Israel & Global Militarism

Update: abstract extension to May 16th

Word today from James Eastwood (SOAS) that he and Leila Stockmarr (also SOAS) are putting together what sounds like a terrific session on Israel and global militarism at next years International Studies Association Annual Convention. I’m trying my damnedest to go: read the abstract and you’ll see why and, as James says, if you need any sweeteners the ISA is being held in New Orleans (18-21 Feb 2015). Please email James Eastwood at asap – 200w abstracts due May 9th.

Panel abstract: the role of Israel in global militarism

Militarism has been subject to renewed interest from scholars of International Relations in recent years (Stavrianakis and Selby, 2012). Israel, meanwhile, has been a long-standing example of a highly militarised society associated with a well-established and discrete scholarly literature about the nature of Israeli militarism from historical, political, sociological, and anthropological perspectives (see, among many others: Kimmerling, 1993; Ben-Eliezer, 1998; Ben-Ari and Lomsky-Feder, 1999; Ben-Ari, Maman, and Rosenhek, 2001; Levy, 2007; Barak and Sheffer, 2010). This panel seeks to bring these two areas of scholarship into conversation by posing the question of Israel’s significance in global patterns of militarism and its insertion into the global security economy. In keeping with prevailing understandings of militarism as “the penetration of social relations in general by military relations” (Shaw, 1991), we assert a need to expand scholarly attention beyond Israel’s long-term export of conventional arms (Beit-Hallahmi, 1987) in order to take account of the dispersal of Israel’s engagement into broader assemblages of war, security, and policing. Taking as its starting point a number of existing studies into aspects of the global significance of Israeli military and security practices (Gordon, 2010; Khalili, 2010, 2012; Graham, 2010; Weizman, 2012) the panel seeks to develop further scholarly insights into such phenomena and to assess the broader questions of whether, how, and why Israel has acquired such a status in developing trends of global warfare:

What explains Israel’s prominence and frequency as a case study of militarism? To what extent is it reasonable to argue that Israel is a pioneer in military activity globally, or that Palestine has become a testing ground for global militarism? To what extent have other militaries learnt from Israel, or followed its example in the conduct of their wars? To what extent have other conflicts thus been transformed in the image of the Israeli experience? Is Israel’s influence primarily confined to Western, liberal, or settler-colonial states, or does it extend more widely? Are any of these trends accelerating or declining, and for what reasons? What can these processes tell us about the ways in which practices and discourses of warfare travel globally, and whether such transmissions should be considered structural or contingent, the product of social conditions or deliberate imitation? These questions are intentionally left open, with the aim of encouraging the potential for debate and discussion between papers.

Submissions are invited which offer empirical studies that suggest responses to any of the questions posed above. Fruitful lines of inquiry might include but are not limited to: the arms, defence, and security industries; military training; military doctrine, and especially practices of counter-insurgency; legal frameworks of war, and state “lawfare”; patterns of military mobilisation, including discursive and ideological frames of war. Abstracts of up to 200 words are requested.

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