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Liberal militarism as insecurity, desire and ambivalence: gender, race and the everyday geopolitics of war

Basham, Victoria M. ORCID: 2018. Liberal militarism as insecurity, desire and ambivalence: gender, race and the everyday geopolitics of war. Security Dialogue 49 (1-2) , pp. 32-43. 10.1177/0967010617744977

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The use and maintenance of military force as a means of achieving security makes the identity and continued existence of states as legitimate protectors of populations intelligible. In liberal democracies, where individual freedom is the condition of existence, citizens, have to be motivated to cede some of that freedom in exchange for security, however. Accordingly, liberal militarism becomes possible only when military action and preparedness become meaningful responses to threats posed to the social body, not just the state, meaning that it relies on co-constitutive practices of the geopolitical and the everyday. Through a feminist discursive analysis of British airstrikes in Syria, and attendant debates on Syrian refugees, I examine how liberal militarism is animated through these co-constitutive sites, with differential effects. Paying particular attention to gender and race, I argue that militarism is an outcome of social practices characterized as much by everyday desires and ambivalence as fear and bellicosity. Moreover, I aim to show how the diffuse and often uneven effects liberal militarism produces actually make many liberal subjects less secure. I suggest therefore that despite the claims of liberal states that military power provides security, for many, militarism is insecurity.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Publisher: SAGE Publications (UK and US)
ISSN: 0967-0106
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 October 2017
Date of Acceptance: 9 October 2017
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 08:46

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