Making Things International 2 : Catalysts and Reactions

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    • Publication Information:
      Minneapolis; London: University of Minnesota Press, 2016.
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    • Original Material:
      400 p.
    • Abstract:
      Drawing widely from contemporary social and critical thought, Making Things International 2 offers provocative interventions into debates about causality, connection, and politics through the notion of assemblage. Political assemblages, especially those that cross national borders, can be catalyzed by a host of surprising sparks. Present-day global systems are complex and interdependent, but the worn tools of traditional international relations theory are unsuited to the task of understanding how objects, ideas, and people come together to create, dispute, solve, or perhaps cause these political configurations. Contributors to this volume bring to their work a new sensitivity toward issues of power, authority, control, and sovereignty. The companion volume, Making Things International 1: Circuits and Motion, used things, stuff, and objects in motion to capture the material dynamics of global politics and to demonstrate the importance of the material. This volume builds on that conversation by examining objects that incite political assemblages. Specific subjects include fighter jets, smartphones, tents, HTTP cookies, representations of North Korea, and histories of the diplomatic cable, the orange prison jumpsuit, and container shipping. Contributors: Rune Saugmann Andersen, U of Helsinki; Josef Teboho Ansorge; Claudia Aradau, King's College London; Helen Arfvidsson; Alexander D. Barder, Florida International U; Tarak Barkawi, London School of Economics; Peter Chambers; Shine Choi, Seoul National U; Sagi Cohen; Thomas N. Cooke; Anna Feigenbaum, Bournemouth U; Andreas Folkers, Goethe-U Frankfurt; Fabian Frenzel, U of Leicester; Kyle Grayson, Newcastle U; Nicky Gregson, Durham U; David Grondin, U of Ottawa; Xavier Guillaume, U of Edinburgh; Emily Lindsay Jackson, Acadia U; Miguel de Larrinaga, U of Ottawa; Debbie Lisle, Queen's U Belfast; Mary Manjikian, Regent U; Nadine Marquardt, Goethe-U Frankfurt; Patrick McCurdy, U of Ottawa; Adam Sandor; Nisha Shah, U of Ottawa; Julian Stenmanns, Goethe-U Frankfurt; Casper Sylvest, U of Southern Denmark; Rens van Munster, Danish Institute for International Studies; Elspeth Van Veeren, U of Bristol; Srdjan Vucetic, U of Ottawa; Juha A. Vuori, U of Turku; Tobias Wille.
    • Contents Note:
      Front Matterp.iTable of Contentsp.vIntroduction: Making Assemblages InternationalSalter, Mark B.p.viiThe world is made up of things, stuff, objects. Political assemblages can be catalyzed by a host of surprising sparks. Global systems are complex and interdependent, but the well-worn tools of International Relations seem unsuited to the task of understanding how particular objects, ideas, and people come together to create, dispute, solve, or perhaps cause these political configurations. Inspired from contemporary social and critical thought coming from sociology, anthropology, and science and technology studies, this project offers some provocative interventions in the debates about causality, connection, and politics through the notion of assemblage. In the companion volume, Making Things International ,The F-35 Joint Strike FighterVucetic, Srdjanp.3How international is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)? Prima facie, the answer is “very international.” The promotional materials released by Lockheed Martin, the aircraft’s lead manufacturer, include a string of national flags, either as stylized icons or photographed as hanging in the main hall of Air Force Plant 4 in Fort Worth, Texas, where the aircraft is now being assembled. Multinational collaboration in arms development and production is not new, but rarely does it include nine partners. Governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States have all put millionsMilitary ManualsAnsorge, Josef TebohoBarkawi, Tarakp.20Violence is hard to control, both in its delivery and in its interpretation. The management of modern organized violence entails the proliferation of standard operating procedures, rules, and regulations. Many little things—books, pamphlets, and their electronic equivalents—are produced and distributed to soldiers and officers during training and in the field. These military manuals are used to discipline the behaviors of war-making institutions into controlled, effective, standardized, legible, and legitimate actions. Many aspects of military manuals are worth close study, such as how they are written, their tendency to plagiarize, their intellectual history, their use and interpretation, as wellBarbed WireBarder, Alexander D.p.32There is a tendency in international theory to eschew the histories of material objects and their importance for understanding the evolution of political order. Something like barbed wire appears at first innocuous, a material object designed to segregate space for the benefit of farmers or cattle herders. Yet the interface between barbed wire and the political context of nineteenth-century imperial crises reveals a much darker history of how the use of this object redefines