Doctoral dissertation: Changes in Warfare and its impact on State-Society Relations
Almost every explanations of change in war and the state rely on the myth of the mass armies. The notion that a symbiosis was created between on the one-hand an increasingly centralized state who provided public goods and on the other a mass of faceless individual citizens who are willing to serve it in exchange for these goods. These explanations, however, never engage with who exactly was part of these mass armies or even question what was massive or even citizen about them. Who could, and by extension could not, engage in this exchange of martial labour for political goods has changed drastically over time.
By engaging the literature of international security with historico-sociological methods, I investigate the case of the decline of the nobility as a martial class, the appearance and disappearance of mercenaries, the concurrent apparition of the myth of the mass citizen-armies with the problematization of foreign fighting, and ultimately the recent politics of inclusion in the military.
I explore these cases through the use of monumental analysis (the change in military monuments and symbols over time), the study of invented traditions, changes in portraiture, and discourses of military service over the last 300 years.
Supervisor: Keith Krause
Second reader: Anna Leander
This research project critiques the presentism focus of research on foreign fighters from Syria and their construction as terrorist threats by policy-makers and academics alike by providing historical depth and analysis to the study of this phenomenon.
I presented some of this research at various conferences, including the International Studies Association in Toronto (2019), the European International Studies Association (2019) as well as the Swiss Political Association in Zurich (2019).
This research envisions two complementary papers.
Paper 1 : A historical-comparative of legislative discourses on foreign fighting which demonstrates that when laws against foreign fighters are made, they are done not to protect the national state. Counter-foreign legislation from the Soldier (Foreign Enlistment) Act in the 17th century to today serve the function of re-affirming the identity of lawmakers. This paper focuses on Westminster debates in the United Kingdoms and Canada.
Paper 2: Returnees from Syria and Iraq are not a threat. By using my own Islamic States Attacks in the West (ISRAW) dataset, I demonstrate using advanced statistical methods that returnees are not more effective or lethal terrorist threat in the West.
I conduct this research independently.