical ties of implication and co-constitution have been covered-over such that certain forms of suffering and exclusion are seen as ‘none of our business’? After all, subjects are constituted through relation to others that may be proximate or far distant, both in space and time. The way of life, ethos and privileges of modern Western communities, states and individuals are a product of past and present colonial relations with distant others, whether they be relations of exploitation and displacement or pity and compassion – and vice versa. Their interactions may involve physical contact or seem entirely remote. But together they form a complex web of historical and current inter-relation which is forever shifting and never static, involving practices of inclusion and exclusion, care and control, relations of obligation and violence, hierarchy and dependence. And the ethical subject is a product of this interaction. 250

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Such an ethics of relation then is not abstract or utopian, but thoroughly engaged with everyday existence – it explores the way we give meaning to our lives, how that meaning is socially produced, maintained and more or less fixed and delimited. This is why Urban Walker calls for ‘geographies of responsibility’, which trace and ‘map’ the assumptions about how responsibilities are distributed, assigned, negotiated and deflected in a particular way of life (2007: 105). But crucially, as a critical ethico-political approach it asks how those assumptions map responsibilities in a particular way: which values and principles they are based in, how they were fixed, who is left out and excluded, which potential responsibilities are evaded and what political choices contributed to their deflection? The purpose of this exploration is that of imagining those values and responsibilities differently, perhaps more broadly, rupturing our current understandings of a subject’s constitution and its implication in the lives of others, past and present. Do we want to be governed by these values, rather than others? Are these particular exclusions ones we want to endorse or interrogate and move beyond? But critique can never be just about imagining things otherwise; in seeking transformation it excavates those possibilities, aiming to enact and instantiate different forms of relation. The difficulty is that relationality per se cannot supply a ground from which to judge those different forms of relation as ‘better’, whether more progressive, emancipatory or ethical; nor does it supply a ‘horizon to which we might aim’ (Fagan, 2013: 148). It cannot tell us which types of relationality to cultivate, which forms of responsibility to pursue. We cannot know if our reimagining of relationality will have ‘better’ outcomes, nor do relational ethics give us a basis from which to judge what this ‘better’ might be. Instead, they can only supply a stimulus to further ethicopolitical critique. Privileging a particular mode of responsibility (such as care, friendship, hospitality and so on) would be to offer a ground or horizon for judgement and signal a movement towards a theory of ethics from which we could act securely. As Fagan notes, this need not prevent us from affirmatively engaging in ethico-political claims and interventions; ‘it is in fact the condition of any ethico-political engagement’ (Fagan, 2013: 149). And this is because it is only in the absence of secure grounds that we take responsibility for our interventions and their consequences, rather than casting that responsibility onto our theory. When we act on the basis of a particular ‘good’, we merely enact a programme rather than making ourselves accountable for the choices made under conditions of not knowing which of several options is ‘better’. Critique is also about reclaiming responsibility for the values and principles we live by, our choices, behaviour and decisions. A critical relational ethics, then, becomes the study of responsiveness and the transformative mapping and reclamation of obligations; international ethics ensures that we keep our attention on a much broader and more complex entanglement of those relations. In particular, it focuses on the way relationality and responsibility transcends various borders, seeing borders as one highly effective way in which responsibility is mapped, restricted and deflected. When we ask how another’s suffering came to be seen as not our business, a central reason is often the naturalisation of borders which we may assume neatly contain solidarity, care and obligation. Such a mapping is something that IR as a discipline has contributed to, as noted above, through the dominant spatial imaginary that privileges state sovereignty. But once we denaturalise state boundaries, we are able to see a much broader role for space in the way we map responsibilities, give our lives meaning and seek to govern our relations with others. Whether we see that space as our ‘home’, however conceived, our community, village, city, nation, region, continent or something even broader, it is produced through relations between people and the material infrastructure which connects and separates them. Any such meaningful space is generated by drawing and managing lines of inclusion and exclusion, belonging and non-belonging, on the basis of values, shared understandings, social norms and culture. These lines, both visible and invisible, help define our 251

