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how does language and rheotric justify war

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York University
ANTH 1120
David Murray

28 November - 4 December Nov 28/30 How does language and rhetoric justify war? ASSIGNMENT 2 DUE (SEE General Assignment Information for more information) Readings: 1) CA pp.291-306 [291] - Question 8.5: How is it possible to justify the construction of weapons of mass destruction? • Ability to mask the consequences of violent conflict may be one of the reasons for its frequency • Wen people participate in a social setting, they begin to adopt the culture--the system of meanings, the language, the physical environment, the institutional rules, the rituals and the character of social interactions--of the setting • The social setting produce in each participant a characteristic view of the would • The strength of the boundaries members of a group construct between themselves and others, combined with the degree that each members role in the group is proscribed, determine which ganders members of a group fear most • Persons social setting will determine what they feel most at risk from The Anthropology of a Nuclear Weapons Laboratory • What would people have to fear inorder to want to produce nuclear weapons • Nuclear realists, who justify the manufacture and use of nuclear weapons, and who question the wisdom of nuclear disarmament make four assumptions about the world [292] • Claim the anarchy characterizes international relations, they see the international system existing in a state of nature • Assume states must rely on self help to protect themselves, since no one else is goig to help • Assume that nuclear weapons are the ultimate form of self help, since vastly increase the cost of aggression against them • Assume that relatively little can be done in short term to change the anarchistic nature of the international system • People against nuclear weapons believe • International relations aren't as anarchistic as perceived-- there a re rules and norms that control aggression, many of these rules centring on the institution of trade • Marxists believe that proponents of nuclear weapons overlook the power of the military (industrial complex and international class system) • Feminists argue the pro nuclear perspective is dominated by male notions of power • Nuclear arms race is objective social madness Nuclear weapons scientists did not avoid the ethical concerns of nuclear weapons research • but most accept the central axiom that nuclear research is necessary to make the world safe by developing a deterrent to the use of nuclear force • Working on nuclear weapons are more ethical than working on conventional weapons bc conventional weapons are more likely to be used • Nuclear weapons are chip in a game whose goal is to avoid using them • Only reason you have nuclear weapons is for deterrence one you are being attacked the whole thing has failed • People producing them sometimes also feel they arent in control of how they are used, theyre only purpose is to produce them as their source of income [293] • Intellectual freedom while working in weapons laboratory Must pass security clearance to have this position • • Secrecy is one of the main ways that the diverse population of the lab is brought together-- privileged isolated elite Approval of a scientists idea brings them closer in the group--fulfilment of personal ambition, • the struggle to master new technology, the drama of creating something new, the experience of community that each test created • Process of testing nuclear weapons is the critical step in creating the nuclear scientists • Testing produces weapons and weapon designers • Producing the elite and those with special knowledge and power [294] • The more tests one participates in, the greater the prestige and power that accrue Successful test validates status and credentials and bring forth congratulatory support and • reinforcement--symbolic simulation of the reliability of the whole system of deterrence • Successful nuclear test--scientists faith in human control over nuclear technology is further reinforced The Language of Nuclear Destruction • Language is used to distance the planners from the consequences of the actions they are planning • Language they use obfuscates and reassembles reality in such a way that what is really being talked about--the fundamental business of war that is destroying human creations and injuring and killing human beings--is somehow hidden from view being metaphors and euphemisms [295] • Technostrategic language (clean bombs, penetration aids, collateral damage, surgical strikes) • Domestic metaphors were common in the language of technostrategic Domestic images must be more than simply a way to distance the speakers from the grisly • reality they are discussing • Remove speakers from any position of accountability for the acts they are contemplating • Language and metaphors of those working at the incite seemed incapable of expressing certain realties • Consequence of technostrategic is that it removes the speakers form thinking to think about themselves as victims of nuclear war • Language removes them from the point of view of a victim and provides them with that of the planer, the initiator of nuclear war Peace = strategic stability • [296] • Nuclear war would be a kind of game in which the object is to have more weapons at the end than the enemy has • People are limited by their culture, language and point of view • All culture give a characteristic meaning to violent conflict, whether it be viewed as act of animal in possession of a human body, the will of god or a kind of game to determine winners and losers • The rules of nuclear planners as scientists and academics lend weight to their claims that their perspective is objective and therefore has greater truth value than other perspectives • If