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


MacKenzie M, Gregory T, Shah N, Barkawi T, Haastrup T, Eichler M, Wegner N & Howell A (2019) Can we really "forget" militarization? A conversation on Alison Howell's martial politics. International Feminist Journal of Politics, 21 (5), pp. 816-836.

First paragraph: 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.”

Political Science and International Relations; Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous); Sociology and Political Science; Gender Studies

International Feminist Journal of Politics: Volume 21, Issue 5

Publication date31/12/2019
Publication date online31/10/2019
Date accepted by journal10/09/2019
PublisherInforma UK Limited