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relations to ourselves (whoever is seen as ‘belonging’, to various degrees, in this space) and to others (whoever is seen as not belonging, whether their difference is understood as benign, dangerous or threatening) whether they be inside, outside or both. The particular constellation of these dispositions as an ethos is always, in part, spatially defined. The ethics and politics of these spaces are found in the way these changeable degrees of belonging are generated, policed and controlled, sometimes peacefully but often violently; how they form and shift, making way for different modes of relation. The fact that such spaces are unstable constructs rather than natural fixities, actively constructed and reconstructed rather than springing fully formed from the earth, makes them no less meaningful to us in our everyday lives. IR’s frequent assumption of a static spatial map makes it difficult to see this richer conception of space. However, relational ethics is also sometimes guilty of neglecting space. Urban Walker’s call for geographies and mappings of responsibility is profoundly interpersonal, a view of morality as ‘what goes on between or among people’ (2007: 10). It largely ignores the non-human materiality of space – the way it is also made up of material objects and ‘things’ with which, and through which, people interact and relate. But it is often material things that bring people together and separate them, while our responsibility for the non-human (resources, animals, vegetation, the climate, the planet) is potentially erased by a purely inter-human reading. For an alternative understanding we can look to political geography and sociology, where space is defined in much more fluid and grounded terms. Doreen Massey long argued for an approach to space which emerges so clearly from how it is lived and experienced that it has the advantage and disadvantage of ‘appearing obvious’. She filters her conception down to three propositions (2005: 9–12). First, space is the ‘product of interrelations’; it is ‘constituted through interactions, from the immensity of the global to the intimately tiny’. In my terms, ethics and space are both the product of existence as necessarily social, as co-existence. Because both are relationally defined, space is unavoidably ethical and ethics is inescapably spatial. Thus, second, space can be understood as the ‘sphere of the possibility of the existence of multiplicity in the sense of contemporaneous plurality’, where distinct trajectories cohabit, pass and connect; ‘a sphere therefore of coexisting heterogeneity’. The state-centric map cannot deal with cohabitation of differences as it must assume a firm separation between regulated sameness inside state boundaries and unordered difference outside (Walker, 1993). But under Massey’s conception, a multiplicity of difference and space are co-constitutive – pure homogeneity, a totalising one-ness, would mean an absence of space. Third, because space is relational, and relations are carried out as material practices, it is always literally under construction, in process, being made. Space is never static or fixed. By drawing our attention to material practices this conception reveals how space is produced through the infrastructure and technology that enables and prevents certain trajectories, multiplicities and relationalities. Such a conception of space can help us to think beyond state sovereignty, exploring a relational ethics that addresses the ‘changing identity spaces that constitute the contemporary, unstable global map’ (Shapiro, 1994: 488). In this contemporary global map, such ethical spaces can be almost anything – from homes and hotels, to churches and mosques, communities of proximity or protest, nations and homelands – from the local to the supra-national. ‘The space of the state is only one of many. Other histories are enacted in spaces that are qualitatively different, and cannot be assimilated to the space of the state’ (Magnusson, 2011: 4). Such spaces exist at any level which is produced as meaningful to people, imbued with values, in their lived, relational existence. This conception of space fits well with a critical approach to which aims to become more concrete rather than abstract, underlining the definition of critique used earlier: an immanent exploration of our present practices and self-understanding in order to imagine 252

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them otherwise, uncovering, reclaiming and instantiating wider responsibilities and obligations that have been redacted through an unreflective acceptance of lived experience.

A critical international ethics of global cities Critical IR is increasingly focusing on the ethics and power relations of alternative spaces, particularly those arenas that the discipline regularly takes for granted, assumes as unproblematic, or ignores as too tricky. For example, in a recent book which demonstrates the biopolitical security logics by which ‘EUrope’ has extended its border spaces beyond their territorial limits, encroaching on and containing regions of apparently sovereign states, Nick Vaughan-Williams explores a potentially ‘affirmative’ biopolitics of borders (2015: 121–153). While ethics are not his focus, what emerges is a vision of borders as ethico-political spaces, not as lines that purely divide and protect the self from threatening others but as negotiated spaces of relation. Instead of militarised ‘violent forms of self-defence borders are transformed into a conduit for negotiating the exposure to communitas on a global scale’ (Vaughan-Williams, 2015: 139). Also responding to recent European crises in migration and displacement, Kim Rygiel (2011, 2012) critically analyses refugee and migrant camps as social and political spaces produced through movement, rather than only dehumanising zones of violent containment. Concentrating on the resistive solidarities of migrants and their supporters, Rygiel notes the possibility for transgressive social connection within camps and between them, ‘as part of an emerging network of connected spaces of exclusion’ (2011: 5), allowing a grounded reimagining of political community. Lisa Smirl (2015) widened her scope beyond camps and critiques the spaces of aid – from humanitarian compounds, hotels and the use SUVs in the global South, to temporary shelters and the post-disaster reconstruction of communities in the north – that separate and segregate people via colonial, race, gender and class logics. In this section, however, I want to focus on another post-sovereign space that does not receive sufficient attention in IR – that of the city. If a critical relational ethics is concerned to address the everyday way in which people negotiate their sociality, responsiveness and relations with difference, few spaces appear more relevant than the city. According to the UN, by 2014 the majority of the world’s population (54 per cent) lived in cities, rising from 30 per cent in 1950 and projected to reach 66 per cent by 2050 (United Nations, 2014: 1).4 Crucially, much of this urban population growth will not emerge from the state within which these cities are embedded – a new Londoner, Nairobian or Mumbaikar need not be British, Kenyan or Indian. Cities in the global North in particular, especially in Europe, will require significant numbers of foreign-born residents to even maintain parity with current population levels. Cities are also conduits for all sorts of other global flows beyond the human, from capital to ideas, information, goods, services, commodities and finance. However large and fast-growing, city spaces are necessarily international in their production, impact and implications. It seems inevitable that ‘the problems and possibilities which cities embody and express are among the most important issues facing the planet’ (Massey, Allen and Pile, 1999: 1). Most odd, then, that IR and political science has for the most part ignored cities and continues to do so, something that Magnusson (2011: 16–17) puts down to their obsession with the simplicity of state sovereignty over the complexity of the city. What is particularly relevant to a critical and relational international ethics, however, is to explore the specifically urban ways of being: the responsiveness they enable, promote, constrain and the obligations and responsibilities they give rise to or efface. In this sense, it is very difficult to make generalisations; while it is common to talk about the city or the urban, in reality there are many different ways of being urban. There is not even one New York or Shanghai – cities are not one space but a mixture of spatialities and transnational connections 253

