Notes on a Theory…

Thoughts on politics, law, & social science

Posts Tagged ‘terrorism

How are the political effects of “terrorism” produced?

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1. Everyone will know about it as media will continually harp on it, while other significant things are barely mentioned. Indeed, if something that otherwise would garner attention happens in the wake of such an event, it will largely be ignored. Note that this does not mean all things that could be labeled terrorism will get this attention or even be labeled as such.

2. That said, it is important to see that  the media is less a conduit for information than of interpretations.

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Written by David Kaib

March 22, 2016 at 5:08 pm

Top Five Posts that No One Read: 2012

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I may post the top posts from the past year based on views, but I first thought I might do a list of posts that didn’t get much traffic that I wish had. Here they are, in no particular order. [This post edited slightly]

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Written by David Kaib

December 27, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Fear: A Brief 9-11 Reflection

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Yesterday, I saw police in armor with automatic weapons on both legs of my commute. They were not near any military installation, government building, or anything like that. They were pacing aggressively, as if a serious threat could pop up at any moment (presumably not the bombers we’re warned about on the Metro every day with a recording by Janet Napolitano).

I’m OK with never forgetting.

But how about ending being so fearful.

Written by David Kaib

September 12, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Discourse on Terrorism and Law as Objects of Analysis (Great Footnotes in History)

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This footnote, from Lisa Stampnitzky’s excellent article Disciplining an Unruly Field: Terrorism Experts and Theories of Scientific/Intellectual Production (pdf), deserves some additional attention in its own right, beyond the specifics of the field or terrorism studies:

As I worked on this project, two questions have been posed to me repeatedly: What is terrorism? And who is a terrorism expert? One set of askers takes these questions as the presumed conclusion to my study: what is terrorism, really? And who are (really) terrorism experts? The second set of interlocutors, meanwhile, takes these questions as necessary preliminaries to the study: how do I assign values to these concepts, so that they might be measured and analyzed? The goal of this project is indeed to investigate terrorism, but not in either of the ways presumed above. Rather, the study takes as its object these very questions, asking how and why they have become meaningful.  To clarify, I do not seek to determine who is “really” an expert; the processes through which this question is contested are, rather, the core of what I observe and try to explain. When I speak of “experts,” I refer to the pool of those treated as experts and those hoping/trying to be treated as experts; with “expertise” being the products, findings, knowledge, statements of these populations. [my emphases]

I can relate.  My dissertation research focused on how reformers sought to achieve reform, and how those seeking reform and those seeking to block it contested the boundaries between law and politics in order to legitimate their own positions and delegitimate the other side’s positions.  But what others often either interpreted me as asking, or presumed I should have been asking, was how such efforts impacted judicial decision-making. This was all the more odd since ultimately the litigation was resolved through settlements, which is the norm.  That framework organized much of our thinking about politics, and it’s difficult to break free of it. (I’ve also argued decision-making as a concept is incoherent and undefended, but I’ll save that for another post.)

I think including a statement about how, if at all, your project has been misunderstood would be a valuable thing in books or articles presenting scholarly work that challenges conventional ways of thinking.

Written by David Kaib

August 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm

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