one can speak to defence analysts only in the language of technostrategic and if the language is constructed in such a way as to be incapable of expressing different realties, then there is no way for these analysts to appreciate or understand the other relates involving the use of nuclear weapons Question 8.6 How do we decipher the rhetoric of war and violence? • Conflict resolution requires parties to a dispute to appreciate and understand each others point of view • Peace studies [297] • Most participants in peace studies place an emphasis on nonviolence, peace, life, creativity and cooperation as opposed to violence, death, destruction and competition • The ways that proponents of war construct the meaning f conflict to gain acceptance for military goals Rhetoric of violence attempts to portray enemies or opponents as less than human and • deserving of whatever violence can possibly be inflicted • The greater the difference (skin colour, religion, geographical origin, class) that can be constructed between one competing group and another, the easier it is to see the other as deserving violence • Easier to promote a war as defence against an enemy, compared to offence • Nations of the world, particularly those with elected governments, spend almost as much time selling a war to it citizens as novel as they do fighting the war themselves • Attempt to expose the political or economic aspects of a military campaign or militarism exposes critics to charges of being unpatriotic or even subversive, particularly for violent conflict or the situations that promote, direct or manage the violence [299] - the school of americas • Us military training centre • Subjects like intelligence, gathering, counterinsurgency operations, and modern weapons use • How societies create institutions that serve to portray war and violence as necessary for attaining positive goals and recruit others to share that view [301] • When diplomatic or economic pressure doesn't work, they send in military to overthrow government [302] • Counterinsurgency operations • The function of the SOA was not only to provide military instruction but it was also to convoke the upper echelons of latin america militaries of the superiority of the american way of life and to ensure that they share the US view of the world and its view of what constituted a threat to that way of life • Students of the school became worst abusers of human rights in this hemisphere and had little fear of accountability (as taught by the institute) Constructing a view of the United States • Military include latin and american practices to make them feel part of an equal community • Military can get tax free items and celebrate all their cultural holidays • Also trainees the opportunity to witness the technological superiority of the US and witness and anticipate in the american way of life • Given opportunity to learn english, educate their children in US schools, earn some of their salaries in dollars and acquire cheap commodities, all f which enhance their social mobility within their own countries (latin america) [303] • Upward mobility toward the military is highly desire and attendance at the SOA was almost a certain avenue of advancement Constructing Threats to Our way of life • In addition to exposing students to the desirability of the american way of life, the SOA also convey to students a view of society that helped justify military repression • Society that share customary, norms values, beliefs or traditions---but traditions are constantly under threat from within and need to be continually reinforced through law, social pressure and the threat or use of force • Subversion is natural • Military is compelling people to behave properly Military had a special role in defending the domestic status quo rather than defending the • nation state from external aggression • Any dissent became defined as subversion and subversion became an attempt to undermine society and destroy shared values • This view serve to dehumanize the powerless and further justify the violent suppression of dissent • Violence and economic brutalization created by unpopular government policies deprives many in latin america of the ability to take care of themselves • Poverty becomes defined as a natural condition and it testifies to the slothfulness of the poor. Demands for better living conditions constitute evidence for the military of an innate prosperity of violence and unruliness among peasants and indigenous and working class people Constricting Impunity • Impunity from justice accompanies the demonizing of the other • Once an enemy is constructed who deserves whatever punishment he or she receives, there is no need for accountability [304] • Impunity as a way to kill whomever deemed a threat to way of life • SOA refused to recognize that by defining dissent as subversion, it helps create the climate in which human rights abuses thrive Responding to Critics • SOA spins stories • Military school that trains people to kill and yet has been seemingly unconnected to the violence that has wracked Latin America • Respond to criticism by changing public imagine, getting additional funding for the school, marketing the school more effectively in latin america and changing name [305] • Reales a public campaign that deafened doublespeak and blurred the lines between truth and fiction and sometimes obscured them completely • Renamed stuff to include humanitarian de-mining, civil military operations, peace operations and democratic sustainment Conclusions • Societies create a visa in favour of collective violence Violent conflict is justified in some societies asa we of achieving status or acquiring or • protecting possessions, or as a means of revenge • In peaceful societies, violence is avoided by widespread sharing of resources, building relations of dependance amongst groups, by devaluing or discouraging aggressive behaviour and emphasizing collective behaviours that promote intragroup and intergroup harmony [306] • The encouragement in violent societies of competition over resources, leading to a situation in which individuals are required, bc of lack of central authority, to protect their own propriety by violent means • War has served throughout human history to promote the centralization of authority and the growth of state level political structures • Violent conflict may increase male solidarity, it can also promote greaer violence against women • People can justify the manufacture and testing of weapons of mass destruction • Language of defence analysts masks some of the realities of nuclear destruction, keeps them from viewing themselves as potential victims and turns nuclear planning into a game 2) Pedelty 1995. War Stories: The Culture of Foreign Correspondents. New York: Routledge. pp. 1-12, 20-25. [1] - Reporting Salvador • Visit salvador with reporters • Political killings ending but idea of corpse was exciting [2] • Photographers preformed a disciplined dance during encounters with the dead / surveying body • Adult and children has stone face stares so common among salvadorans and death---- emotion, passion, allegiance are too dangerous to exhibit in public • All reporters want to look but done want to look • War corresponds with terror through voyerurism and direct participation • For participant observes violence is not a matter of values in the moral sense of the term but instead value in the economic • Need terror to realize themselves in both a professional and spiritual sense, to achieve and maintain their culture identity as war correspondents [3] • Corpse was the culmination of a filed robbery attempt on a bus, an excombatant trying to steal food money from others who also barely had enough to eat Vigilante shot him in the heat and the thiefs attempt and driver put him in the bus • • Through ten years of war, el salvador has not stopped working • Fundament strutters of social injustice and daily violence continue without interruption • Combatants return to civilian life---violence became more dispersed and less organized • Corpse represent too typical, too confused and too complicated for news • Cultural constructions of and about the body are useful in sustaining particular views of nicety and social relations • Dead bodies serve the metaphorical purpose of sustaining the first wold view of third world society as conflicted, tortured and perhaps barbaric---no body, no story • Dead bodies have been primary site of political contestation • Salvadoran opposition groups and international solidarity organizations use images of corporeal violation as a means to sensitize the world o terror and violence, perhaps having the reverse affect of making the horrible seem more ordinary • Corpses have no power to speak for themselves and have top political value---fetish to embody the more mundane and constant violence around them [4] • Messy nature of the incident would proved political capital to on one, because it would not fit easily into the two dimensional discourse of terrorists and human rights--wrong body, wrong story • No respect for the dead by journalists --reporters are a community in and of themselves (share integrated set of myths, rituals and behavioural norms---their own culture Why An Anthropologists Studied a Press Corps • Anthropologists bring important theoretical tools and methodological skills to the study of popular culture, ams media and professional groups • Focus upon the practices and beliefs of the practices and beliefs of the people who report news • Ethnography is hybrid textual activity (communications research journalism, sociology, anthropology) [5] • Study people studying other people • Wasnt sure if they should feel flattered, insulted or threatened by anthropologists presence Discipline, Power and Ideology • A good test of an ethnography is whether it explains to the outsider how one should act in the primary scenes of a given society • Why journalists behave as they do, explaining their work within the disciplinary apparatuses that pattern many of their actions Power doesnt simply weigh on us a force that says no, but instead traverses and produces • things, it induces pleasure, forms knowledge, produces discourse--needs to be considered a productive network which runs through the whole social body, much more than as a negative instance whos function is repression • Repressive factors in reporting, more powerful influences are disciplinary [6] Censorship is a form of repression • • Discipline is an active, productive and creative form of power, a more subtle sophisticated penetrant and effective means of control than that which is implied by the team repression Apparatus sense of organization efficiency and political economy • • The latter have focused almost exclusively upon the discursive network which runs thought the whole social body, ignoring differentiated arrangements therein • To ignore nodal centres and hierarchies of control and specialization is to fall prey to a str of vulgar idealism whose generalizations obfuscate, rather than define the complexities of contemporary social power • Heavily influence reporters of the salvadoran war: military press control and targeted violence, the hierarchal structure of the corps, elite sources, reporting conversations, myths and rituals, the standard news narrative and new organizations • Corporations own most of the output of daily newspapers and sales Ideological content of news test is representative of the world view of stockholders, owners • and advertisers who produce, manage and profit from new production • To contended otherwise is both politically naive and contrary to the basic anthropological premise that a cultures utterances or ensemble of texts are interpretable components of their symbolically st
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