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(Amin and Thrift, 2002: 3). ‘A place of many places, the city folds over on itself in so many layers and relationships that it is incomprehensible’ (Young, 1990: 240). However, there is something about the vast agglomeration of people and things that forms the city and that the city itself makes possible which allows us a minimal comprehension. At the very least, cities are marked by the sheer scale of their materiality, the intensity of their multiplicitous trajectories and the coexisting heterogeneity which produces a space (Massey, 2005: 155). I will concentrate in this section on two types of urban relationality: the way city-dwellers deal with proximate difference and the way the city deals with its outside, its relations with the geographically distant. While I recognise the artificiality of this distinction,5 it is a way to impose a heuristic order on that which is ultimately incomprehensible.

Proximate relations of indifference Whereas in IR difference is often conceived as a threatening otherness because states are assumed to contain more or less homogeneous societies, a concentration on cities highlights the everydayness of co-existing differences. Their scale and intensity mean that people from different parts of the globe are crammed together in their modes of dwelling, as living, labour and leisure spaces become increasingly restricted with urban growth. But these different trajectories also flow past each other continuously, whether people are using public transport, shopping, commuting, walking the streets or the parks, museums and art galleries. This teeming proliferation of strangers makes identification on the basis of belonging, citizenship or non-citizenship, legal or illegal presence, very difficult (Amin, 2012). The relations made possible by this urban mass of flows can be either celebrated or decried. For example, there is an easy tendency to laud the cosmopolitan urban mixity, the city’s openness to strangers and the opportunities for unexpected encounter, meaningful contact and cultural hybridisation it affords, an account which cities themselves often endorse (see examples in Bulley, 2017: 65–68). As I have argued elsewhere, such a celebration is ultimately unconvincing as it fails to account for the extent to which movement and cultural intermingling are regulated in a variety of ways, from the targeting of specific types of difference to the spatial planning of transport, culture and commerce (Bulley, 2017: 70–78). The freedom of the city is riven with power inequalities as well as ‘subtle, and not-so-subtle acts of brutality’ (Amin and Thrift, 2002: 105). In contrast, much sociological literature theorises the modern city’s flows of difference as atomising and isolating, breaking social ties and producing alienated individuals (see examples in Young, 1990: 236–237). If everyone is a stranger and no one feels at home, meaningful urban community is impossible. In contrast to these bifurcating approaches, sociologists (Tonkiss, 2003), political geographers (Amin, 2012) and political theorists (Young, 1990) have all argued that a different kind of relationality and mapping of responsibilities characterises cities, especially those of the postindustrial global North which are their focus. Rather than revelling in difference or bemoaning it, the vast majority of city dwellers see it as entirely unremarkable. It may not be an opportunity for exciting and unexpected contact, but rather for anonymity and privacy – faced with the overwhelming co-existence of diverse people, technology and things, urbanites do not recognise difference but negotiate it by looking past it. This is not a strong ethics of responsibility for difference but nor is it an attempt to assimilate that difference into an integrative one-ness. Rather, it is best conceived as a minimal ethical relation of indifference to difference (Tonkiss, 2003), a ‘politics of living together without strong expectations of mutual empathy’ (Amin, 2012: 75). People interact continuously both with each other and with the material infrastructure and 254

