The Biopolitics of Soldiering and Torture in the British Armed Forces

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by BuggerAll, Feb 23, 2010.

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  1. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    The Biopolitics of Soldiering and Torture in the British Armed Forces

    A Paper Prepared for Presentation at the ISA Annual Convention 2009, New
    York City, 15-18 February 2009.

    Dr Victoria Basham
    Research Fellow, Department of Politics, University of Bristol & External
    Affiliate, Centre for International and Security Studies, York University

    Victoria.Basham@bristol.ac.uk

    Abstract:

    In 2008, the British Army published its response to human rights abuses and killings of Iraqi civilians perpetrated by its soldiers between 2003 and 2004. The report quickly moves to a ‘bad apple’ explanation, suggesting only ‘endemic’ abuse would be sufficient grounds for organisational change. Blame is thus located solely in those directly involved. These soldiers, the British Army claims, must have deviated from core values and standards, lacked psychological strength, or wrongly applied treatment they could be subjected to by the ‘enemy other’ to civilians they confused with that ‘enemy other’. These explanations constitute the perpetrators are sovereign individuals, whose violence relates to the exceptional, the emergency and the spectre of the protean terrorist enemy. However, by undertaking a biopolitical analysis of these claims, this paper explores how wider relationships of power, in which the state of exception, emergency and siege have become routinised grounds for violence, enable these acts to be constituted as individual. Seen this way, torture is no longer beyond the control or culpability of the Army as institution. However, neither can it be removed from the political-spatial dimension in which it took place; in the context of the so-called ‘war on terror’. The paper concludes by theorising the implications of this reading for the resistance of torture.

    You can read the whole thing by following the links at the top or on this site here. It would be glib to say that Dr Basham has tortured our language far more than any prisoner at the hands of the brutal soldiery but I warn you that its pretty hard going and mostly drivel. I wish I could get someone to pay me to come up with tosh like this.
     
  2. Just 'cos she didn't pass selection for Bristol UOTC...

    CW

    Quis Separabit
    Vestigia Nulla Retrorsum
     
  3. Awesome.

    "Biopolitics"?

    Almost as good as Astrology in the "Avoiding-getting-a-proper-job" stakes.
     
  4. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    She has a proper job. At least in as much as she is getting plenty of proper money from the tax payer for doing what she does.
     
  5. I understand none of that, what does biopolitics means

    Why are 99% of PhDs a pointless waste of time etc
     
  6. I read the entire thing and my teeth started to hurt at page 2: A flawed piece of sh1t from start to finish - particularly her comments on a colonialising army.

    "My research draws on feminist and Foucauldian theory to examine how geopolitical events shape daily life and how daily life can, in turn, affect geopolitical outcomes. More specifically, I am interested in the intersections between identity markers (gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality and social class), and the prioritisation, use and perpetration of military force and practices in liberal democratic societies.
    I have recently published articles on how gender, racism and heterosexism sustain militarism in armed forces and society and I am currently working on a monograph entitled ‘War, Identity and the Liberal State’. I am also working on articles that explore how gender and imperialism influence responses to military atrocities, and on how particular understandings of subjectivity are implied and facilitated in counter-terrorism measures.
    I am also very interested in feminist and reflexive methodlogy and in qualitative approaches in political research."

    http://huss.exeter.ac.uk/politics/staff/basham/

    Dr Victoria Basham was appointed Lecturer in Politics at the University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus in September 2009. She joins us from the University of Bristol where she graduated with a BSc in Social Policy and Politics before going on to complete her PhD on social diversity in the British Armed Forces and an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the same institution. Victoria is also an External Associate at the Centre for International and Security Studies, York University, Toronto, where she spent time as a visiting scholar in 2007 and 2008.
    Victoria’s research draws on feminist and Foucauldian theory to examine how geopolitical events shape daily life and how daily life can, in turn, affect geopolitical outcomes. She has recently published articles on how gender, racism and heterosexism sustain militarism in armed forces and society and is currently working on a monograph entitled ‘War, Identity and the Liberal State’, based on her doctoral work. She is also working on articles that explore how gender and imperialism influence responses to military atrocities, and on how particular understandings of subjectivity are implied and facilitated in counter-terrorism measures. Victoria has written for The Guardian and welcomes media enquiries on civil-military relations, counter-terrorism and wider security issues.

    p://www.exeter.ac.uk/cornwall/academic_departments/huss/politics/staff_profiles.shtml

    She is getting paid for this drivel FFS.
     
  7. You could probably get a PhD in the study of why 99% of PhDs are a waste of time. And in all probability get a grant to do it, as long as you were doing it for a Lesbian Outreach Socialist Co-operative or somesuch.
     
  8. At last the waste products of horses are good for roses.
     
  9. Go on, admit it. How many of you have googled "Foucaldian Theory" ?







    Just me, then. I'll save you the effort. Don't bother.
     
  10. Just a hunch, but possibly crap politics recycled. :D
     
  11. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    I'm afraid I did but was too thick to understand the answers I got. Which is of course the point of using big academic sounding words with obscure meanings. Very hard to challenge some one if you don't understand what they are saying. You open yourself up to sounding thick.
     
  12. Doesn't pass the SMOG test....
     
  13. Me too! And rather proud to be so! Researching a little further Foucaldian is apparently now rather less thought of than Post-Foucaldian, which will no doubt with greater funding become Neo-Foucaldian, and possibly Modernist Foucaldian. The sensible thing may be to wait for the Post-Modernism Foucaldian.

    A fairly reliable definition of all might be intellectual fundraising horseshit, with a writing style not dissimilar to extreme Islamists when ranting about the simple need to top their enemies!

    I must ask a "proper PhD or DSc " about this. My feelings are that this stuff is largely the "Degree in Macdonald's culture" taken to an different (though not higher), level of unintelligable but equally useless pretension.

    The ultimate answers to the questions will no doubt be apparent to any bright "A" level student of Shakespeare.
     
  14. Because if you want the wheat, you have to accept the chaff. Or, more simply, because 99% of all human thought is a pointless waste of time.

    If you think about it, how many billions of hours of thought went into mathematics, physics, metallurgy, und so weiter and how many of them actually contributed to lighter than air travel, space flight and teflon?

    As a species, 'pointless waste of time' is a pretty good summary. It's what we do best.