Economy of force: counterinsurgency and the historical rise of the social

Owens, Patricia (2015) Economy of force: counterinsurgency and the historical rise of the social. Studies in International Relations . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

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Abstract

This radical new history and theory of counterinsurgency has major implications for social, political and international thought. Retrieving the older but surprisingly neglected language of household governance, Economy of Force shows how the techniques and domestic ideologies of household administration are highly portable and play a remarkably central role in international and imperial relations. In two late-colonial British emergencies in Malaya and Kenya, US counterinsurgency in Vietnam, and US-led campaigns in Afghanistan, and Iraq, armed social work was the continuation of oikonomia - not politics -by other means. Though never wholly succeeding, counterinsurgents drew on and innovated forms of household governance to create units of rule in which local populations were domesticated: through the selective delivery and withholding of humanitarian supplies and inside and through small-scale family homes, detention and concentration camps, depopulation and re-concentration in new villages and strategic hamlets, the creation or shaping of tribes and sectarian militias, and at the largest scale inside newly formed or reformed post-colonial and/or post-war national-states. Military strategists conceived population control as sociological warfare because the social realm itself and distinctly social thought are modern forms of oikonomikos, the art and science of household rule. There is an important story to be told of when and why the social realm first emerged as the domain through which human life could be intervened in and transformed. Economy of Force tells this story in terms of modern transformations in and violent crises of household forms of rule.

Item Type: Book
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Subjects: D History General and Old World
H Social Sciences
J Political Science
U Military Science
Depositing User: Patricia Owens
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2015 10:33
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2015 13:45
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/49250
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