Emotions, Politics and War: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Emotions, Politics and War

1st Edition

Edited by Linda Åhäll, Thomas Gregory


240 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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A growing number of scholars have sought to re-centre emotions in our study of international politics, however an overarching book on how emotions matter to the study of politics and war is yet to be published. This volume is aimed at filling that gap, proceeding from the assumption that a nuanced understanding of emotions can only enhance our engagement with contemporary conflict and war.

Providing a range of perspectives from a diversity of methodological approaches on the conditions, maintenance and interpretation of emotions, the contributors interrogate the multiple ways in which emotions function and matter to the study of global politics. Accordingly, the innovative contribution of this volume is its specific engagement with the role of emotions and constitution of emotional subjects in a range of different contexts of politics and war, including the gendered nature of war and security; war traumas; post-conflict reconstruction; and counterinsurgency operations.

Looking at how we analyse emotions in war, why it matters, and what emotions do in global politics, this volume will be of interest to students and scholars of critical security studies and international relations alike.


'This multi-disciplinary collection effectively hits every dimension of its title. It contains incisive engagements with concepts and illustrations of emotions, politics and war. It will serve as an outstanding text for scholars and students interested in a philosophically attuned approach to war’s experiential implications.' - Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai’i at Manoa

'In this valuable contribution to the emerging field of scholarship at the nexus of experience, aesthetics, and war, Åhäll and Gregory provide a unique collection of essays that engage questions of what it means to be human, to whom we grant that standing, and how we might first admit, and then make sense of, the darkly pleasurable horrors of violence. The authors offer a range of methodologies to better understand how we might theorise emotions, showing that there is much to be learned from mixed-method, multidisciplinary approaches to the tangled emotionality of war.' - Laura J. Shepherd, Associate Professor of International Relations at UNSW Australia

‘If emotions have never been missing from our politics, or our very experience of existence, why have they been missing from our knowledge? In an age increasingly without bearings, this splendid and important work offers an authoritative guide for understanding the emotional political of war’ Anthony Burke, Associate Professor International and Political Studies Program at UNSW, Australia

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Mapping emotions, politics and warLinda Åhäll and Thomas Gregory A. Researching Emotions 2. The remains of the day - Brian Massumi, 3. Stories of pain and longing: reflecting on emotion, boundaries and feminism through Carrie Mathison and Carrie White - Marysia Zalewski 4. Human dignity, basal emotion and a global emotionology - Karin M. Fierke 5. Embodiment, emotions, and materialism in International Relations - Ty Solomon 6. Anger, war and feminist storytelling - Swati Parashar 7. On ’being bored’ - Street ethnography on emotions in Banda Acehafter the tsunami and conflict - Marjaana Jauhola 8. Experimenting with emotions - Rose McDermott B. Emotionality and War 9. Compassionate soldiering and comfort - Julia Welland 10. Waiting for war: Soldiering, temporality and the gendered politics of boredom and joy in military spaces - Victoria M. Basham 11. Making war work: Resilience, emotional fitness, and affective economies in Western militariesAlison Howell 12. 'Every man jack of them tried their damndest to control their emotions': Grief in the 1982 Falklands war - Helen Parr 13. Constructing crises and articulating affect after 9/11 - Jack Holland 14. Photographing war: Don McCullin, Vietnam and the politics of emotionThomas Gregory 15. Exposed images of war - Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet and Andreja Zevnik 16. Grief and the transformation of emotions after war - Emma Hutchison and Roland Bleiker 17. Concluding reflectionLinda Åhäll and Thomas Gregory

About the Editors

Linda Ahall is a Lecturer in International Relations at Keele University, UK.

Thomas Gregory is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Auckland University, New Zealand.

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies