Counterinsurgency, Empire and Ignorance

Mcgovern, Mark (2018) Counterinsurgency, Empire and Ignorance. In: Barton, Alana and Davis, Howard (eds). Ignorance, Power and Harm: Agnotology and the Criminological Imagination. Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp. 37-59. ISBN 978-3-319-97343-2

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Counterinsurgency, as the violence of empire, is directed at the subjugation and compliance of a population. At its core, this involves both the generation of knowledge about that population and the cultural production of militarised ignorance of, about and within a subject people, designed to ‘confound the native’, ‘cover the tracks’ and ‘reassure the self’. This chapter explores four aspects of the relationship between counterinsurgency and agnotology. First, links between race, imperialism and agnotology and the roots of counterinsurgency as the theory and practice of empire’s violence. Second, the ‘organised forgetting’ of imperial wars and counterinsurgency’s past crimes as means of preserving its appeal in the present. Third, the production of disinformation in the praxis of the contemporary counterinsurgent. Finally, using the example of the US military’s Human Terrain System (HTS), the role of social science itself in the cultural production of ignorance in and of counterinsurgency as part of the ‘War on Terror’.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Counterinsurgency, Empire, Imperialism, Agnotology, Ignoranc
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Social Work and Social Policy and Administration
Date Deposited: 02 Jan 2019 12:19

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