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urban institutions, but these interactions do not produce a strong sense of commonness or unity (Young, 1990: 237). Rather than the ‘face-to-face’ relations of community, the urban ethos appears one of a ‘side-by-side’ relationality, where individuals and groups ‘overlap and intermingle without becoming homogeneous’ (Young, 1990: 238–239). Urban relationality then is a being-with rather than a being-one. Such an ethical geography is nothing if not ambivalent. The anonymity of indifference offers some protections and allows undeniable freedoms – most particularly that of privacy (Tonkiss, 2003: 300) – but also the possibility of being yourself, re-imagining your ties and obligations, remaking yourself as you see fit. The city’s many blind-spots offer the freedom to disappear or remain invisible if your immigration status is irregular or you are escaping an oppressive home life. However, indifference allows this because no one cares, in both senses: no one is interested and the lack of strong ties means bonds of obligation and responsibility are often absent. It is a mapping where responsibilities can remain unassigned, unaccepted through a generalised deflection. You may be able to disappear, but you can also be disappeared into exploitative labour, prostitution, slums or the ‘drop houses’ of human traffickers (Isin and Rygiel, 2007). The rights and freedoms of urban indifference are therefore unequally distributed and reinforce existing divisions of gender, sexuality, race, class and immigration status. This indifference does not rule out the possibility of stronger and often unexpected ethical ties and connections emerging between urban subjects, though they may be fleeting and may not build into anything larger (see Bulley, 2017; Wills, 2012). But neither are such bonds encouraged or programmed by the indifference of the urban space. And this mapping does not rule out indifference turning into violent exclusion, as is also common in cities through coercive gentrification as well as homophobic, misogynist and racist hostility. The most spectacular and tragic results of such indifference were evident in June 2017 when Grenfell Tower, a social housing high-rise in the heart of Kensington and Chelsea, one of London’s richest, most multicultural and unequal local authorities, caught fire. Amidst a history of local authority deregulation, privatisation of services and austerity-led cutbacks, a range of international firms and building materials contributed to a substandard refurbishment of the tower (Rovnick, 2017). This created a fire trap that ultimately led to approximately 80 people, mainly migrants, refugees and people with minimal income, burning in front of the world’s media. Ambivalence is not a trait that is highly prized in ethics, especially if we understand ethics in the traditional sense of rights, wrongs and oughts. However, to a critical relational ethics which concentrates on exploring and transforming how we do live in relation to ourselves and others rather than positing an ideal of how we ought to, urban ambivalence offers opportunities (though not prescriptions) for reflection and ethico-political intervention. Through its insecure rights, freedoms and elective ties, the city offers the potential for greater responsiveness. But it also opens up specific interventions which address the devastating costs of being governed through indifference, cutting social ties, abandoning care and deflecting responsibility. Taking such an ethics seriously means freeing ourselves for such evaluation from the simplistic and conservative discussions of sovereign-statist abstract judgement which constitute much non-critical international ethics. In his plea that political scientists should ‘see’ more like a city than like a state, Warren Magnusson argues that: To see like a city is to accept a certain disorderliness, unpredictability, and multiplicity as inevitable, and to pose the problem of politics in relation to that complexity, rather than in relation to the simplicity that sovereignty seeks. To put it bluntly: to see like a city is to grow up politically. (2011: 120) 255

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Perhaps we could say the same thing about urban indifference and ambivalence: though uncertain, tentative and potentially devastating, starting from its unpredictable messiness is perhaps what IR needs in order to grow up ethico-politically. If IR cannot do this, perhaps it is time to consider abandoning IR.

Distant relations of responsibility A concentration on the proximate ethical relations of the city has the danger of solely turning inside and treating the city as unrelated to the wider world, producing an internally focused vision. It is significant that sociologists, geographers and political theorists cited above not only ignore cities of the global South, but also the wider international repercussions of urban indifference – cities are where the flows of the world meet, but those flows do not appear to extend beyond these spaces. Massey points out that a relational view of space must also account for the connections that run outward, in the form of trade, migration, investments, cultural ties and power relations that link the fate of other spaces to that of the city (Massey, 2006: 64). Most of the world’s major global cities, for instance, base their prosperity on a history of colonial exploitation and slavery that cannot be ignored by critical inquiry. These ties generate wider ‘geographies of responsibility’ for Massey (2004) which can be effaced by taking a solely internal view of spaces and exploring only how international flows affects the city itself. Cities are dependent upon wider flows in a variety of ways which may generate obligations or duties that are often denied or ignored. Purely in material terms, cities are nowhere close to being self-sufficient. The simple example of food can illustrate this point – a city of 10 million people imports an average of 6,000 tonnes of food a day; Mexico City brings in 50,000 trucks with 25,000 tonnes of food daily; and 70 per cent of the fruit and vegetables sold on the vast site of New Covent Garden wholesale market in London are imported (Amin and Thrift, 2002: 70–71). ‘A vast network exists to feed cities; to grow, distribute and sell food to people who cannot grow their own … If the network came crashing down, the world’s major cities would find themselves short of food within a matter of days’ (Stetter, quoted in Amin and Thrift, 2002: 71). Cities rely on other spaces, often much less privileged and cosmopolitan, to continue existing. This dependence generates a responsibility which can be deflected by city-planners. Likewise, the environmental damage caused by the transportation and distribution of this food alongside the diminishing of scarce resources (such as water) in its spaces of origin is generally ignored. As I have explored elsewhere, cities in the global North not only base their attractiveness on their cosmopolitan diversity, they are in fact dependent upon it as foreign labour keeps them operating (Bulley, 2017). The catering, cleaning, hospitality, building and care sectors – those that make life liveable and reproducible for the urban population – are particularly dependent on foreign labour (Wills et al., 2010). This is certainly true of the medical professions: more than one in four doctors in US cities in 2010 were born outside the US (McCabe, 2012). NHS trusts in the UK hired around 3,000 foreign doctors in 2014 alone, the vast majority going to the UK’s major cities. This number is replicated for nurses who are effectively trained elsewhere and ‘imported’ to care for the urban population – ‘India, Sri Lanka, Ghana and South Africa are subsidising the reproduction of London’ (Massey, 2007: 175). Up to 40 per cent of new British doctors in 2014 were born and trained overseas. This 40 per cent included doctors from 27 different countries, including India, Poland and Australia, but also Iraq, Syria and Sudan (Campbell et al., 2015). Cities’ draining of talent from crucial sectors of war-torn or postconflict, postcolonial societies where their skills are urgently needed requires urgent critical attention. The ethics of urban indifference has wider repercussions when the responsibilities and duties generated by such draining is over-written – perhaps, as Massey suggests, we should be 256

