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Title: Anti-insurgency narratives : territory, locality and the organisation of non-state military formations in Iraq and Afghanistan
Author: Newton, Allen Alexander
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2013
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This Doctoral dissertation investigates non-state military formations. Kilcullen’s notion of ‘Hearts and Minds’, which suggests that through engagement and diplomacy, populations can be persuaded to believe that an enhanced military will protect them, tends to lack capacity to recognize the population as identifying their own role in the conflict. The core problem is that discussions about engagement regularly remain meta-theoretical, a tool of soft-power at most and based on theories of hegemonic narratives and ‘cultural awareness’, and have had arguably little effect on mapping different armed-campaigns in an insurgency. This doctoral research project seeks to analyse the operative elements of narrative that ultimately allow for communities to mobilise for an armed anti-insurgency movement and, more importantly, permit community militias to provide for their own security and governance, as well as strive to deny the territory and human capital to the insurgents. Hence, this investigation takes the notion of security, counter-insurgency and anti-insurgency as a sociospatial phenomenon than solely an ideological issue. Accordingly, this research revisits anthropological and sociological data with the aim of demonstrating that non-state military formations have fundamental political context and military preferences than determined by culture or solely military objectives. More specifically, it advocates that ethnography is the way forward to map the societies in conflict, arguing that collective action will develop even in the absence of assistance from a superior military. This dissertation takes care not to make an anthropological comparison of the Afghan and Iraqi insurgencies, but rather a political comparison. Local concepts and vocabularies are used, with supplementary presentations which map the sociospatial range which come to define the conflict and security. Local concepts and vocabularies provide background information on points in the anti-insurgency campaign, discussion of actors involved and information on specific context addressed. Each chapter in the dissertation contains very specific problematised issues which narrow the conditions of each case study, but adds to the overall understanding of non-state military formations. The set and study are designed to bring a parallel understanding to counter-insurgency engagement strategy that emphasise the local social structures over weak, centralised security structure.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JC Political theory ; U Military Science (General)