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  • Series: New Approaches to Conflict Analysis x
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Writing political identities in the Democratic Security Policy

Based on geo- and biopolitical analyses, this book reconsiders how security policies and practices legitimate state and non-state violence in the Colombian conflict, and uses the case study of the official Democratic Security Policy (DSP) to examines how security discourses write the political identities of state, self and others. It claims that the DSP delimits politics, the political, and the imaginaries of peace and war through conditioning the possibilities for identity formation. The book offers an innovative application of a large theoretical framework on the performative character of security discourses and furthers a nuanced understanding of the security problematique in a postcolonial setting.

The Other side

Conducting an analysis of some of the most candid interview materials ever gathered from former Irish Republican Army (IRA) members and loyalists in Northern Ireland, this book demonstrates through a psychoanalysis of slips of the tongue, jokes, rationalisations and contradictions that it is the unconscious dynamics of the conflict — that is, the pleasure to be found in suffering, failure, domination, submission and ignorance, and in rivalry over jouissance — that lead to the reproduction of polarisation between the Catholic and Protestant communities. As a result, it contends that traditional approaches to conflict resolution which overlook the unconscious are doomed and argues that a Lacanian psychoanalytic understanding of socio-ideological fantasy has great potential for informing the way we understand and study all inter-religious and ethnic conflicts and, as such, deserves to be further developed in conflict-management processes. Whether readers find themselves agreeing with the arguments in the book or not, they are sure to find it a change from both traditional approaches to conflict resolution and the existing mainly conservative analyses of the Northern Ireland conflict.

Conspiracy theory and American foreign policy examines the relationship between secrecy, power and interpretation around international political controversy, where foreign policy orthodoxy comes up hard against alternative interpretations. It does so in the context of American foreign policy during the War on Terror, a conflict that was quintessentially covert and conspiratorial. This book adds a new dimension to the debate by examining what I coin the ‘Arab-Muslim paranoia narrative’: the view that Arab-Muslim resentment towards America was motivated to some degree by a paranoid perception of American power in the Middle East. Immediately after 9/11, prominent commentators pointed to an Arab-Muslim culture of blame and a related tendency towards conspiracy theories about America’s regional influence as an important cultural driver of anti-Americanism. This narrative subsequently made its way into numerous US Government policy documents and initiatives advancing a War of Ideas strategy aimed at winning the ‘hearts and minds’ of Arab-Muslims. The book provides a novel reading of the processes through which legitimacy and illegitimacy is produced in foreign policy discourses. It will also appeal to a wider cross-disciplinary audience interested in the burgeoning issues of conspiracy, paranoia, and popular knowledge, including their relationship to and consequences for contemporary politics.

Challenges to Swedish identity and sovereignty

Neutrality as a concept and practice has long been conceptualised in IR theory as problematic. Broadly seen as the tool of small and weak states with dubious moral credentials, a limited understanding of neutrality has persisted from the Peloponnesian War to the ‘war on terror’. Furthermore, as globalisation and non-traditional security problems animate international politics, neutrality is seen as a policy of the past. This book argues that neutrality has been a neglected and misunderstood subject, limited to realist understandings of war and viable statecraft, and in doing so aims to uncover the normative strands of neutrality that mesh with identity, security and alternatives to the anarchic international order. Using Sweden as a case study, it explores the domestic roots of neutrality via a constructivist analysis, examining how neutrality is embedded in ideas of self, and part of a wider Social Democratic vision of active internationalism. Identity, however, is malleable and subject to change, and this analysis also considers the impact of globalisation and European integration, the end of bipolarity, and new security threats such as global terrorism on neutrality as an idea and a practice.

Exploiting the forbidden

This book analyses the Syria crisis and the role of chemical weapons, in relation to US foreign policy. The Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons and their subsequent elimination would dominate the US’ response to the conflict, where these are viewed as particularly horrific arms – a repulsion known as the chemical taboo. On the surface, this would seem an appropriate reaction: these are vile and intolerable weapons, and eradicating them would ostensibly comprise a ‘good’ move. But this book reveals two new aspects of the taboo that challenge this view. First, actors employ the taboo strategically to advance their own self-interested policy objectives. This is in contrast to the highly static and constructivist approaches that have informed conceptualisation of the taboo until now. Far from a situation of normative adherence, this is a case in which the taboo exists as a strategic political resource, used to achieve aims that may have nothing to do with preventing chemical warfare. Second, it is argued that applying the taboo to Syria has exacerbated the crisis. While many expound the benefits of the taboo, it is demonstrated here that the exact opposite is true. The taboo has actually made the conflict significantly worse. As such, this book not only provides a timely analysis of Syria, but also a major and original rethink of the chemical taboo, as well as international norms more widely.

This study explores the normative dimension of the evolving role of the United Nations in peace and security and, ultimately, in governance. What is dealt with here is both the UN's changing raison d'être and the wider normative context within which the organisation is located. The study looks at the UN through the window of one of its most contentious, yet least understood, practices: active involvement in intra-state conflicts as epitomised by UN peacekeeping. Drawing on the conceptual tools provided by the ‘historical structural’ approach, it seeks to understand how and why the international community continuously reinterprets or redefines the UN's role with regard to such conflicts. The study concentrates on intra-state ‘peacekeeping environments’, and examines what changes, if any, have occurred to the normative basis of UN peacekeeping in intra-state conflicts from the early 1960s to the early 1990s. One of the original aspects of the study is its analytical framework, where the conceptualisation of ‘normative basis’ revolves around objectives, functions and authority, and is closely connected with the institutionalised values in the UN Charter such as state sovereignty, human rights and socio-economic development.