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thinking of cities offering compensation and reparations to such societies rather than allowing states to continue their power-laden practices of humanitarian aid (Massey, 2006: 70). Engin Isin and Kim Rygiel (2007) have drawn attention to a much darker side of cities’ external relations in what they call the ‘other global cities’, including frontiers, zones and camps as spaces for the production and regulation of abjection. The cosmopolitan ethics of indifference enjoyed by residence of London, Paris, Sydney, New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo are ever more dependent upon these ‘other’ spaces built to contain the ‘dangerous’ or ‘threatening’ difference of refugees, suspected terrorists, exploited labour and drug cartels. The dependence of American cities on the heavily gendered and brutal violence, murder, rape and grinding poverty of spaces such as Ciudad Juarez on the Mexican border is particularly noteworthy because it is so often overlooked. This is perhaps a modern form of adaptive urban colonialism. Further research is needed to draw out the way global cities rely on networked spaces of abjection to supply cheap consumer products, drugs and pools of exploitable, deportable labour when needed. A more or less arbitrary privileging of state borders between these spaces and networks helps to efface the responsibilities and duties incurred by indifferent reliance. A critical ethics of international space, shorn of IR’s traditional grounding in statist spatial and abstract ethical assumptions outlined above, could add significantly here to the internal view of cities sometimes adopted by geographers and sociologists. It would offer no solutions, or even the grounds to seek one out; but by uncovering how a certain mode of international urban life is made possible through a deflection of wider responsibilities, it opens the field to individual, insecure ethico-political interventions that seek to transform and reclaim urban life.

Conclusion This chapter has argued for a critical approach to international ethics which concentrates on the relationality and everyday lived experience of the spaces that make everyday life possible. Rather than assuming a fixed spatiality of sovereign state interactions and then seeking to form a set of workable normative guidelines to make them work better, such a critical ethics starts from the position that both ethics and space are relationally produced, shifting and issues for investigation rather than judgement. However, to remain a critical and political approach, such investigations cannot be content with uncovering and mapping the values and responsibilities generated through these spaces. It does not stop at, for example, noting the ethics of ambivalent indifference experienced in urban relations. While this is a crucial first step in order to complicate the IR’s conception of sovereign-state ethics, a critical approach must always seek out opportunities for specific ethico-political reclamation and transformation which are immanent to post-sovereign spaces and their relations. This can involve a greater awareness of the way spaces are internally mapped to exclude, regulate and break ties of solidarity, friendship and meaningful connection; it can also illustrate the potentially empowering nature of more ambivalent practices, the anonymity, freedom and privacy they enable. It means maintaining focus on the wider network of which these spaces are a part, drawing out how borders of all sorts facilitate the deflection of responsibilities incurred for present and past injustice, exploitation and dependence. But the critical relational ethics I have outlined won’t give a firm ground from which to build a securely ethical political intervention. Rather, such interventions will remain insecure, contestable, messy, always ethico-political; and responsibility for them accepted as such. Much of this argument has revolved around IR being more open and hospitable to learning from other disciplines, particularly political geography and sociology. However, IR is a broad discipline – not one, but many – and has been welcoming insights from elsewhere for decades, 257

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making its own critical contribution to relational understandings of ethics and space through feminism, postcolonialism and poststructuralism, as outlined in earlier sections. Whether this has led to a steady erosion of IR as a discipline at its margins should remain an open question, as should whether this matters. For example, where IR can draw ethical discussion towards wider mappings of relationality, responsiveness, power and inequality beyond and through borders, its role remains important in challenging the restricted spatial ontology of other disciplines. Where IR’s focus on the inevitability of politics as the realm of contestation, power and irresolvable negotiation can confront abstract ethical claims, or equanimity in the face of an ethics of indifference, opening space for ethico-political interventions, it persists as a crucial field. But where IR’s own assumptions limit such critical inquiry, making it unable to deal with spaces of protest, solidarity, accumulation, dispossession and migration, it must be supplemented or replaced. IR’s utility goes as far as its ability to stimulate and sustain critique.

