Feb 12 Minnesota International Relations Colloquium

Minnesota International Relations Colloquium mirc@umn.edu

Monday, February 12, 3.30p
The Lippincott Room, 1314 Social Sciences


MIRC is excited to host Prof. Brent J. Steele (The University of Utah) on February 12th. Prof. Steele's research interests include IR theory, and critical security studies. He will be presenting to us a paper in progress that is part of a special issue on ontological security and the everyday--contact MIRC if you would like a copy of the paper to read before seminar.
The talk will be at Lippincott Room, between 3:30-5:00 and coffee will be provided.

MIRC organizers

Welcome home! Routines, Ontological Insecurity, and the Politics of US Military Reunion Videos
Brent Steele, University of Utah

This paper investigates military 'reunion' videos that proliferated throughout the US throughout the late 2000s and early 2010s. The typical video entails a returning soldier who surprises a family member, usually a child or female spouse, at a public event. As it relates to who belongs, and what one should ‘do’ when viewing it, I articulate the reunion video as a key feature of populism in contemporary US society. Ironically, the routines so important for generating ontological security fail to alleviate both the anxiety of the child as well as the viewers. The videos can be considered examples of the ‘encounters’ theorized by both Anthony Giddens and Erving Goffman. Both private and public ‘social occasions’ with performative qualities of ‘day-to-day life’, the videos disclose the institutional and societal routines of not only a family but broader layers and circles of political communities. In the case of the United States, the videos serve as a ‘stand-in’ for the closure of wars that in the past concluded (with some exceptions) ‘successfully’ but in a 21stcentury ‘war-on-terror’ context seem to be without end. As they relate to not only loss but redemption (albeit manufactured), the paper concludes with the implications of these reunion videos for reflecting but also enabling (if not determining) the rise of Trump leading to the 2016 US Presidential Election.
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