A critical analysis of the work of John Burton

This book is a critical study of John Burton's work, which outlines an alternative framework for the study of international conflict, and re-examines conflict resolution. It argues that culture has a constitutive role in international conflict and conflict resolution. The book provides an overview of the mediation literature in order to locate problem-solving workshop conflict resolution within the context of peaceful third-party involvement. It analyses human needs thinking and examines the similarities between it and Burton's thinking. The book also examines the logic of Burton's argument by means of metaphor analysis, by analysing the metaphors which can be found in his human needs theory. It studies further Burton's views of action and rationality, and moves into phenomenology and social constructionism. The book takes as its starting-point a totalist theory of international conflict resolution, namely Burton's sociobiologically-oriented conflict theory, and demonstrates the logic of argument and the denial of culture underlying his problem-solving theory. It explains the dimensions of the social world in order to lay a foundation for the study of conflict and conflict resolution from the social constructionist perspective. The book presents a phenomenological understanding of conflict and problem-solving conflict resolution. Finally, it argues that problem-solving workshop conflict resolution can be best understood as an attempt to find a shared reality between the parties in conflict.

For over five decades, the Cold War security agenda was distinguished by the principal strategic balance, that of a structure of bipolarity, between the United States (US) and the Soviet Union (USSR). This book seeks to draw from current developments in critical security studies in order to establish a new framework of inquiry for security in the Middle East. It addresses the need to redefine security in the Middle East. The focus is squarely on the Arab-Israeli context in general, and the Palestinian-Israeli context in particular. The character of Arab-Israeli relations are measured by the Israeli foreign policy debate from the 1950s to the 1990s. A dialogue between Islam and Islamism as a means to broaden the terrain on which conflict resolution and post-bipolar security in the Middle East is to be understood is presented. The Middle East peace process (MEPP) was an additional factor in problematizing the military-strategic concept of security in the Middle East. The shift in analysis from national security to human security reflects the transformations of the post-Cold War era by combining military with non-military concerns such as environmental damage, social unrest, economic mismanagement, cultural conflict, gender inequity and radical fundamentalism. By way of contrast to realist international relations (IR) theory, developing-world theorists have proposed a different set of variables to explain the unique challenges facing developing states. Finally, the book examines the significance of ecopolitics in security agendas in the Middle East.

Language, politics and counter-terrorism

This book is about the public language of the 'war on terrorism' and the way in which language has been deployed to justify and normalise a global campaign of counter-terrorism. It explains how the war on terrorism has been reproduced and amplified by key social actors and how it has become the dominant political narrative in America today, enjoying widespread bipartisan and popular support. The book also explains why the language of politics is so important and the main methodological approach for analysing the language of counter-terrorism, namely, critical discourse analysis. Then, it provides the comparison drawn between the September 11, 2001 attacks and World War II and the attack on Pearl Harbor. One of the most noticeable aspects of the language surrounding the attacks of September 11, 2001 is its constant reference to tragedy, grievance and the exceptional suffering of the American people. The book focuses on the way in which language was deployed to construct the main identities of the protagonists. It demonstrates how terrorism is rhetorically constructed as posing a catastrophic threat to the American 'way of life', to freedom, liberty and democracy and even to civilisation itself. The book analyses how the administration's counter-terrorism campaign has been rhetorically constructed as an essentially 'good' and 'just war', similar to America's role in World War II. Finally, the book concludes that responsible citizens have a moral duty to oppose and resist the official language of counter-terrorism.

Covert racism and affect in the United States post-9/11

‘I am the least racist person,’ Donald Trump declared. This book unpacks how it is possible for various American administrations to impose discriminatory counterterrorism (CT) and countering violent extremism (CVE) measures on Muslim communities and yet declare that ‘Islam is peace’ or that ‘Muslims are our friends’. The book addresses some of the paradoxes of the securitisation by linking discourses about the role of Muslims in the war on terror in the United States with covert forms of racism. The book is concerned with a securitisation that is covertly rather than overtly expressed, which enables securitising actors like Trump to deny plausibility of racism and claim that they are ‘the least racist person’. The book offers a critique of the ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ approaches to CT and CVE and advances an alternative way to understand radicalisation and terrorism by introducing a quantum perspective. Lastly, drawing on the affective turn, the book adds body to the analysis by theorising emotions and affect in the securitisation of Islam. The book argues that this covert securitisation constructs white American subjects as innocent, unprejudiced and living in a post-racial society averse to racism, whilst constructing Muslim subjects as potential terrorists and thus as sites of securitisation. This book is a timely analysis of the securitisation of Islam since 9/11 and presents an original study that contributes to debates on Islamophobia, white fragility and white victimhood, which have proliferated since the rise of far-right (populist) parties in Europe and the US.