CULTURE, THEORY AND CRITIQUE:

SPECIAL ISSUE ON MILITARIZATION & PLEASURE

Edited by Alex Adams & Amy Gaeta

CALL FOR PAPERS

How do we enjoy our everyday militarization? This special issue of Culture, Theory and Critique will investigate the production, experiences, and problems of the pleasure that we derive from cultural products that uphold the values and logics of militarization and securitization. We contend, first, that cultural products and practices are actors embedded in global processes of empire and capital. Second, we observe that recent civil unrest and state responses to it have made more people than ever aware that militarism plays a normalized and pleasurable role in their everyday life. Apart from the obvious extension of military culture and technology (i.e. Call of Duty, personal drones, camouflage fashion), this special issue will explore less visible and non-obvious sites in which pleasure helps condition subjects to become complicit with their own and others’ militarization and the wider systems that enable it. 

 

In other words, how can we, and can we, laugh with Brooklyn 99 and still attend Black Lives Matter rallies on the same day?

 

We plan to explore how pleasure is a channel through which militarization occurs in the rhythms and rituals of everyday life, including consumption, epistemologies and reasonings, desires, aesthetics, and more. This collection of essays will reflect on how militarization and pleasure queer and/or reinforce one another without seeking to resolve inherent contradictions or rationalize the messy affects of pleasure; we want to get into the intractably contradictory and complicit character of pleasure and explore potentialities for resistance. What can we do with the contradictory pleasures we find in militarized values, processes, and practices at work in our daily lives? 

 

We ask whether and how we are surviving now in what Berlant (2011) calls “crisis ordinary” and imagine what it might mean to flourish and find joy amongst the “everywhere war” (Gregory 2011). This issue hopes to contribute nuanced understandings of the pleasure-militarization relationship, expand perceptions of militarized aesthetics, and theorize new modes of immanent critique and resistance that allow for pleasure without projecting fantasies of innocence or exceptionalism. We welcome contradictions and disagreements within this dialogue as long as we share the common aim to provide new theoretical vantage points on and terminologies for pleasure as a social catalyst that motivates desire, structures subjectivities, and obscures the militarization of the everyday.

 

Scholars from any humanities or social science discipline, especially those engaged in interdisciplinary work, are encouraged to contribute 350-word abstracts with a short bio note to militarizingpleasure@gmail.com by 1st April 2022. Authors should expect a response by 1st May, and full articles will be due on September 1st for publication in early 2023 (or earlier online). We respect the unpredictable schedules and needs we all differently have and will try to make accommodations where possible. Authors needing extensions for the abstract and/or paper submission should contact the editors at the email address above.

 

We expect articles to fall into the three categories. Suggestions for papers could include but are not limited to:

1: What is Militarization to/in/with Pleasure Now? 

  • Conceptualizations of the relationship between militarization and pleasure

  • Militarization with specific reference to pleasure & the ‘non-martial’

  • Methods and affirmations of knowing, discovery, & enquiry (e.g. ‘fake news’)

  • Confluence of identity politics and the relational roles of militarized subjects. How are subjects differently militarized due to race, gender, sexuality, religion, etc.?

 

2: Immanent Critique: Implicated and Contradictory Subjects

  • Material cultures, food, domesticity, fashion, media/texts, & leisure 

  • Everyday use of military medicine & diet and fitness practices (e.g., meal substitute drinks, ‘warrior fitness’) 

  • Domesticized & democratized military technology (e.g., home surveillance tech, smartphones, Alexa) 

  • Culture and aesthetics of and around sex and violence

  • Commodification of revolutionary aesthetics and language & performative activism

 

3: Policing Pleasure: Resistance, Unconscious and Conscious, to Militarization

  • Mutual aid, grassroots activism, & forms of protest (e.g. carnival, drag, Rest for Resistance)

  • Contestatory/activist texts, media, practices, & social media tactics 

  • Forms of critique (e.g., trolling, satire, stand up comedy, memes)

  • Fictional and fantasy worlds: superheroes, speculative, and other sci-fi/fantasy forms

 

About the Editors

Alex Adams is an independent scholar based in the UK. He has written widely on securitization, torture, and drone warfare, and has published three monographs: Political Torture in Popular Culture (Routledge, 2016), How to Justify Torture (Repeater, 2019), and Death TV: Drone Warfare in Contemporary Popular Culture (Drone Wars UK, 2021). He is currently working on Godzilla: A Critical Demonology (Headpress, 2023/4?), a critical work on Godzilla. Twitter

  

Amy Gaeta is a Ph.D. candidate in Literary Studies and Visual Cultures at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Amy arranges aspects of disability studies and feminist technoscience studies to explore 21st-century human-technology relations. Her dissertation, Drone Life: A Feminist Crip Analysis of the Human, theorizes the drone as a prosthetic that is altering the human condition against the backdrop of AI, mass surveillance, automation, and endless war. Her scholarship has recently been published in the Journal of Visual Culture and the forthcoming edited collection Drone Aesthetics (Open Humanities Press). Twitter Instagram