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Aff Answers

Perm – Terrorism Aff

The perm solves best – class analysis on its own is too reductionist. Combining both methods is best able to address the complexities of the war on terror.


Herring, Professor of International Politics at the University of Bristol, 2008 [Eric, “Critical terrorism studies: an activist scholar perspective”, Critical Studies on Terrorism,1:2, 197 — 211]
Those who ‘do’ historical materialist analysis generally do not ‘do’ security studies. This is mainly for political reasons, in that they see it overwhelmingly as a field which serves primarily as an instrument of class domination, and for intellectual reasons, in that the concept of security is seen as a relatively unsatisfying one for theorising about world politics. The problem with this approach is that students new to security studies will effectively, even if unintentionally and despite Booth’s assertion to the contrary, be guided to the conclusion that they have little to learn from historical materialism and do not need to think about class and capitalism. Path dependency – roads more and less travelled – will operate in a powerful way. For example, the ‘Approaches to Security’ section of the first edition of the Collins Contemporary Security Studies (2007) textbook effectively sets out security studies as involving choices between a traditional state-centric realist-liberal framing, a discursive-constructivist critical framing, or one focused thematically on peace studies, gender, securitisation, or human security. Marxism is discussed briefly in the traditional approaches chapter which is structured around realism and liberalism. The lessons for the emergent field of critical terrorism studies are clear. Bringing the state back into terrorism studies is valuable, but not enough – what is required is a class analysis of the state and terrorism, one that is historically specific to the changing dynamics of capitalist globalisation, and one which considers the ways that terrorism can be a tactic of all sides in class conflict, rather than just a tactic of a subordinate class. Such a perspective would distinguish it sharply from mainstream terrorism studies up to now. It would also provide it with a way of describing, explaining, and challenging Northern state terrorism, because it would frame it in terms of the extent to which it is functional for shoring up or challenging exploitative relations which favour capital over labour. The good news is that the work of scholars such as Stokes (2005, 2006) and Blakeley (2007, forthcoming) is leading the way, building on the work of Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, and ensuring that critical terrorism studies has a major strand which puts the discursive and ideological into the context of US-led capitalist globalisation and associated class relations. Bringing class back in begs the question of what one means by class, of course. This is a huge question far beyond the scope of this article. What can be said here is that while class has an important economic dimension, it is not reducible to economics with the non-economic separate and secondary. As Overbeek (2004, p. 3) puts it: Class is a broad and inclusive concept that refers to the situation of human beings in the social relations through which they produce and reproduce their existence, and by which they are in turn constituted as social beings. These social relations of (re-)production are hierarchical and exploitative. They are furthermore guaranteed by the state: in the era of the dominance of capitalist social relations, they are guaranteed by the capitalist state. A whole host of related issues must be addressed, such as how many classes there are, how distinct they are, how movement occurs between them, the extent to which and the ways in which classes are antagonistic, how particular social formations are stabilised through means such as class compromises compared with the threat or use of coercive means such as terrorism, the relationships between classes and elites (i.e. social and agentic concentrations of power of whatever kind), how classes are organised within and across states, how they can be united on some things and divided on others, and how those divisions may be objective or perceptual. The class role that terrorism plays may be functional or dysfunctional and driven by complex interaction of fractions of classes and elites (subnational, national, transnational), and progressive or reactionary opposition. States may tolerate or promote progressive developments such as a move from dictatorship to liberal democracy. A class analysis would expect in general terms that this will occur only when ruling class power is not threatened or where it simply lacks sufficient power to prevent those developments. Consideration will also need to be given to understanding when and how forces such as nationalism, ethnicity, religion, or sect can be the primary dynamic shaping resort or non-resort to terrorism. A guard must also be maintained against a tendency often associated with historical materialist perspectives of undervaluing liberal democracy and other often progressive aspects of liberalism. Bringing class back in does not mean class reductionism: terrorism is not all about class. The point being made here is the rejection of the implicit assumption that class has nothing to do with terrorism, including Northern state terrorism, or only plays a role in class rebellion from below. By Northern states, I mean industrial and post-industrial capitalist ones. They may be liberal democratic or authoritarian, although they are overwhelmingly in the former group. Hence, it is not a geographical category, as such states can be located in the southern hemisphere (such as Australia). By Southern states, I mean those with low levels of industrial and post-industrial capitalist development. The North is more or less a post-Cold War synonym for ‘Western’, though with the obvious qualification that there is no non-capitalist East with which it is struggling for the political, military, and economic allegiance of a Third World. Instead, the United States is trying to balance its own interests, with keeping the other Northern democratic states on board while engaging with the structural shift associated with China’s increasingly global version of authoritarian Northern capitalism. The ‘North’ and the ‘Global North’ are frequently used as synonyms (the latter being the trendy version): the problem with this approach is that the phrase ‘Global North’ is useful to encapsulate the fact that within Northern states substantial elements of society are part of the Global South, defined as those which are marginal to advanced capitalism, impoverished and policed, or just ignored. Their poverty, hunger, ill health, and shortened life spans can be witnessed across the world. Equally, within Southern states there are substantial elements of society which are part of the Global North, defined as those which are deeply integrated into advanced capitalism, wealthy, and on behalf of which the Global South is policed, securitised, and if necessary repressed. The people of the Global North and Global South correspond roughly to Duffield’s (2007) categories of insured and uninsured or surplus life (for an application to post-invasion Iraq, see Herring, forthcoming). As such, it is above all a class rather than a geographical distinction, or a distinction between types of state. Within this system, terrorism can be a means of capital accumulation by violent and intimidatory dispossession, opposition to it, or part of a bid to take part in it. Nevertheless, the world is structured and stratified around multiple inequalities and critical terrorism studies needs to be attentive to what they are and how they relate to the use and non-use of terrorism. A particularly important inequality which critical terrorism studies ought to challenge is the operation of the categories of worthy and unworthy victims.




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