Can the Image and Practice Turn in International Relations Meet?: Understanding Military Scandal Images and Band of Brothers Culture
The study of images has proliferated in international relations, particularly in the last decade. However, much of this literature treats images as static artefacts and ignores the practices associated with the production, circulation, and consumption of images. This article calls for an engagement between the so-called visual and practice turns in international relations. It offers a new method of visual-practice discourse analysis and applies it to soldier-generated illicit images (or amateur images soldiers take of abuse, torture, and killing during war). Specifically, it examines the ways that images of torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and images of hazing practices sustain and reinforce band of brother military culture in the US.
Megan Mackenzie is an associate professor at the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. Megan’s research bridges feminist international relations, critical security studies and development studies. Her book, Female Soldiers in Sierra Leone: Sex, Security, and Post-Conflict Development examines women’s participation in the 11-year civil war in Sierra Leone and the challenges and insecurities they faced during the post-conflict reintegration process. MacKenzie is also working on a collaborative project focused on the impacts of transitional justice mechanisms. In particular, the project looks at the long-term effects of the truth and reconciliation commission in Sierra Leone and the extent to which it achieved its lofty objectives.