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State, Sovereignty, War

State, Sovereignty, War: Civil Violence in Emerging Global Realities

Edited by Bruce Kapferer
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    State, Sovereignty, War
    Book Description:

    The very institution of the state is widely conceived of as inseparable from war. If it constitutes peace within the borders or order of its sovereignty, this very peace may be the condition for its potential for war with those other states and social formation outside it. This volume represents different analytical standpoints and positions within global processes, inviting further discussion on contemporary realities and the development of new formations of war and violence.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-862-9
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[vi])
  3. Introduction: Old Permutations, New Formations? War, State, and Global Transgression
    (pp. 1-15)
    Bruce Kapferer

    The very institution of the state is widely conceived of as inseparable from war. If it constitutes peace within the borders or order of its sovereignty, this very peace may be the condition for its potential for war with those other states and social formations outside it. Indeed, in different state systems their very internal order depended on predation beyond their borders. The one was the function of the other. Since ancient times it has been observed that the distribution of wealth within states, even the creation of what the Greeks recognized as democracy, was critically related to the perpetration...

  4. Deterritorialized Wars of Public Safety
    (pp. 16-28)
    Allen Feldman

    New strategies for the reproduction of American state sovereignty have emerged in the last decade or so which can be characterized as deterritorialized campaigns of public safety. These wars are not exclusively focused on territorial conquest, or on an easily locatable or identifiable enemy with its own respective goals of territorial conquest. Rather, they are focused on countering imputed territorial contamination and transgression—‘terrorist,’ demographic and biological infiltration. These campaigns are not structured by time-limited political goals but are temporally open-ended. They are not solely geostrategic instruments—a means to a political end but function as cultural imaginaries. Deterritorialized wars...

  5. Where’s Jessica? Myth, Nation, and War in America’s Heartland
    (pp. 29-36)
    Charles W. Brown

    On any day now when troops are returning from their invasion of Iraq, stories appearing in any local newspaper will show happy tears shed by wives, children hugging daddy (or mommy) squeaky clean in uniform, and commentators will pour words of praise over the heroes, sparing no breath in declaring the invasion a brave war against evil, the defense of freedom, another sacrifice played out in America’s long tradition of wars. They will be words drawn from America’s grand heroic narrative. God is thanked. Freedom becomes the guiding white light that shines in the ruddy faces of America’s new heroes....

  6. Wars, Europe, and Visions of the World
    (pp. 37-45)
    Yngve Lithman

    What continuities or transformations are taking place in Europe at this particular moment of time when conflicts and wars appear to be linked with new developments in the global political order and redefinitions of state systems? Is Europe, its nation-states or the European Union, in fact becoming subordinate or subaltern in U.S. global domination? Or is Europe embarked on a separate development, realizing other values? Are such questions even appropriate to ask when apparently global processes dismantle the transcendent power of the nation-state? To answer them, the broader relation of Europe to its history of war is important, for it...

  7. Invisible Empires
    (pp. 46-55)
    Carolyn Nordstrom

    Trillions of dollars move through the world’s markets illegally, and millions of people work in extra-state activities. They move everything from the dangerous (narcotics, toxic wastes, arms) through the luxurious (diamonds and art) to the necessary and the mundane (food, clothing, and electronics). Not only are fortunes made on these profits—empires are built. Empires that are, for various reasons, largely invisible. Illegal transactions are generally embedded in networks that span the globe. The most successful of these networks control finances and resources larger than many of the world’s countries. They can quite literally develop or cripple national emergent economies....

  8. Market Forces, Political Violence, and War: The End of Nation-States, the Rise of Ethnic and Global Sovereignties?
    (pp. 56-74)
    Caroline Ifeka

    In the post–Cold War era, political violence associated with wars of gain is key to economic and political transformations across nation-states.¹ Under the ‘Pax Americana’ multinational corporations interacting in ‘old boy’ networks of the global capitalist class control armaments, oil production, and cyberspace. Industrial and military multinationals as well as global financial institutions, are extending their decision-making structures while becoming more concentrated;² there is a “hyperconcentration of (unregulated) economic and military power” predominantly Euro-American (Virilio 1997: 99). Global militarization legitimized in discourses of ‘protecting freedom’ secures world oil and gas resources for Euro-American and Sinic industrial use, promotes corporate...

