Nicole Torres (PhC Washington 2009)
Medical anthropology, conflict theory, psychoanalysis, prisons,
militarization, crime, institutions, borderlands and ecology
Topographies of the Camp: Arizona and the Ecology of Militarization
"I am interested in two interrelated phenomena: (1) the system of militarization and (2) how the process of militarization relates to how people understand and adapt to violence. The anthropologist Catherine Lutz defines militarization as the activities and rhetoric produced by “war preparation” that is “the legacy and rhetoric of national security.” Expanding on Lutz’s definition, I argue that the processes of preparing for and making war depend on a constellation of social and cultural practices such as language, socialization, and the creation and manipulation of material objects. In other words, I argue that what people in Phoenix and Tucson have begun to describe as the process of militarization is actually part of a larger social process in which violence is institutionalized.
In my dissertation I investigate how individuals become subjects and agents in the process of militarization. Through ethnographic research, the four main chapters of my dissertation address how through seemingly normal, everyday practices, individuals become accustomed to the discourse of war and what Paul Gilroy describes as the “camp mentality.” I theorize how the process of militarization operates via two main avenues – through David Garland’s notion of the “crime complex” and what legal scholar Jonathan Simon calls “governing through crime.” I further examine how the process of militarization and its practices become deeply systematized and embedded in people's everyday lives and thinking processes. I argue that the operations of the crime complex and the practices necessary for governing through crime comprise the foundation of the social and psychological conditions necessary for militarization to take place."
Curriculum Vita [click here]