the contours of governing populations. Examining the history of barbed wire in the imperial context of the nineteenth century reveals a trajectory of experimentation with socialProtest CampsFeigenbaum, AnnaFrenzel, FabianMcCurdy, Patrickp.49The Occupy movement and urban occupations in Egypt, Greece, Spain, and Israel made headlines across the world in 2011, turning “protest camp” into a household phrase. Although it may have seemed that these camps erupted spontaneously, there is a long, transnational history of tents being pitched for political change. While contemporary movements certainly show new styles of protest camping, the tactic of building a public place for protest and dialogue is born from a long tradition of people working together to imagine other possible worlds. Distinct from other forms of social movement practices such as demonstrations or marches, the protestTentFolkers, AndreasMarquardt, Nadinep.63The tent is a nomadic thing. When folded, it is versatile and ready to move at any time; in its unfolded form, the tent gathers people and materials and creates a transient dwelling. As such, the tent has served both nomadic peoples and important parts of sedentary societies throughout history. But recently the tent has become truly international as a contested political technology and as a thing that shapes the global. In military interventions and in emergency responses by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), tents serve a worldwide humanitarian regime as a standardized item of equipment to provide shelter for the exposedBenchesJackson, Emily Lindsayp.79The Global War on Terror continues to be waged by things. In our cities and towns, benches defend crowded places from indeterminate terrorist attacks. Made of unyielding concrete or stone, benches force away cars and trucks carrying explosives; promising security by creating distance between crowded places and dangerous humans and nonhumans.¹ And while the global terrorism threat remains nebulous and unspecified, these belligerent benches occupy public spaces day after day, year after year. Looking again from the perspective of material politics however, benches are only discriminately warlike. Made of granite stone, smooth, polished quartz crystals of pink, gray, black, andSecretsGrondin, DavidShah, Nishap.92Best known for vanquishing the Gorgon Medusa, Perseus, demigod son of Zeus, provides a story that is partly about the significance of empowering objects. Perseus is the hero, no doubt. But devising Medusa’s death was no easy feat, one for which Perseus needed a lot of equipment. Among his inventory, the most well known are the mirrored shield, the winged sandals, the adamantine sword, and, of course, once the deed was done, the special pouch for carrying the still potent cargo of Medusa’s head. If, in his quest for invulnerability, the myth of Perseus tells us a tale about security,Greyp.106Grey is never simply just grey but grey from a particular vantage point, through particular intersubjective articulations, and embedded in a particular network of desires, interests, and actions. Grey is not just our symbolic construction, that is, a product of our meaning-making practices, but it is also not simply just what is. Let me follow how Victor Cha, a North Korea expert and former adviser to the George W. Bush administration, opens his latest book The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Present . Cha begins his book with an extended narrative of his personal experience in North Korea, and thisOrange Prison JumpsuitVan Veeren, Elspethp.122Bodies, body parts, and objects most closely associated with bodies are “maps of power and identity.”¹ They are the very matter, the “stuff,” of our subjectivities. Clothing, like bodies, becomes particularly connected to subject positions within a discourse, consciously and unconsciously. As material culture theorists Susanne Küchler and Daniel Miller suggest, clothing makes meaning as it connects with the bodies that wear it. We enter into specific relations with these things and their practices: the particular drape of a shawl, the fold of a cuff, the hairstyle we adopt.² These objects, and the practices associated with them, are filled withFlagsAndersen, Rune SaugmannGuillaume, XavierVuori, Juha A.p.137Flags are an obvious object to think about the international. Flags have already been analyzed in regard to nationalism and national identities, but we make the case here that flags are a fruitful thing through which one can provide an analytics of the international and its permutations too (Hylland Eriksen and Jenkins 2007a; Billig 1995). One way to make things international is to make them appear internationally, to represent assemblies among assemblies; a flag, then, is a way to visualize collective entities and to make them appear among other collective entities as abstract symbols (Gamboni 2005, 162). Flags can representContainer Scanning UnitStenmanns, Julianp.153Pictures of stacked containers aboard cargo ships often illustrate news on positive economic development. Especially in times of economic crisis, their movement seems to herald longed-for economic recovery. This circuit of standardized shipping containers is one of the most unquestioned iconographic fundaments of a world in motion. However, it