Assemblages of conflict termination: popular culture, global politics and the end of wars

Cahir O’Doherty*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    The question of how wars end is of continued importance, especially in the context of the ongoing War on Terror. This question has traditionally been approached within International Relations through rational choice theories, logical modelling and game theory. Such approaches have become increasingly ill-suited to capturing the complexity and ambiguity of contemporary warfare and the War on Terror in particular. These battlefield ambiguities are often at odds with political and public desires to see decisive victory in wars. This article builds on recent critical work within War Termination Studies in order to re-conceptualise the end of war as assemblages. By paying greater attention to the affects inculcated by political rhetoric surrounding war and utilising the concepts of affect and emergence, this article presents a novel approach to the study of contemporary war termination. Utilising popular culture, increasingly seen as a crucial site of global politics, the case study analysed here advances the argument that sacrifice emerges from cinema and presidential rhetoric as a trope that allows leaders to claim victory in war despite indecisive conditions of the ground. Through affective cinematic encounters, conceptualised here through the end of wars assemblages, audiences can become more accepting of such political claims.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Relations
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28-Oct-2021

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