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November 6,2013-3N06 Lecture Notes.doc

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Political Science
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Todd Alway

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Political Science 3N06 November 6 , 2013 Political Science 3N06 2013 Lecture 8b Field research For the research method (answering the research question) - Qualitative field research: A case study - “Sex and death in the rational world of defense intellectuals” o On the ground ethnography; participant observation; o Joining the defense planner’s social world; to understand how all of this is made possible; o She is not only going to the physical sense, but going inside their mental sense; o She suggests that the one (sex and death) makes it possible;  Human concerns are projected on to the weapons themselves;  Weapons become humanized;  Need to see their EVERYDAY LANGUAGE; internal language; how do these people talk amongst themselves, when they talk about the weapons; metaphors that are drawn out; - Question: “The manufacture and stockpiling of tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, the quest for more useable nukes and more survivable weapons delivery systems – all of it seemed so wildly irrational to me that I was consumed by the questions: ‘How can they do this? How can they even think this way?” - How, in other words, is a policy that seems irrational from one point of view o Made rational from another? - Method: A year-long fieldwork study of defense intellectuals - Participant-observation - Cohn observes and maps out the experts’ everyday language - She records a series of metaphors and analogies that are used by the “rational” defense experts again and again o As they interact with their missiles and each other - Her observations: - Health and medicinal tableaus o “Clean bomb” – attempt to produce a “clean bomb” cleanliness is next to godliness; a fusion bomb as opposed to fission; killing through blast as opposed to radiation; most of the energy is converted into thermal heat; o Surgically clean strikes; develop a system that will enable us to have surgically clean strikes; counterforce strike; missile launches another missile; o Excision of the weapon; o Clean and sanitized business; - Patriarchal imagery - Homo and hetero-erotic metaphors o Phallic imagery o Patting the phallic (missi
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