Bodies of Violence: Theorizing Embodied Subjects in by Lauren B. Wilcox

By Lauren B. Wilcox

Based on traditional diplomacy concept, states or teams make conflict and, in doing so, kill and injure people who different states are charged with holding. whereas it sees the perpetrators of violence as rational actors, it perspectives those who find themselves both secure or killed by way of this violence as mere our bodies: ahistorical people who breathe, endure and die yet don't have any specific political corporation. In its rationalist variations, IR conception purely sees our bodies as inert items. Constructivist conception argues that matters are shaped via social family, yet leaves the our bodies of topics open air of politics, as "brute facts."

According to Wilcox, such constrained brooding about our bodies and violence is not only improper, but additionally limits the means of IR to theorize the that means of political violence. against this to rationalist and constructivist concept, feminist conception sees subjectivity and the physique as inextricably associated. This publication argues that IR must reconsider its method of our bodies as having specific political which means of their personal correct. for instance, our bodies either direct violent acts (violence in drone struggle, for instance) and are constituted through practices that deal with violence (for instance, scrutiny of folks as our bodies via biometric applied sciences and physique scanners). The ebook additionally argues that violence is greater than a strategic motion of rational actors (as in rationalist theories) or a harmful violation of group legislation and norms (as in liberal and constructivist theories). simply because IR theorizes our bodies as outdoor of politics, it can't see how violence may be understood as an artistic strength for shaping the bounds of ways we comprehend ourselves as political topics, in addition to forming the limits of our political groups.

By attractive with feminist theories of embodiment and violence, Bodies of Violence provides a extra nuanced therapy of the nexus of our bodies, matters and violence than presently exists within the box of diplomacy.

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Additional info for Bodies of Violence: Theorizing Embodied Subjects in International Relations

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While Foucault’s work provides us with an understanding of how bodies are formed by power, his work in this regard is limited by the assumption of individual bodies with clear, identifiable borders—something later readers of biopolitics, such as Donna Haraway and Judith Butler, will countermand. When security is practiced through the biopolitical logic of riskmanagement, the subjects of security are not the juridical subjects of sovereignty, as in realism, or rights-bearing subjects, as in liberal conceptions of the security problématique, but biopolitical subjects—human life to be managed by various forms of technical expertise as an object of knowledge.

Finally, the practice of precision warfare integrates “bodies-as-information” into a posthuman form of embodiment, in which the human is transformed into part of an information network that enables “targeted killing” practices from afar. In such biopolitical scenes, the bodies that are the effects and targets of violent practices are far removed from the ways in which violence is theorized in International Relations, a fact that has been increasingly noted in the field (see Jabri 2006b; Masters 2005).

The association of women and femininity with peace serves as the constitutive “other” against which “real” men are created in and through war (Pin-Fat and Stern 2005). These feminist stories critique and rewrite the traditional stories that IR tells of violence, in both its realist and liberal variants. It is, first and foremost, a critique of the sovereign as protector from violence against a neutral subject; feminists argue that the subject of violence is not neutral in regard to gender. “Gender” as a story of the inherent weakness of women and the need for men to protect them from “outside” enemies supports the patriarchal power of men over women, as well as racial superiority B o di e s , S u b j e c t s , a n d V i ol e n c e [ 39 ] in the image of the “bad man” against whom the “just warrior” fights.

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