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National Global Imaginaries recent journal articles


THREATPRINTS, THREADS AND TRIGGERS – Journal of Cultural Economy – Volume 5, Issue 1


“The international ‘data war’ that is fought in the name of counter-terror is concerned with mobilising the uncertain future to intervene ‘before the terrorist has been radicalised’. Within this project, the digital footprint has become increasingly significant as a security resource. At the international border, particularly, the traces of data that cannot help but be left behind by everyday consumption and travel activity are mobilised within ‘smart’ targeting programmes to act against threat ahead of time. Subject to analytics, rules-based targeting and risk-scoring, this data is believed to offer a fuller picture of the mobile subject than conventional identification information. This paper places the data footprint alongside the history of the conventional criminal ‘print’ within forensic science to examine the future-oriented modes of governing that are emerging within smart border programmes such as the UK’s e-borders. The digital print has less in common with the criminal print as objective evidence of past events and more in common with early efforts in anthropometry and biometrics to diagnose a subject’s proclivity ahead of time. In the context of contemporary border security, this is unleashing uneven and occluded governmental effects.”

Turkey: An Emerging Hub of Globalization and Internationalist Humanitarian Actor? – Glo…


“In an era of global turmoil generating significant challenges to global security and requiring global solutions, humanitarian intervention, and assistance become central concerns at the intersection of globalization studies and international relations. In this context, Turkey is emerging as a more proactive and autonomous actor in foreign policy and as a regional and global force in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, making the country one of the key actors of world politics. In this article, we demonstrate Turkey’s contributions to global security through its increasing involvement in humanitarian assistance in different regions of the world, and suggest that in doing so Turkey is not only contributing to global security but also creating new norms of democratic global governance that bridge several seemingly contradictory formations: European integration and Islamic solidarity; global South ascendance and NATO stabilization; Ottoman nostalgia and internationalist modernism. But the primary focus will be Turkish protagonism in peacekeeping interventions in Afghanistan to demonstrate the multilateral manner through which humanitarian assistance norms are implemented.”

Global South to the Rescue: Emerging Humanitarian Superpowers and Globalizing Rescue In…


“The introductory essay offers a brief overview of current trends in critical globalization studies and international relations scholarship that shed light on three intersections: between imperialism and humanitarianism, between neoliberal globalization and “rescue industry” transnationalism, and between patterns of geopolitical hegemony and trajectories of peacekeeping internationalism. These research agendas have been generative and politically useful, but have tended to neglect the forms of humanitarian and peacekeeping agency emanating from the global south. In order to address this gap, this introduction lays out a new research agenda that combines interdisciplinary methods from global studies, gender and race studies, critical security studies, police and military sociology, Third World diplomatic history, and international relations. This introduction also theoretically situates the other contributions and case studies gathered here, providing a framework of analysis that groups them into three clusters: (I) Globalizing Peacekeeper Identities, (II) Assertive “Regional Internationalisms,” and (III) Emergent Alternative Paradigms.”

The Circuitous Origins of the Gender Perspective in Human Rights Advocacy: A Challenge …


“This article pieces together a complex genealogy of the multiple contexts that helped reshape women’s international organizing and create a global women’s human rights movement following the United Nations (UN) Decade for Women, 1975–85. It maps a multilayered history consisting of many different strands of women’s activities around the globe that increasingly converged in the 1970s, although in unanticipated ways. Through its broad focus on women in distinct social, political, and intellectual arenas, it links the UN human rights system and its oversight committees and commissions with the first two UN Development Decades of the 1960s and 1970s. And it interconnects these global structures, discourses, and activities with old and new patterns of women’s postwar organizing and with the emerging challenges to canons of knowledge and research methodologies from feminist theory and epistemology. Starting in the mid-1970s, four distinct yet overlapping endeavors converged: the work for international human rights, colonial and postcolonial expectations of economic development and well-being, women’s rights and liberation movements, and women’s studies in their global translations. This critical history, however, has all but been lost in the fraught contemporary debates about human rights as a vehicle for radical gender and social change.”

Ethnographic Cartographies: Social Movements, Alternative Media and the Spaces of Netwo…

civil society,new_media

“Research on social movement networks has been defined by an emphasis on structural determinism and quantitative methodologies, and has often overlooked the spatial dimension of networking practices. This article argues that scholars have much to gain if (1) they move beyond the understanding of networks as organisational and communication structures, and analyse them as everyday social processes of human negotiation and construction, and (2) they pay attention to how networks between different organisations create multiple and overlapping spaces of action and meaning that define the everyday contexts of social movements. Drawing on ethnographic research within the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, this article explores the everyday dimension of political and communication networks. It shows that everyday networking practices are embedded in processes of identification and meaning construction, and are defined by a politics of inclusion and exclusion; introducing the concept of ethnographic cartography, it demonstrates that social movement networks are incorporated into everyday practices and narratives of place-making.”

