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Refugees Are Not Weapons: The “Weapons of Mass Migration” Metaphor and Its Implications (2018) 


ABSTRACT: In 2010, Kelly Greenhill published her highly acclaimed book Weapons of Mass Migration: Forced Displacement, Coercion, and Foreign Policy. In this article, I focus on the uses and implications of Greenhill's theory and specifically the metaphor Greenhill uses in place of “coercive engineered migration”—“weapons of mass migration.” The metaphor unmistakably links refugees to “weapons of mass destruction.” This should not be dismissed as just a phrase, considering that metaphors are one of the fundamental elements of thinking in international relations. Inquiring into the utility of the metaphor, I argue that associating refugees with weapons (1) weaponizes the metaphor against refugees, (2) frames the problem and possible solutions in a restrictive, securitized way that should be questioned, and (3) even undermines one of four policy options Greenhill herself proposes. After highlighting the merits of Greenhill's analysis and its embrace among far-right ideologues and conspiracy theorists, using Paul Chilton and George Lakoff's delineation of three utilities of metaphors in foreign policy, I analyze the “weapons of mass migration” metaphor. The article ends with a discussion of possible ways to mitigate the metaphor's effects and discusses alternative metaphors.

Rethinking homo economicus in the political sphere (2017)


ABSTRACT: Homo-economicus, this rational cost-benefit calculating interest-pursuing subject, in political analysis usually stands for the ordinary citizen little interested in unprofitable political knowledge. This subject appears as an obstacle to democratic governance, but it does not have to appear as such. On the basis of Foucault’s analysis of homo-economicus in The Birth of Biopolitics, I argue that others who rely on his account and political scientists too quickly dismiss the possibility that homo-economicus may support the democratic system. As long as this subject’s image remains antithetical to democratic governance, its potential remains unrealized and its treatment focuses only on its destructive behavior.


Adam Smith: So what if the sovereign shares in ignorance? (2017)


ABSTRACT: Unfortunately, Adam Smith’s undeserved legacy as a proponent of laissez-faire and liberal institutions at the international scope inhibits profiting from his refined analysis of international affairs. I argue that the Wealth of Nations’ chapter on colonies contains Smith’s discussion of the sovereign’s adaptation to ignorance in global politics. I examine the sense in which the sovereign is ignorant according to Smith and how sovereigns adapt to ignorance with varying success. His comparative analysis suggests that reduction of one’s share in ignorance is not always desirable, and a priori rejection of ignorance is impractical because it deprives of a potentially advantageous resource. A careful reading of his work enables learning from his approach to global politics, without filtering it through his ideas on the free market.

Examination of Practices of Ignorance Conducive to Democracy Based on Rancierian Thought and Rortian Pragmatism (2016)


ABSTRACT: Theorists, who broadly subscribe to Claude Lefort’s characterization of democracy as the dissolution of the markers of certainty, disagree over the proper enactment of democracy. In this article, I consider the possibility of narrowing the gap by attending to the ignorance advocated by each of the two approaches – the disruptive radical route Jacques Rancière describes and the reformist approach of Richard Rorty. I highlight the attributes and shortcomings of the positive link between practices of ignorance and democracy in the work of the two theorists, and explore how the practices they describe can complement each other in the enactment of democracy.

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