Notes 1 See Bulley (2014) for a longer discussion of this in specific relation to foreign policy analysis. 2 While Linklater’s case for a critical theory of international relations and the need to transform political community beyond the Westphalian state is compelling, his account of this transformation of space, particularly with regard to the European Union, is much less convincing. In contrast, Simon Caney’s abstract cosmopolitanism offers no grounded analysis of ethical or political space. 3 See the issues covered in recent textbooks in the area: Bell, 2010a; Hutchings, 2010; Shapcott, 2010. 4 This figure hides significant unevenness: it includes 82 per cent of North Americans and 80 per cent of South Americans but only 40 per cent of Africans. Africa is also urbanising faster than other regions, with projected growth to 56 per cent by 2050. However, doubts remain about these projections as they take little account of the environmental sustainability of continuing rapid urbanisation. They do not, and cannot, factor in man-made environmental catastrophes which could rapidly slow, halt or reverse this process. 5 As Ash Amin (2012: 64) points out, the way a city brings the proximate and distant together is one of its defining characteristics.

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18 CRITIQUE AND THE INTERNATIONAL Horizons, traces, finitude Tom Lundborg

For the discipline of International Relations (IR), time appears in many ways to stand still. Only marginal changes occur in the realm known as the ‘international’ as the same patterns repeat themselves endlessly. Power shifts from some countries to others as the international system dances between bipolar, multipolar and unipolar orders of the world. This ‘eternal repetition of the same’ places vast limits on how flexible the form of the international is or can possibly be as it encounters anything that challenges or contradicts it, like the global environmental crisis currently hitting the planet. Irrespective of how bizarre, outdated or immoral the borders and limits of the international state system are, these borders and limits are nevertheless reproduced, time and again. How can we think of critique in relation to the ‘international’ in times of profound shifts, political violence and crises? More precisely, how is critique possible in the disciplinary context of IR, if the main concern of that discipline is to theorize the ‘international’ as a repetitive pattern, unable to say much of relevance about the global events that currently disrupt the traditional borders of modern political life? This chapter addresses these questions by drawing on three key concepts: horizons, traces and finitude. Together, the concepts of horizons, traces, and finitude are used in order to analyse the international as something that is, on one hand, permanent and fixed, and, on the other hand, elusive and contingent. The tensions between permanence and contingency are also what I see as particularly important for coming to terms with the possibility of critique vis-à-vis the international in times of profound shifts, political violence and crises. Accordingly, while critique on one hand can be equated with the task of understanding why political life remains trapped within an international order despite these shifts, on the other hand it entails the problem of thinking the end of this order. Therefore, this chapter goes from horizons via traces to finitude. In brief, while the horizon signals the metaphysical presence of something permanent beyond the passage of time, finitude highlights the radical end of the horizon. And between horizons and finitude there are traces, which provide the necessary openings that condition the horizons’ finitude and end.

Horizons To think of the international as something seemingly eternal one can draw inspiration from previous readings of the core concepts of modernity that stress the continuation of 261

