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Event, meaning and affect
J. Peter Burgess

This chapter analyses the hour-by-hour reactions to the attacks of 22 July 2011. Focussing primarily on television news coverage, it documents, puts into context then examines the events through the eyes of political and social leaders who dominate the public discourse. The chapter also analyses the way that news media interpreted what the public reactions were, how they should be interpreted in context and what the more general politial impact of these experiences might be. It begins with coverage of the very first hours after the attack when confusion and uncertainty reigned. It continues with an analysis of the first official press conference by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice. The chapter then develops a larger reflection on the role of values in shaping what the facts of the event were understood to be, and reflects on the political nature of any analysis of the threat or danger, and the role that values play in shaping politics. The chapter then turns to the rise and fall of the collective spirit in the Norwegian self-understanding and the role played by the royal family in maintaining that spirit. It concludes with an analysis of the famous Rose March, a unique enactment of solidarity that structured the threats realised on 22 July as threats to the national ‘we’.

in Security after the unthinkable
Abstract only
J. Peter Burgess

This chapter looks beyond the book’s findings and suggests a range of social, political, moral and metaphysical implications about security and disenchantment that open up. It begins with a discussion of the processes of memorialisation of 22 July 2011 and the continuities and discontinuities they produced. It then turns to a brief summary of the bureaucratic reforms undertaken as a direct consequence of the attack in order to draw conclusions about the temporality of the aftermath. Questions about what changed, what can be changed and what should be changed are raised in order to ground a series of arguments and commentaries about the philosophical sense of security and insecurity and about the way this is experienced. The chapter closes by admonishing the dangers of the bureaucratic closure so typical of our time, suggesting that bureaucracy does not inoculate against the malady of insecurity but may indeed anaesthetise against it.

in Security after the unthinkable
Open Access (free)
Body and experience in the archaeological and historical record
Karen Harvey

Despite a growing interest in ‘embodiment’, historians of the body rarely consider the extant material remains of their subject. This chapter seeks to contribute to a discussion about how historians and other scholars might examine the archaeological (and particularly bioarchaeological record) and the historical record together in order to better understand the embodied experiences of people in the past. This chapter offers new ways to study past embodied experiences as an outcome of the material, social and cultural. Focusing on two non-elite individuals from the north of England between 1793 and 1849, it draws on the rich but also incomplete evidence to reconstruct their lives as lived. The first case study explores the themes of risk, youth and masculinity, focusing on James Simpson (1815–34), the son of a currier and leather cutter in Sheffield. This case underscores the advantages of class and gender, as well as the risks of damage posed to young men’s bodies in early nineteenth century towns. The second case study is Ann Purvis (c.1793–1849), a member of a family of river pilots in South Shields. The analysis exposes the vulnerabilities caused to women by poverty and singlehood, as well as the evident care and social status available to such women within the family. The chapter demonstrates that bringing the bioarchaeological, material and historical record together and, in particular, in exploring the tensions between them, produces new knowledge about the lived experiences of non-elite individuals in the past that would otherwise be inaccessible.

in The material body
Cultural historical and osteoarchaeological perspectives
Sophie L. Newman
and
David M. Turner

While there has been much work on definitions of old age and the experiences of older people in the past, there have been comparatively few studies that explore the physical processes of ageing and the relationship between old age and disability in the working classes of Britain during the Industrial Revolution. Through the combination of osteological, textual and cultural evidence, this chapter reveals how experiences of ageing, and related impairments, were influenced by gender and social status in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The bodily consequences of impairment imparted by industrialised society, and the processes of ageing, are examined in three individual skeletal biographies from Hazel Grove, Stockport and St Hilda’s, South Shields. While impaired bodies have often been viewed as marginal or ‘othered’, official reports, medical sources and social and political commentary suggests that physical difference was an expected and ‘normal’ experience of the working classes. Large proportions of the working population were at risk of impairment by occupational injury, disease and poor living conditions, and this was frequently conceptualised as premature ageing. As such the onset of old age was determined by occupation and, against the backdrop of a sharpening division of labour and economic opportunity, by gender. In this context, the history of old age and the history of disability are inextricably linked. Continued dialogues between osteological and historical researchers can enrich our understanding of marginalised populations, and our own perceptions of who was considered ‘old’ in past societies.

in The material body
Footwear and gender in Britain, 1700–1850
Matthew McCormack

This chapter focuses on shoes from early eighteenth- to mid-nineteenth-century Britain, in order to propose some approaches to the histories of gender, embodiment and material culture. Shoes reveal a great deal about gender, given the contrasting designs and functions that have historically been ascribed to male and female footwear. Furthermore, they tell us much about the body, since the height of the heel and the flexibility of the sole impact upon the posture and motions of the body. As well as altering the visual shape of the body, footwear affects the ability of the wearer to perform tasks such as walking, riding and physical labour. They therefore relate in important ways to the social roles that have historically been ascribed to men and women, and the history of shoes offers a critical perspective on historians’ accounts of gender change in the eighteenth century. As well as the impact of shoes on the body, the chapter considers the impact of the body on shoes. Because shoes bear the whole weight of the body and endure great stresses, they take the form of the body and become individual to their wearer. This provides historians with a rich primary source about the wearer’s body, with evidence of body shape and walking gait visible in wear patterns, stretches and scuffs. The chapter therefore argues that an embodied history of shoes offers a unique insight into the bodies of historical actors.

