Title of project: Ethical Encounters – Time and Biopolitics in Afghanistan
My research interrogates the logics that underpin the current interventions in Afghanistan. Looking at the ways in which security and development have become increasingly inter-related in the current conflict, my research looks at the implications of this blurring between war-making and peace-building efforts. Drawing on critical theory perspectives, particularly post-structuralist and post-colonial approaches, my research is interested in the ways in which various identities have been mobilised and enacted in the conflict as we negotiate the tension of killing some lives in order to let others live. Central to this research is exploring how ‘life’ or the ‘human’ has come to be understood as an object of government to be secured, regulated and promoted. As the way in which we come to understand ourselves and others shapes the use of military force and the kind of peace to be built in Afghanistan, this research looks to show the ways in which questions of identity are vital for understanding the ethical dimensions of the conflict in Afghanistan. While this research is situated somewhat within critical security and war studies, it is not simply confined to this sub-discipline as it touches upon a number of prominent issues within international relations such as exploring shifting norms of sovereignty; the relationship of culture and religion; as well as understandings of community, citizenship and cosmopolitanism.
Keywords: Human Security, War and Intervention, Development, Afghanistan, War on Terror, Post-structuralism, Post-colonialism, Biopolitics, Identity and Subjectivity, Temporality.
Supervisors: Professor Maja Zehfuss and Dr Peter Lawler