evokes a systemic vulnerability, as experts on border management assert. The container as a vehicle allows systematically for unauthorized access into or clandestine movement within the circuits of international trade. Yet, the project of securing trade networks by opening and verifying the contents of containers is a time-intensive, laborious task andDiplomatic CableWille, Tobiasp.166The term “cable,” as used in the context of diplomacy, is ambiguous. It denotes both a message and its technological messenger. Telegraph wires were used around the middle of the nineteenth century to connect the capitals of Europe. The network soon expanded, and by 1870, with the laying of submarine cables, fast-traveling telegraphic messages could be sent between Britain, Continental Europe, North America, the Middle East, and India.¹ Through these cables, diplomatic posts communicated with their ministries back home. But the term “cable” also came to denote the message that was sent by telegraph. In this chapter I use thisThe Yellow CarLisle, Debbiep.181During the intensification of the Cypriot conflict in 1974, many objects, lives, and attachments were abandoned as Greek Cypriots living in the north fled south while Turkish Cypriots living in the south fled north. Reinforcing the idea that Cyprus is constituted by only two distinct and homogeneous communities, a UN-controlled buffer zone—sometimes called the Green Line, and sometimes the dead zone—was put in place to protect Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots from one another.¹ Some sections of the buffer zone in the Old City of Nicosia/Lefkoşa are only a few meters across; other sections on the island areSmartphoneChambers, Peterp.195In February 2013 a friend sent me a link to a video hosted on the Guardian ’s Web site detailing a data-mining tool developed by Raytheon called Rapid Information Overlay Technology (RIOT).¹ RIOT allows the user to quickly assemble a clear picture of a person’s network of associates and movements, as revealed through habitual, normal smartphone use, the repeated patterns of which can then be visualized in a number of ways to accurately disclose the person’s networks of association and predict future behavior. The smartphone is an extremely subtle and complex device whose uses, agency, and affects depend greatly on theHotlines and International CrisisAradau, Claudiap.216“US–Moscow ‘Hot Line’ Open” titled an article in The Times on August 30, 1963 ( The Times 1963). After the Cuban Missile Crisis, the hotline became the panacea of preventing global war, as a direct communications link between Washington and Moscow was supposed to avoid the mistakes of the Cuban Missile Crisis and prevent war by accident, miscommunication, or surprise (Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation 1963). As The Times goes on to note, the American and Russian leaders had to resort to open broadcasts given the delay in communications, which “during a period of uncertainty could have inadvertently heightenedCookiesCooke, Thomas N.p.228When thinking of cookies, many of us may find ourselves in the company of Bobby Flay. Cookies are indeed delicious treats—even if they take the backseat on the dessert menu. Perhaps this is because we know exactly what we are going to get. They are not as sophisticated as cakes or pies. They are relatively easy to make and you can take them wherever, whenever. They are also predictable. The word cookie reminds us of all these qualities each time we hear it. Perhaps this is the problem. The cookies this chapter explores are not your treats—they areThe AtomSylvest, Caspervan Munster, Rensp.241Atoms are the tiny pieces of matter that make up the universe and every tangible thing around us. To investigate how things are made international—to probe into Dingpolitik , as Latour (2005a, 14) would have it—is, therefore, literally atomic. The atom itself has plenty of agency: it separates, splits, and fuses. In this chapter, we examine the atom in its weaponized form, which is arguably the point in time when the atom became truly international. In this context, the atom has been credited as an agent that prevents or ends great power war, acts as a deterrent, or createsAsbestosGregson, Nickyp.258Asbestos is not an object but, like much stuff, it is many things. It is, and has been, cement sheeting, water pipes, insulating material, mixed in with adhesives, cements, paints, and sealants; for much of the twentieth century it was used in friction products in most things that moved, including cars and locomotives; but it has also been used in a vast array of other products, including cigarette filters, gas masks, dish towels, surgical thread, banknotes, bed mattresses, talcum powder, ironing boards, piano felts, cat litter, coats, children’s coloring crayons, and tampons (McCulloch and Tweedale 2008). To focus on asbestos,DirtManjikian, Maryp.274Practically every culture in the world has a creation myth—and many of them feature dirt as a character in that narrative. Dirt thus has a sacred character in many cultures—serving as the source and sustainer of life. But at the same time, our relationship to dirt is one of ambivalence, because, dirt is associated with life and vitality, with growth and renewal, while also being associated with poverty, squalor, and