  9. Reflections on War and State and the Sudan
    (pp. 75-88)
    Leif Manger

    One characteristic of ‘the new wars’ is that they are often about identity politics, i.e., the quest for power is couched in terms of exclusion and inclusion of people in various groups. But although wars and violence can be explained with reference to ethnicity, i.e., cultural factors, it must also be taken as a language with which other things—economic, material, and political—are being addressed. First, ethnicity is a relational concept that explains such relationships as ethnic. But although it is imagined, it is real in terms of mobilizing individual people on the bases of a history of common...

  10. Militarized Democracies: The Neoliberal Mexican State and the Chiapas Uprising
    (pp. 89-106)
    Heidi Moksnes

    The neoliberal state, this article argues, displays structural contradictions between the need to create economic stability and the demand to display democratic structures where the human rights of the citizens are respected. As the discourse of human rights is increasingly used also by marginalized groups, the apparent convergence in human rights objectives may be a dangerous illusion.

    The last few decades, economic crises and the expansion of neoliberal market economy have transformed Latin American states from reasonably sovereign, authoritarian entities to ones highly dependent on international economic institutions and markets. Governments have become accountable not only, or perhaps even primarily,...

  11. Muthanga: A Spark of Hope
    (pp. 107-124)
    K. Ravi Raman

    On 19 February 2003, the armed police of the currently rightwing government of the Indian state of Kerala descended on over one thousandadivasi¹ families—men, women and children—who had peacefully settled on the fringes of the Muthanga range of the Wayanad Wild Life Sanctuary, driving them out in a most brutal fashion and even killing one of those women who resisted. The state had failed to give any prior warning of the police action, nor was any attempt made toward a mediated negotiation. The police unleashed a reign of terror in the region; physical molestation of women was...

  12. Kings or Presidents? War and the State in Pre- and Post-Genocidal Rwanda
    (pp. 125-136)
    Christopher C. Taylor

    For theorists of the state and war inspired by Michel Foucault, the central issue is power. For Foucault there is no individual subject constructed in the absence of power, and no social institution that does not bear the imprint of historical struggles over power (Foucault 1979). With power so pervasively infusing human experience, there appears to be little need of talking about anything else. Power is everywhere. History is the chronicle of the struggle for power among individuals and groups. Taken to its logical conclusion, this perspective on human social life ends up sounding very much like the Hobbesian “war...

  13. Chaos, Conspiracy, and Spectacle: The Russian War against Chechnya
    (pp. 137-146)
    Jakob Rigi

    During the winter of 1995, I spent time with Chechen and Russian activists jointly campaigning against the first Chechen war, which was then in full swing. They demanded the immediate end to the war as they held rallies and handed out leaflets in public squares, factories, and schools. What was striking in the Chechen activists’ analysis was that they considered the war to be one fought by bandits. In their conception, it was a war between the bandits in Moscow and the Chechen bandits, and they depicted both Yeltsin¹ and Dudaev² as godfathers. They argued that they and the Russians...

  14. About a Wall
    (pp. 147-158)
    Glenn Bowman

    In the summer of 2003, I spent several weeks in Beit Sahour, the town in which I’ve carried out fieldwork since the late 1980s, observing—amongst other things—the rapacious hunger with which Israel’s ‘Anti-Terrorist Fence’ (more commonly known as ‘the Wall’) consumed Palestinian lands and infrastructure, biting off roads, wells, housing projects, community centers, and other supports of Palestinian life on the West Bank.¹ On the northern border of Beit Sahour the Wall was for the most part a bulldozed strip of between 20 and 40 meters in width, containing two 3-meter barbed-wire-topped fences, a ditch, another fence with...

  15. Paramilitaries of the Empire: Guatemala, Colombia, and Israel
    (pp. 159-166)
    Staffan Löfving

    Analysts of war and states construe paramilitary violence in terms of excessive responses to insurgencies too powerful to be quelled by means of conventional warfare (see, for example, Sluka 2000). But the case of the crumbling state of Colombia hints at a more complex relationship between the various practitioners of political violence; what used to be state-sanctioned rural militias are building their own political platform and claiming a place in the troubled negotiations between state and insurgency. This short essay grapples with the paramilitary function of state power in two Latin American countries that survived the Cold War, wounded but...

  16. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 167-170)