The Politics of Haunting and Memory in International Relations: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

The Politics of Haunting and Memory in International Relations

1st Edition

By Jessica Auchter


178 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415791151
pub: 2017-02-06
Hardback: 9780415720397
pub: 2014-03-10
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pub: 2014-03-21
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International Relations has traditionally focused on conflict and war, but the effects of violence including dead bodies and memorialization practices have largely been considered beyond the purview of the field. Drawing on Jacques Derrida’s notion of hauntology to consider the politics of life and death, Auchter traces the story of how life and death and a clear division between the two is summoned in the project of statecraft. She argues that by letting ourselves be haunted, or looking for ghosts, it is possible to trace how statecraft relies on the construction of such a dichotomy.

Three empirical cases offer fertile ground for complicating the picture often painted of memorialization: Rwandan genocide memorials, the underexplored case of undocumented immigrants who die crossing the US-Mexico border, and the body/ruins nexus in 9/11 memorialization.

Focusing on the role of dead bodies and the construction of particular spaces as the appropriate sites for memory to be situated, it offers an alternative take on the new materialisms movement in international relations by asking after the questions that arise from an ethnographic approach to the subject: viewing things from the perspective of dead bodies, who occupy the shadowy world of post-conflict international politics. This work will be of great interest to students and scholars of critical international relations, security studies, statecraft and memory studies.


5.0 out of 5 stars Quite Extraordinary - a Pioneering Book - Builds on Others But Original and Compelling It Its Own Right - Robert Steele, Public Intelligence Blog

Table of Contents

1. Ghostly Politics: An Introduction, 2. ‘We’re All of Us Haunting and Haunted’, 3. Border Monuments: Memory, Counter-Memory, and (b)Ordering practices along the US-Mexico Border, 4. Bones in a Brown Bag: Haunting and the Place of the Body in Rwandan Genocide Memorialization, 5. Vanishing Monuments: Absence and 9/11 Memorialization, 6. Conclusions: After Ghostly Politics

About the Author

Jessica Auchter is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

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:

  • Jenny Edkins ( and
  • Nick Vaughan-Williams (

‘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:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General