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pre-modern theological themes and doctrines. Karl Löwith (1949), for example, showed how the conceptual history of ‘history’ is filled with theological themes of eschatology and notions of progress leading towards a final end, comparable to messianic time in Judeo-Christian thought. Carl Schmitt (2005 [1922]) wrote about the sovereign decision on the exception, which finds its equivalent in God’s creation of miracles as it involves transcending the limits of the norm. And then there is the ‘international’, which finds a parallel in the notion of an eternal presence of God. Hans J. Morgenthau (1948) famously spoke of an empty sky from which the gods have departed and under which nation-states struggle for power. Yet, the sky is not entirely empty in a strictly secular sense, because is it not precisely the eternal quality of something transcendental, which remains untouched by whatever challenges or contradicts it that we find in so many accounts of the modern international. The international, in this sense, points to the continuation of something permanent beyond the finitude of both man and the state: a metaphysical horizon that conditions yet transcends the finite life of individuals and states interacting in a system of states. The difficulty of transcending the international can be linked specifically to the logic of the horizon, which, as soon as one tries to approach, drifts away (see Maleuvre, 2011). Thus, while the international invites attempts to transcend it, it also functions as a pervasive limit to any simple move from here to there. And even if it suggests that there is indeed something other, a world beyond that awaits us once the horizon has been transcended, any attempt to reach whatever lies beyond is bound to encounter the limits that separate what lies beyond from what lies within. So, even if the horizon may prompt questions about how to escape the horizon, it also conditions the possibility of escape. And while the horizon creates a desire to be critical of the horizon, it also conditions the possibility of critique. Attempts to nevertheless transcend the horizon of the international are often motivated by the search for an ideal beyond the borders of states, like for example a more all-inclusive ‘humanity’. Beyond the horizon of the international lies a world of humans that can be embraced in a purer sense than the particular boundaries of citizenship allow for. Such an ideal is often expressed in cosmopolitan theories promoting a new world order, the primary subject of which is the human as opposed to the citizen (see Linklater, 1982). Cosmopolitanism contains a wide array of perspectives but typically revolve around the idea of transcending the line separating the international from the world beyond, in order to reach the latter by abandoning the former. However, we also know that these attempts have been met with severe critiques for the ways in which they often end up reifying, rather than radically contesting, the hierarchical forms of thinking that they seek to leave behind (see esp. Walker, 1999). Instead of searching for ways of transcending the international, however, it is possible to analyse the international as an aporia that both opens up to transcendence and imposes limits on transcendence. On this reading, the most important as well as difficult task is to identify the paradoxes inherent in the international. Following the work of R.B.J. Walker (1993, 2010), one particularly important paradox in this context has to do with the relationship between the universal and the particular. While the international enables the search for universal values and ideals, linked for example to a common humanity, it also structures this search by making it possible to look for the universal within the boundaries of the particular: more precisely within the boundaries of particular sovereign states. The international functions in this sense precisely as a metaphysical horizon, which allows the modern subject to think within whilst reaching beyond limits. In reaching beyond whilst being captured within the limits of the international, Walker notes how the modern subject is constituted as a ‘split’ or ‘divided’ subject, made up of both 262

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‘humanity’ and ‘citizenship’ (Walker, 2010: Ch. 5). The subject is thus split between the universal and the particular, which means that there is no obvious way of reconciling them. It also means that the subject is bound to encounter borders and violent forms of exclusion and discrimination where her humanity ends and can no longer be protected by her citizenship. What makes the international so significant in this sense is that ‘it’, more than anything else, conditions the search for the universal while at the same time dissolving the universal into the particular. Consequently, it is what conditions both the possibility of the universal, as well as its impossibility. The aspiration towards one’s humanity in the international system should thus be thought of in relation to the violent forms of exclusion that such aspiration necessarily entails. A similar point can be made with reference to the life of states interacting in the state system. While states are principally equal within a system that lacks an overarching authority determining how they must act, or how they must conform to the same universal ideal, they are constantly exposed to the possibility of inter-state violence and war. The price to be paid for a life based on Enlightenment ideals and principles of equality and freedom is as it were a constant exposure to and lack of immunity against the extreme forms of violence that may at any point threaten that life. The role of violence is therefore fundamental for grasping the conditions of life in the international system. This is something that Kenneth Waltz recognized by pointing out that states are in an important sense ‘free’ in the international political system, free to ‘do any fool thing they care to’ (Waltz, 1997: 915). Martin Wight is another thinker of the international who recognized that it is precisely violence that constitutes the core theme of international theory (see Wight, 1966). He noted that in order to theorize the international as opposed to the domestic, the first step is to ask how it is possible to grasp violence as a condition of international life. Responding to Wight’s call, theories of international relations have contributed to the creation of a metaphysical system that organizes political life in accordance with the borders of states. Essentially, this is a system that centres on the problem of how to enable a distinctly ‘modern life’ predicated on human finitude and the plurality of wills that are bound to enter conflict with one another. The international can in this way also be seen as a response to the problem that Max Weber saw as inherent to modernity, namely that, as modern man progresses and becomes more enlightened and free in a secularized society, there is a growing sense of unease about what all this progress and freedom are supposed to accomplish (Weber, 2004). If it is not religious revelation or some higher transcendental end, then what precisely is it that modern life should aspire towards? To this question, the international offers a response: live and die within nation-states, do so as both human and citizen, but be aware that when push comes to shove you might also have to live and die for your nation-state. The primary duty of the citizen, as it were, cannot only be to search for individual happiness but must also entail a sense of shared responsibility for the political units that make it possible for the human as citizen to enjoy any meaningful life in the first place: the sovereign territorial state. Such are the conditions of political life under the horizon of the international. A life free from violence, borders and discrimination is simply an idealist dream that has nothing to do with the realities of a system in which states must seek to survive. So, while the international is undoubtedly violent, it also enables life: a life that moves within and between states; a life of individual subjects and of sovereign states, all of whom have the chance to live only on the condition that they may at any moment encounter borders, exclusion and ultimately death. According to this ‘double bind’ of the international, there is no infinity in modern politics and everywhere we look there is a horizon. 263