Guns don’t kill people, cyborgs do: a Latourian provocation for transformatory arms con…


“This article seeks to provoke a deeper engagement of Critical Security Studies with security’s relations to technology and weapons. It explores existing assumptions about these relations in mainstream arms control and disarmament theory, and the way such assumptions are deployed and distributed in the current settlement of arms control and disarmament practice. It then draws on recent social and philosophical discussions of materiality, particularly on the thought of Bruno Latour, to propose a different set of concepts for exploring the aims and limits of arms control and disarmament. These concepts emphasise the mediating roles of material things in social relations and they may offer a richer view of the object of arms control (weapons and violence) and of the practices of arms limitation and reduction; one that may ultimately gesture towards a different understanding of arms politics, and that may be used to explore the transformatory potentials of arms control and disarmament.”

Trois Femmes de Sapopemba: violence et politique dans la banlieue de São Paul…


“This contribution relies on the narration of the stories of Valquíria, Maria and Marcela, three women living in São Paulo’s suburbs, to explore citizenship in contemporary Brazil. Based on ethnographic research conducted between 2005 and 2009, the text is organised in three parts. In the first one, the author justifies his choice of analysis categories and briefly discusses relationships between politics and violence, so as to give the context of the discussion. The second part is dedicated to the description and discussion of the three types of violence that affect Marcela, Maria and Valquíria in their personal trajectories. In the third part the radically distinct connections between these three stories and the established political world are presented, linking this difference with experiences of violence.”

Specifying citizenship: subaltern politics of rights and justice in contemporary India …


“This article uses the lens of development discourse to shed light on subaltern politics of citizenship and rights claims in contemporary India. It argues that battles for development entitlements allow subaltern subjects to meaningfully inhabit and simultaneously alter the contours of legal citizenship, which they have been formally granted by the Indian constitution, but, in effect, denied. Subaltern claims on citizenship, articulated from a position of subordination and difference, not equality, and through specific idioms, contest and radically transform the generic and universal slot of personhood that liberalism provides – one that is rational, secular, sovereign and individualistic. Their citizenship claims draw upon multiple discourses, extending well beyond the law, mixing morality and materiality, ethics and politics, and traditional and bureaucratic languages of power, and thereby muddy the very distinctions on which modern citizenship rests. Subaltern struggles over development, thus, force us to reconsider hardened, normative ideas of legal citizenship and to widen the scope through which we look at and think about rights claims, justice, personhood and, indeed, the state in the neoliberal era.”

No ode to joy? Reflections on the European Union’s legitimacy

international relations,governance

  • This article analyses the European Union’s (EU) lack of legitimacy for European citizens. It examines the expanding credibility gap of the EU since the Treaty of Lisbon Irish referendums in 2008 and 2009. Although there are various reasons for the EU’s lack of legitimacy, this article proposes the failure of the EU to penetrate the domestic public or social spheres and the dearth of opportunities for citizen participation in EU governance as primary factors. The article then considers risks associated with the current euro crisis, drawing lessons from the largely ignored sociological and political factors that impact on its resolution.This article analyses the European Union’s (EU) lack of legitimacy for European citizens. It examines the expanding credibility gap of the EU since the Treaty of Lisbon Irish referendums in 2008 and 2009. Although there are various reasons for the EU’s lack of legitimacy, this article proposes the failure of the EU to penetrate the domestic public or social spheres and the dearth of opportunities for citizen participation in EU governance as primary factors. The article then considers risks associated with the current euro crisis, drawing lessons from the largely ignored sociological and political factors that impact on its resolution.

    Disrupting the Narrative: An Introduction – Women: A Cultural Review – Volume 22, Issue 4


    The essays in this issue of Women: A Cultural Review all originated in a seminar series that forms one strand in a research project with which I am involved, in the Pinter Centre for Performance and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. Now in its third and final year, the project has been exploring non-linear and fractured narratives in writing and performance, not just in formalistic terms, but in particular through raising questions about the relationship between these forms and some of the intercultural transformations and political changes that have occurred in the modern world.1 How far can such non-linear and multi-stranded narratives be seen as a response to the increasing interaction of different cultures that has resulted from the colonial, postcolonial and post-cold war reconfigurations of the world, and to the complex and contested societies that emerged in their wake? If we are coming to see that cultures can be understood as collections of narratives, not only stories into which we are born, as Lyotard puts it, but also stories we learn to tell, how do these fractured forms explore the competing and conflicting narratives we meet in our culturally diverse society.

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