Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Research Student: Dr Bradley Evans

War for the Politics of Life

Photo of Dr Bradley Evans

This thesis provided a theoretical and empirical interrogation into the current Global State of War. It assumed a distinctly political perspective by investigating the intimate (dis)connections which exist between Liberalism, Security, Violence, and Difference. The global Liberal problematic of security, which was understood bio-politically through the changes in the life sciences, was central to these investigations. This research thus moved beyond the negative lacuna of sovereign power, to understand how the subjective categorisations of authenticity and falsehood can be understood in relation to exigencies of life. Bio-political security in this way was presented to be a highly contested global principle of formation, which in the process of letting things happen invoked certain notions of human necessity in order to abandon the political. The thesis argued that this rewriting of the security agenda displaced political subjectivity and ontological claims to difference. It made the Homo Oeconomicus the only basis for a calculable and contingent reality. The thesis argued that through these processes a marked distinction is necessarily offered in terms of violence. Liberal violence can be fully sanctioned while all alternative violence is routinely disqualified. Whilst these neat and holistic modes of separation are predicated on difference, by focusing on the Islamic movement Hamas and the Zapatistas evidence was presented to illustrate why forms of violence should not be explained through modes of separation (reasoned/pathological). In thoroughly modernist terms, the violence associated with movements such as Hamas is not a relationship of difference, but of similitude. These claims of violent reciprocity were further substantiated and given more critical depth by exploring the connections between non-violence and difference. The Zapatista uprising provided a meaningful comparison in this regard by illustrating how a commitment to the politics of difference makes non-violence possible. This suggested that if we afford ontological priority to difference political comparisons can be made between insurgency movements worldwide. To conclude the thesis called for a return of the political into conflict analysis. This would be a necessary step in the creation of a new ontological humanism, which does not serve to dehumanise political subjects, but affirms life by giving ethical priority to ontological difference.

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