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Understood as a horizon of modern political life, the international is what enables us to think of a world that lies beyond the international, but crucially not without simultaneously reaffirming what lies within the international. The ‘world’, in this sense, is both possible and impossible in relation to the international. Put differently, the world is the constitutive outside of the international, something with which its contingent presence may be constantly negotiated and reproduced (Walker, 2016: Ch. 3). Grasped in the language of exceptions and norms, the international can be thought of as a norm that needs to be confirmed through the exception. While the norm/exception dualism is conventionally understood with reference to the sovereign state, it can also be thought of as something that operates at the boundaries of the international (Walker, 2004: 248). The necessity of the exception in relation to the norm relates on a deeper level to the absence of fully present political ‘forms’, whether those ‘forms’ refer to the state, the international or other communities. The lack of self-presence means that the ‘form’ must be constantly reproduced against the backdrop of its simultaneous absence. When it comes to the form of the international, different understandings of the ‘world’ play different roles in this respect, precisely insofar as they allow for the international to be reproduced in relation to what is in excess of its form. There is, consequently, not just one world or the world. There is the world of the international but there are also worlds that exceed the international and which do not conform to the same borders and limits but rather disrupt or elude them. To think of the international/world relation along these lines can be seen as distinctly Kantian. German philosopher Immanuel Kant is often seen as the ultimate thinker of modernity as he put forward the first and to this day still most radical philosophical conception of the man/world divide (see Gaston, 2013). According to the latter, the world of noumena, or the world ‘as such’ and ‘in itself’, is irreducible to the world of phenomena, that is, the world as experienced (Kant, 1998). While the conditions of experiencing the world can be explained by time and space as a priori categories of understanding, those conditions can never give direct access to the world. Hence, they also present the subject with the paradox of searching for something infinite, i.e. ‘world’, within the boundaries of the finite. This search becomes like a perpetual attempt to fulfil a desire, the object of which is located on the other side of a horizon. The further one goes to reach it, the further away the object also moves. The horizon of modern thought articulated by Kant signals an infinite longing for something unreachable. Critique in the Kantian tradition is characterized by a relentless questioning of the forms of knowledge that condition our conception of reality and the world. What enables this notion of critique, then, is precisely the limits of the modern subject and its representational powers: limits that constitute a bounded subject and which guarantee that no forms of representation will ever provide a pure reflection of what lies beyond the subject. This Kantian notion of critique is also helpful for thinking about the ‘international’, precisely because it highlights the division between the world as experienced within the horizon and the world as is beyond the horizon. Kant is in this sense a primary thinker of the international, although in a different way than liberal interpretations of his writings on perpetual peace would have us believe (Walker, 2010: Ch. 3). In contrast to those who have sought to use Kant’s ‘political writings’ to transcend the limits of the international, the interpretation of Kant as a critical as opposed to a normative thinker means that he can be used for examining how particular forms of knowledge, including specific conceptions of time and space, structure our understanding of the world as made up of inter-national/inter-state relations (see also Behnke, 2008). If we think of IR as a discipline made up of theories that aspire to describe or explain the world of international relations, it is important to recognize that no attempts to develop such 264

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theories, no matter how objective they purport to be, can represent ‘more’ than a particular perspective of the world. Hence, there is no single ‘ism’ that can ever lay claim to having captured the world. In a broader context still, we have to acknowledge that theories of IR are merely part of a much wider spectrum of academic disciplines, which together lack a determinable centre and point of view from which to cast light on the truth of human culture. Having so many disciplines, and so many forms of knowledge, the question of how to provide a unified perspective that brings together all these forms seems close to impossible. This is the cost as it were of departing from a single conception of reality, which characterized scholastic thought during the pre-modern medieval ages (see Gillespie, 2008). What we are left with as a consequence of this are perspectives and forms, none of which can successfully be used to make claims about a single conception of reality (see also Harris, 2001). Ernst Cassirer notes that: Unless we succeed in finding a clue of Ariadne to lead us out of this labyrinth, we can have no real insight into the general character of human culture; we shall remain lost in a mass of disconnected and disintegrated data which seem to lack all conceptual unity. (1944: 22) On this reading, the task of ‘critique’ is not to finally arrive one day somewhere beyond the human horizon of knowledge. Instead, we should ask difficult questions that relate to the limits of the human subject, not least as those limits manifest themselves through the international as a structural condition of modern political life that divides the subject into both human and citizen. Emphasis should be placed, moreover, on the forms of knowledge that enable the reproduction of this structure, as well as on the violent forms of exclusion and discrimination they entail. On one hand a symbol of the Enlightenment and the expression of a free and autonomous subject with the ability to work things through with the help of reason and critical thinking, on the other hand a much bleaker view of the possibility of finding a common ground on which all free subjects ca