Contemporary Violence

Contemporary Violence: Postmodern war in Kosovo and Chechnya

Cerwyn Moore
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Contemporary Violence
    Book Description:

    Contemporary Violence: Postmodern War in Kosovo and Chechnya draws on several years of field research, as well as interpretive IR theory and analysis of empirical source material so as to shed light on contemporary violence. Drawing on interpretive approaches to International Relations, the book argues that founding events and multiple contexts informed the narratives deployed by different members of each movement, illustrating why elements within the Kosovo Liberation Army and the armed forces of the Chechen republic of Ichkeria favoured regional and local strategies of war in the Balkans and the North Caucasus. The book draws on post-positivist analysis and empirical research so as unravel the relationship between narratives, stories and hermeneutic accounts of International Relations; regional politics and trans-local identity; globalisation and visual aspects of contemporary security; criminality and emotionality; which together illustrate the dynamics within the armed resistance movements in Kosovo and the North Caucasus and the road to war in 1999. The book is a major addition to a small field of genuinely readable studies of IR theory. The book will be of interest to academics, researchers, students, area studies experts and policy-makers seeking to understand the formation of the armed resistance movements in Kosovo and Chechnya. Amongst other things, the book will be of interest to students and scholars of International Relations, Political Studies, Area Studies, as well as those within Cultural and Historical and Sociological Studies.

    eISBN: 978-1-84779-328-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vi-x)
  4. Introduction: alternative approaches to violence in International Relations
    (pp. 1-13)

    This introductory chapter seeks to identify the key theoretical literature in International Relations (IR) which can be used to explore contemporary violence. Albeit in an exploratory fashion, this chapter will touch upon the work of scholars concerned with meaning in IR. Equally, the chapter recognises the broad body of work on conflict and new wars.¹ This work illustrates how paramilitaries, international aid groups, human rights organisations, transnational media-corporations, militias and inter-governmental organisations are all involved in contemporary war. Drawing on this premise, this book argues that conventional theoretical accounts of war in IR are no longer adequate – if indeed...

  5. 1 Narrative identity and the challenge of literary global politics: towards interpretive pluralism
    (pp. 14-30)

    Some – if not all – contemporary wars are conducted for a multiplicity of reasons by an increasingly diverse set of actors. One corollary of this may be a reading of a broader spectrum of political violence which is neither exclusively political nor military, but is in part shaped by cultural and social forces captured in narrative. Even if narrative approaches have a long provenance in other disciplines, they have only recently touched the shores of IR. And yet, an approach which addresses accounts of narrative identity does much to capture the social, cultural and ontological assumptions which inform our...

  6. 2 Kosovo and Chechnya/Kosova and Ichkeria
    (pp. 31-49)

    This chapter will introduce Kosovo and Chechnya as examples of contemporary conflict. Delving into the history and geopolitics of Kosovo and Chechnya will help, insofar as it draws attention to a range of features, as well as a range of similar and dissimilar trends which inscribed the character of violence. These trends and features may be discernible in mythic stories of war and identity. In this way, analysis of geopolitical legacies and historical narratives provides valuable and often neglected insight into both regions. The analysis which follows draws on the account of storied identity, cultural narratives and founding events in...

  7. 3 Regional politics, trans-local identity and history
    (pp. 50-67)

    This chapter introduces some background themes which influence the networks, groups and affiliations, and latterly distinctive armed resistance movements, in the Balkans and the Caucasus in the mid-1990s. In both cases the armed resistance movements emerged against the backdrop of the disintegration of the USSR and Socialist Yugoslavia, but the provenance of each movement needs to be located in a broader frame of late nineteenth- and twentieth-century history. The armed resistance movements became involved in low-level conflicts in Kosovo and Chechnya, and more generally in the neighbouring regions and environs. A number of revolts and insurrections were repeated in the...

  8. 4 Globalisation and conflict: screening war in Kosovo and Chechnya
    (pp. 68-86)

    It may be argued that one of the defining features of contemporary world politics has been the alleged resurgence of insecurity as a source of different forms of war.¹ The end of the Cold War thus led to a reconsideration of questions of meaning in IR, alongside a broader set of debates about ‘asymmetrical’, ‘fourth generation’ and ‘irregular warfare’. At around the same time the Gulf War issued in a consideration about the role of technology, gesturing toward a form of state-to-state conflict shaped by air-power and list-based targeting. However in the years immediately after the Gulf War, US strategy...

  9. 5 Stories of war in the Balkans and Caucasus
    (pp. 87-105)

    A substantial amount of theoretical literature now exists in both International Relations and political theory which explores how culture impacts upon violence. As yet, however, this body of literature has not been applied fully to analyse the move to war in either Kosovo or Chechnya.¹ Aside from exploring the cultural construction of an enemy – enemification – and locating this within a broader body of work on colonialism and post-colonialism, this chapter argues that stories play an important role straddling the divide between culture and politics. In many ways stories interpenetrate these two realms – aided, as mentioned in Chapter...

  10. 6 Criminality and war
    (pp. 106-124)

    So far this book has focused on a range of issues related to narrative and interpretive IR, as ways into analysing contemporary violence. In doing so, attention has been drawn to different levels of analysis, the role of history in the Caucasus and Balkans, and different social, cultural and local forms of identification. In both Kosovo and Chechnya we see contract soldiers, special police units and federal army units fighting against armed resistance movements. The armed resistance movements were, however, made up of a multiplicity of groups and networks, and this, alongside the role of NATO, the UN and other...

  11. 7 The politics of emotionality
    (pp. 125-144)

    This chapter seeks to offer a preliminary discussion of the recent turn to emotions in world politics. The first part of the chapter turns to the politics of emotionality, so as to shed light on how events helped to shape the descent to war in Kosovo and Chechnya. This is important because arguments put forward in theoretical circles, even by those deemed to be critical, often suggest that emotions and international politics pull in different directions. In order to demonstrate a different argument – that politics and emotions are entwined – the chapter turns to four interlinked themes; guilt and...

  12. 8 Networks and narratives: the road to war in the Balkans and Caucasus
    (pp. 145-164)

    The task of this chapter is to map the road to war in the Balkans and Caucasus. In order to do this the chapter is broken down into three constituent parts. Building on the last chapter, the analysis engages with localised social networks which informed the armed resistance movements in Kosovo and Chechnya. Firstly we turn to the battle of Gudermes in Chechnya in 1998, and the incursion into Dagestan in 1999. This demonstrates how the former nationalist-separatist movement fragmented in a number of ways, becoming reconstituted around a broader anti-Russian regional narrative. The chapter then turns to explore the...

  13. Conclusion: reclaiming global politics
    (pp. 165-168)

    Following the First World War, countries across Europe were met with unprecedented challenges from new political ideologies; namely Communism and Fascism. Throughout 1934, following the general elections in November 1933, violence in parts of Spain erupted. By 1936, the steady decline into chaos was replaced with the start of a full-blooded civil war. Although subsumed in literature about the Second World War, historians have raised questions about the origins and implications of the Spanish Civil War, asking, for instance, how the local milieu impacted upon the character of the conflict and why left-wing volunteers – including dozens of Albanian and...

  14. Select bibliography
    (pp. 169-170)
  15. Index
    (pp. 171-182)