Edited by Steven C. Roach
Chapter 9: Empires at home: critical international relations theory and our postcolonial moments
This chapter examines the historical and contemporary effects that imperial practices have upon the domestic space. Because international relations theory largely reifies the distinction between the domestic and international many scholars have missed the wide-ranging historical and contemporary connections that have accrued between colonial domains and metropolitan institutions. In this chapter, I examine two such cases, that of the use of barbed wire and its proliferation as a technology of enclosure, as a means of creating concentration camps and the effects it had on Western history, and the contemporary instances of surveillance technologies being marketed to US police departments. Examining such practices is important for two reasons, I argue. First, it illustrates a need to conceptualize a much richer set of material transformations that connect core and periphery. Here, the actor–network theory is helpful in illuminating such links. Second, it raises normative questions about the adaptation of technologies and practices that are deployed to control populations across various areas. As such, critical international relations theory, with a focus on emancipatory projects, needs to take into account the accrual of such (neo-)colonial technologies and their effects.
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