The Politics of Haunting and Memory in International Relations  book cover
1st Edition

The Politics of Haunting and Memory in International Relations

ISBN 9780415720397
Published March 19, 2014 by Routledge
190 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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.

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


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


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