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Title: The Terror Court Assemblage : two case studies from India
Author: Kendel, Hanns B.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7431 2429
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
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The challenge of defining terrorism has long preoccupied domestic and international lawyers alike. The rising presence of the terrorist on the global stage has muddled the lines between security, politics and law leaving the courts to solve intricate puzzles and maintain delicate balances. All the while people and states have engaged in ever more heated arguments and ever more stringent policies to tackle a phenomenon the heart of which remains opaque. Presupposing definitions as linguistic/legal reflections of essential realities is misleading and conceals the role played by legal processes in creating terrorist realities. Developing a theoretical and methodological toolkit drawing on Assemblages and Actor Network Theory this thesis traces the stabilisation of two concrete terrorists through a Terror Court Assemblage (TCA). Deploying a slow ethnographic method of tracing actors through interviews, participant observation and judgment analysis the argument is that the terrorist is made through intricate and contingent processes of stabilisation and choreography. When successful the choreography of actors in the TCA produces a naturalised terrorist whose participation in the carrying of the concept of terrorism is crucial. Against a backdrop of fuzzy, heterogeneous and fluid relations the terrorist emerges out of the successful Terror Court Assemblage as a stable and very real (arte)fact articulated by a smooth chain of reference. Understanding the terrorist as a processually stabilised entity made to speak by an intricate TCA does nothing in itself to diminish the impact of terrifying incidents. However tracing the terrorist as a product of judicial processes and translations rather than as their input permits a critical appraisal of debates surrounding agreed definitions of terrorism as red herrings and opens new vantage points on where intervention is most promising.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral