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The dis/appearances of violence: When a 'peace-loving' state uses force
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The research problem that this dissertation addresses is how and with what implications the use of force in ‘distant’ places is made seen and known at home. As practices change and ‘peacework’ is becoming increasingly violent, the book argues that it is imperative to examine how war ‘comes home’ and to what extent the narratives emerging in public discourse open up for public reflection and (re)consideration. As the representation of violence varies between contexts and over time, the book contributes to ongoing debates on the representation of war and violence by offering a comprehensive and systematic examination of the representation of violence in the case of Sweden, where the engagement in war(like) activities by no means is considered normal. Though Sweden during the last decades has increased its contributions to operations of peace-enforcement, Sweden still projects an image of itself as a nation of peace and a nation at peace. Thus, Sweden could be considered a ‘most likely case’ for politicisation and dislocation once Swedish soldiers engage in violence.

Drawing on poststructuralist theorisation on the political, processes of identification and the articulation of foreign policy as well as previous literature on the representation of war and violence, the book examines and conceptualises how violence dis/appears in Swedish public narratives at the time of Swedish military contribution to war(like) engagements. Part II of the book examines the representation of violence in Swedish parliamentary debates during, altogether, five military interventions taking place between 1960 and 2014. Part III takes a closer look at public service media material during three critical episodes that could be considered (potentially) dislocatory experiences related to the use of force. For the study of how violence dis/appears, the book advances a conceptual framework that combines the concepts of in/visibilisation, de/naturalisation and dis/identification. The study uncovers how the narratives on peace-enforcement move between making visible and making invisible, between problematisation and naturalisation, and between linking and differentiating the use of force to or from Sweden. It lays bare a number of narrative themes and responses that are salient over time, and examines the political work of the dis/appearances of violence in terms of de/stabilising the link between identity and policy, and in terms of de/politicising the issue of using force. Ultimately, the book argues that the dis/appearances of violence in public discourse condition the possibility for critical reflection and (re)consideration at home at the time of war(like) engagements abroad.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Political Science, Stockholm University , 2019. , p. 291
Series
Stockholm studies in politics, ISSN 0346-6620 ; 180
Keywords [en]
Sweden, peace-enforcement, use of force, representation of violence, narrative structuration, identity and foreign policy, de/politicisation, dislocation, in/visibility, critical war studies
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-163041ISBN: 978-91-7797-512-0 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7797-513-7 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-163041DiVA, id: diva2:1270453
Public defence
2019-02-08, William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-01-16 Created: 2018-12-13 Last updated: 2019-01-15Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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Output format
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