I thought this might be of interest for some of you as well - and don't
forget to contact Megan and Swati for the FSS panels!!!
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2008 19:04:48 +0100
From: Eric Herring <eric.herring@...
Subject: cfp 'Bringing class into security studies' ISA
New York 09
This is a call for roundtables, panels and individual papers (which I will
try to place on panels) for the next International Studies Association
annual convention in New York city, 15-18 February 2009. See
The theme is 'Bringing class into security studies'. It might alternatively
be titled 'Why is there no historical materialist security studies?' or
'Why critical security studies needs Marxism' or 'class as a referent in
security studies'. My intention it to produce a journal special issue or
forum from the papers/roundtable presentations. The proposed theme would
fit well with the ISA official convention theme of 'Exploring the past,
anticipating the future'. If you are not planning to attend ISA, I would
still be interested in paper proposals for the journal special issue. I
have not yet decided which journal to approach: that will depend in part on
the lineup of papers that starts to emerge.
In the development of critical security studies thus far, historical
materialist (Marxist and neo-Marxist as opposed to post-Marxist) elements
have been present to a minimal degree. The lack of interest in historical
materialism is a major weakness and imbalance within critical security
studies as it has developed thus far. There has been an overwhelming
emphasis on the ideational, discourse analysis, constructivism and
post-structuralism, and this is a crucial limitation on its ability to
theorise world politics in a systematic and politically relevant way.
Meanwhile, scholars working with historical materialist perspectives are
generating far-reaching and influential analyses which locate the
discursive within the context of hierarchically structured relations at
multiple levels globally. Such analyses have been central to the enormously
successful development of critical geography, critical sociology and
critical education studies, all politically engaged fields intertwined with
actually existing current social movements. As Ken Booth, in defining it as
being within the scope of critical security studies, states: 'The Marxian
tradition offers a deep mine of ideas that are especially useful for
thinking about ideology, class, and structural power'. As Booth also states
'class ... is a much-ignored referent, despite massive life-threatening and
life-determining insecurity being the direct result of poverty'. Historical
materialism, including its Gramscian and historical sociology variants, is
flourishing within IR and is a major resource for critical security
studies. Yet those who 'do' historical materialist analysis generally do
not 'do' security studies, perhaps for political reasons in that they see
it overwhelmingly as a field which serves mainly as an instrument of class
domination and for intellectual reasons in that the concept of security is
seen as a relatively unsatisfying one for theorising about world politics.
The problem with this approach is that students new to security studies
will effectively, even if unintentionally and despite Booth's assertion to
the contrary, be guided to the conclusion that they have little to learn
from historical materialism and do not need to think about class and
capitalism (including neoliberalism). Path dependency - roads more and less
travelled - will operate in a powerful way.
The deadline for submission of proposals to the ISA is 30 May 2008, and the
more time I have to coordinate the better.
Only two paper presentations per person will be accepted by the ISA. This
two presentation rule applies also applies roundtables, although it does
not include participation as discussants or chairs. This rule applies to
all participants, irrespective of their geographical origin. Co-authorship
of a paper counts as a half-participation.
Dr. Eric Herring
Network of Activist Scholars of Politics and International Relations
Department of Politics, University of Bristol,
10 Priory Road, Bristol, BS8 1TU, United Kingdom.
Tel. +44(0)117 9288582. Mobile +44(0)7771 966608.