lack of life chances. Dirt is thus seen as simultaneously holy and sinister—the foundation of life and a carrier of poison and disease, both a source ofShitCohen, Sagip.285This chapter explores the dialectic between the global and the international. It focuses on the stakes involved in raising global politics to an ideal, and does this by appealing to a specific methodology: thinking from a position of shit. Engaging a thick description of the shit-disposal practice at NASA’s International Space Station (ISS) will foreground the political presuppositions, not to say impetus, of the ISS’s metastate, following from the fact that its shit is the only “thing” that this new international—rallied under the flag of humanity—cannot contain. This will lead to a more theoretical meditation about the dreamBurning CarsArfvidsson, Helenp.299Sensationalized images of young people burning cars in urban peripheries often bring to mind a series of events that took place in French banlieues during three weeks in 2005. These events are by no means restricted to France or to a specific national context. Using the example of youth burning cars in the peripheries of Gothenburg, Sweden, in the late summer of 2009, this chapter aims to engage with these burning cars by doing multiplicity and connecting them to international processes of urban planning, migration, and economic transformations. The chapter will set out to break with the dominant framing ofTear Gasde Larrinaga, Miguelp.313This epigraph from Winston Churchill on May 12, 1919, from a War Office minute was recorded while he was serving as president of the Air Council. Churchill is making reference to the British position regarding chemical weapons at the Paris Peace Conference as well as to the potential use and effects of lachrymatory gas—or tear gas—as a tool of imperial pacification in the colonies. One of the interesting aspects of this quote is that it has elicited much controversy on a couple of fronts: It seems to not only condone the use of chemical weapons, but it alsoDronesGrayson, Kylep.326The drone, or remotely piloted air system (RPA), has emerged as a central component in contemporary counterinsurgency war fighting and border surveillance. My argument is that drones, their capabilities, and their implications for world politics are productive of the international. Therefore, it is important to acquire a sense of what the drone might be, and its relationships to other objects, discourses, practices, and embodied affects within global counterinsurgency. In other words, we must ask how the RPA, like other material objects, actively shapes the international itself.¹ As other contributions to this volume have emphasized, things, structures, and agency contribute to4 x 4sSandor, Adamp.338Thinking about security and the nature of the state in North and West Africa involves questioning some fundamental distinctions that structure conventional understandings of modern politics. It is also an exercise in recognizing the intersectional nature of social and political life under conditions of drastic change. There is nothing natural about distinctions like the state versus the nonstate, the public versus the private, the global versus the local, the inside versus the outside, or the licit versus the illicit.¹ Each of these categories is inherently political and involves an evolving set of contests of relations of power and social interestsAcknowledgmentsp.357Contributorsp.359
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      SALTER, M. B., Editor. Making Things International 2 : Catalysts and Reactions. Minneapolis; London: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. ISBN 978-0-8166-9630-7. Disponível em: Acesso em: 24 nov. 2020.
    • AMA:
      Salter MB Editor. Making Things International 2 : Catalysts and Reactions. University of Minnesota Press; 2016. Accessed November 24, 2020.
    • APA:
      Salter, M. B., Editor. (2016). Making Things International 2 : Catalysts and Reactions. University of Minnesota Press.
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      Salter, Mark B., Editor. 2016. Making Things International 2 : Catalysts and Reactions. Minneapolis; London: University of Minnesota Press.
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      Salter, M. B., Editor (2016) Making Things International 2 : Catalysts and Reactions. Minneapolis; London: University of Minnesota Press. Available at: (Accessed: 24 November 2020).
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      Salter, MB, Editor 2016, Making Things International 2 : Catalysts and Reactions, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis; London, viewed 24 November 2020, .
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      Salter, Mark B., Editor. Making Things International 2 : Catalysts and Reactions. University of Minnesota Press, 2016. EBSCOhost,
    • Chicago/Turabian: Humanities:
      Salter, Mark B., Editor. Making Things International 2 : Catalysts and Reactions. Minneapolis; London: University of Minnesota Press, 2016.
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      Salter MB Editor. Making Things International 2 : Catalysts and Reactions [Internet]. Minneapolis; London: University of Minnesota Press; 2016 [cited 2020 Nov 24]. Available from: