dr.woooo on Fri, 6 Feb 2004 11:15:49 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> underfire -- a forum on the organization and representation of contemporary armed conflict

underfire -- a forum on the organization and representation of contemporary 
armed conflict  
About underfire  
Jordan Crandall 
Asef Bayat 
Susan Buck-Morss 
Hamid Dabashi 
Brian Holmes 
Gema Martin Munoz 

Under Fire is a year-long project that explores the organization and 
representation of contemporary armed conflict. On the organizational front, it 
looks at the forms of militarized agencies that are emerging today, including 
Western defense industries and decentralized terrorist organizations. It 
explores the forces that contribute to their emergence, whether operating at 
the level of economy, technology, politics, or ideology. On the 
representational front, it looks at the ways that armed violence materializes 
as act and image, searching for new insight into its mechanisms and effects. In 
so doing, it engages issues of economy, embodiment, symbolic meaning, and 

The project delves into the economic underpinnings of contemporary armed 
conflict. It looks at the legacy of the "military-industrial complex," the rise 
of the privatized military industry, and the repercussions of the 
commercialization of violence. However it does not simply prioritize economy. 
It looks to contemporary conflicts as driven by combinations of territorial, 
market, and ideological imperatives, and new attempts at the reconciliation of 
identity and universality. It looks to emergent processes of organization that 
operate on multiple levels of temporality and implicit form. Through this 
approach, the project aims to articulate emergent systems of decentralized 
control and new global dynamics of power. Building on historical conceptions of 
hegemony, it attempts to understand the nature of emergent power and the forms 
of resistance to it, situating cycles of violence within the modalities of a 
global system. 

The project emphasizes the role that representations play as registers of 
symbolic meaning and as agents of affective change. It engages images from 
commercial and independent news media, as well as representations from 
artistic, literary, and popular entertainment sources, both in the West and the 
Middle East. These images are regarded in terms of attention strategy and 
perception management, but they are also regarded in terms of cultural 
imaginaries of conflict, where they can operate as "fictionalized components of 
reality." They are studied in terms of the deeper truths they may offer about 
collective identifications and aggressions, and their roles in the formation of 
a new body politic. 

The project consists of as a series of organized discussions that will occur 
online and in Rotterdam, throughout the year 2004. These discussions will 
involve participation from individuals working in politics, theory, criticism, 
the arts, and journalism from both the West and the Middle East. Rather than 
relying on discourses based upon Western conceptions of modernity, the project 
is dedicated to opening up new historical perspectives, exploring the potential 
of Islamist discourse as a source of critical and political debate. It will 
thus include participation from progressive thinkers in the Islamic world. 

A series of publications will be released during the course of the year. Each 
of these publications will be organized around a key interpretive concept that 
emerges in the proceedings. 

To see the collection of prior postings to the list, visit the underfire 
Archives. http://list.v2.nl/pipermail/underfire/

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