in The material body
J. Peter Burgess

This chapter reconstructs the concept of security that will be gradually deconstructed throughout the book. Building on the assumptions of securitisation theory, the chapter develops a selective social history of the concept, with particular emphasis on the Cold War and post-Cold War periods. It was during this period that the discursive power of security, always latent, truly came of age. The chapter maps in detail the new security concept that developed during this period and in particular the considerable changes it quickly underwent at the end of the Cold War. The chapter analyses the new post-Cold War concept that will frame the rest of the book, deeply intertwined with culture, moral values and social and political governance. Starting from the epistemological shift that enters into force around 1989, the chapter details some of the qualities of the new security reality: globalisation, technologisation, industrialisation, mediatisation, etc. It completes the sketch of this new age of security by making the link between security and market liberalism, and the interlinkage between cultural values and security policy. This security and value, coupled with the new threat horizon dominating security thinking, leads the chapter into an analysis of the role of uncertainty, and the way that it leads security decision-makers to operate in relation to a new kind of ethics: making decisions today about unknown dangers tomorrow.

in Security after the unthinkable
J. Peter Burgess

The chapter opens with a general conceptualisation and terrain-mapping of the notion of responsibility in moral, political, social and popular discourses. It then deepens the question by linking the notion to the discourse of accountability that dominates in bureaucratic governance, linking this with the analysis of responsibility advanced by Weber in Economy and Society. The chapter seeks to situate the work of the 22/7 Commission, developed in the previous chapter, in terms of the concept of bureaucratic versus political responsibility. It then engages in a detailed analysis of the act of ‘taking’ responsibility, its meaning and temporality, before turning to the paradoxes of taking responsibility in the Norwegian language. The chapter then applies the critique of responsibility to the Norwegian political class in the period leading up to the publication of the 22/7 Commission report, its link to political culture and values. After mapping the instrumental uses of the notion of responsibility, the chapter expands to encompass the trial of Anders Behring Breivik, and the prickly problem of assigning responsibility for a terrorist act while at the same time insisting on his unaccountable psychological condition.

in Security after the unthinkable
Open Access (free)
The material body in archaeology and history
Elizabeth Craig-Atkins
and
Karen Harvey

The introduction to The Material Body examines the theoretical frameworks of the material turn, new materialism and embodiment and explores how the social and material are combined in the making of embodied experience. It also reveals how archaeologists and historians – when they work together – are uniquely placed to revolutionise the study of people as embodied subjects. The Introduction explores how the chapters collectively integrate sources, concepts and methods from archaeology, history and material culture studies to study embodied lives in the past. The selection of studies of the period c.1700–1850 exploits the rich and diverse archaeological, bioarchaeological, material and historical sources available for that period. It also brings into focus bodies that might be considered ‘ordinary’ and ‘marginalised’ and draws attention to temporally significant categories of identity – including age, gender, class and disability – in ways that highlight structures of matter, thought, culture and power through which embodied experiences were formed. The introduction also draws out the significance of the innovative methods presented in this book: the collaboration of archaeologists and historians in devising and writing chapters; the study of the material body through novel combinations of skeletal remains, material objects, text and image; the deployment of different scales of analysis, from the personal to the national; and the use of reflective practice among co-authors to explore productive tensions in evidence and epistemology.

in The material body
Abstract only
J. Peter Burgess

The chapter recounts the primary details of the Oslo/Utøya attacks of 22 July 2011 and the basic details about the convicted perpetrator. It sets out the framework for the documentation and analysis of the following chapters. It introduces the key concepts of ‘uncertainty’ and ‘disenchantment’, situating both in the respective literatures and developing the main arguments of the book. The chapter then presents the broad background for the book, first in security theory, then in relation to a development of the concept and practice of bureaucracy. Building on Weber’s concept of bureaucracy and its distinct insertion into the European modernisation process, the chapter joins this classical notion of modern sociology to another less widely used Weberian concept: disenchantment, understood as a disruption of the relation between spiritual and rational experience, and bringing it to bear on the case of Oslo/Utøya. The chapter takes up a number of methodological challenges that need to be addressed before embarking on a full analysis of the chapters to follow. In order to do so, it underscores the epistemological and metaphysical assumptions that lie behind any methodological position. Finally, it addresses the problem of the ‘event horizon’, that is, the notion that certain events, among these terrorist catastrophes, surpass experience and cognition.

in Security after the unthinkable
J. Peter Burgess

The chapter builds upon the premise that the foundation of security is something other and more than technology or instrumental rationality. On the contrary, it argues that security and insecurity stem from a culturally, socially and spiritually grounded relation to the unknown. It suggests that security thinking has been guided by a false notion of objectivity and externality. The chapter then situates this way of understanding security in the context of the new security threats appearing in Europe during the two decades preceding the Oslo/Utøya attacks. It explains that this constellation of threats constitutes the background for the work of the Commission on Vulnerability, formed in 1999, and which produced a landmark report in 2000. The chapter documents the considerable innovation introduced by the Commission, in particular the relation it established between societal values and security. By means of a detailed, point-by-point analysis of the Commission’s report, the chapter establishes both an analytic framework for the value–security relation and a distinct contextualisation of that relation in the Norwegian context.

in Security after the unthinkable