Can we really "forget" militarization? A conversation on Alison Howell's martial politics

Megan MacKenzie, Thomas Gregory, Nisha Shah, Tarak Barkawi, Toni Haastrup, Maya Eichler, Nicole Wegner, Alison Howell

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Alison Howell’s (2018) article “Forget ‘Militarization’: Race, Disability and the ‘Martial Politics’ of the Police and of the University” has already generated many rich conversations. With its bold critique of formulaic uses of the term “militarization,” and a call to observe the ways in which everyday life is shaped by martial politics, Howell's contribution especially gave pause to many of us who readily use the concept of militarization. One of Howell's core arguments is that the fixation with a perceived process of militarization is grounded in liberal fantasies of a “pre” or normal peaceful liberal order. She counters this, stating: “Normal politics” is not overtaken by “militarization”; instead, martial relations in here in liberal politics as they are enacted on populations deemed to be a threat to civil order or the health of the population, especially along lines of race, Indigeneity, disability, gender, sexuality and class. (118) Howell uses the term “martial” to capture the ways in which knowledges, relations, and technologies often taken for granted as “normal” and civilian are, historically, both “of war” and “war-like.”
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)816-836
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Feminist Journal of Politics
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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