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Figuring Violence: Affective Investments in Perpetual War (Paperback)

Figuring Violence: Affective Investments in Perpetual War By Rebecca A. Adelman Cover Image
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In the United States, the early years of the war on terror were marked by the primacy of affects like fear and insecurity. These aligned neatly with the state's drive toward intensive securitization and an aggressive foreign policy. But for the broader citizenry, such affects were tolerable at best and unbearable at worst; they were not sustainable. Figuring Violence catalogs the affects that define the latter stages of this war and the imaginative work that underpins them. These affects--apprehension, affection, admiration, gratitude, pity, and righteous anger--are far more subtle and durable than their predecessors, rendering them deeply compatible with the ambitions of a state embroiling itself in a perpetual and unwinnable war.

Surveying the cultural landscape of this sprawling conflict, Figuring Violence reveals the varied mechanisms by which these affects have been militarized. Rebecca Adelman tracks their convergences around six types of beings: civilian children, military children, military spouses, veterans with PTSD and TBI, Guant namo detainees, and military dogs. All of these groups have become preferred objects of sentiment in wartime public culture, but they also have in common their status as political subjects who are partially or fully unknowable. They become visible to outsiders through a range of mediated and imaginative practices that are ostensibly motivated by concern or compassion. However, these practices actually function to reduce these beings to abstracted figures, silencing their political subjectivities and obscuring their suffering. As a result, they are erased and rendered hypervisible at once. Figuring Violence demonstrates that this dynamic ultimately propagates the very militarism that begets their victimization.

About the Author

Rebecca A. Adelman is Associate Professor of Media and Communication Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is the author of Beyond the Checkpoint: Visual Practices in America's Global War on Terror.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780823281688
ISBN-10: 082328168X
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Publication Date: November 20th, 2018
Pages: 352
Language: English