Politics of the Event

Time, Movement, Becoming

By Tom Lundborg

© 2012 – Routledge

142 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415721622
pub: 2013-06-25
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780415579346
pub: 2011-12-15
US Dollars$145.00

About the Book

Despite occupying a central role and frequently being used in the study of international politics, the concept of the "event" remains in many ways unchallenged and unexplored. By combining the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and his concept of the event with the example of 9/11 as an historical event, this book problematises the role and meaning of "events" in international politics.

Lundborg seeks to demonstrate how the historical event can be analysed as a practice of inscribing temporal borders and distinctions. Specifically he shows how this practice relies upon an ongoing process of capturing various movements – of thought, sense, experience and becoming. However the book also demonstrates how these same movements express a life and reality that elude complete capture, highlighting the potential for alternative encounters with the event, encounters that constantly threaten to undermine the limits and imaginary completeness of the historical event.

This book offers an exciting new way of thinking about the politics of encountering events, arguing that at the heart of such encounters there are always elements of uncertainty and contingency that cannot be fully resolved or fixed. It will be of great interest to students and scholars of international relations, cultural studies and history.


For some time international studies discipilnes have needed a perspicuous account and application of thinking in time - thinking the "event" a la Deleuze - as an antidote to simplistic geopolitical frames for analyzing global conflicts. Tom Lundborg's Politics of the Event fulfills that need admirably.

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i

Tom Lundborg shows us how to think with and about Deleuze’s philosophy of the event. He also offers a series of profound, disturbing and sometimes moving meditations on the ‘event’ of September 11, 2001. Drawing on Deleuze’s, distinction between historical and ‘pure’ events, as well as associated concepts such as actualization, becoming and folding, this book is a challenge as well as a guide to thinking differently about events. It will be valuable to anyone with an interest in the nature of the events that punctuate our political and social life, but especially to those in the fields of politics and international relations, philosophy and social theory.

Paul Patton, Professor of Philosophy, University of New South Wales

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: the historical event and the pure event 2. Something abstract yet real: paradoxes and movements of the pure event 3. Returning, rebuilding, reimagining: actualization and counter-actualization 4. The becoming of 9/11 5. The politics of folding 6. Another politics of the event 7. Conclusion: within and beyond the limits of the historical event

About the Author

Tom Lundborg is a research fellow at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Sweden.

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 (jennyedkins@hotmail.com) and
  • Nick Vaughan-Williams (N.Vaughan-Williams@Warwick.ac.uk).

‘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 / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General