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A Ritual Approach to Deterrence

Malksoo, Maria (2019) A Ritual Approach to Deterrence. In: 13th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, 11-14 Sept 2019, Sofia, Bulgaria. (Unpublished) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:76686)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)


How can ritual help to elucidate the symbolism of deterrence? Traditional deterrence scholarship tends to overlook the active role of deterring actors in creating and redefining the circumstances to which they are allegedly only reacting. In order to address the weight of deterrence as a symbol, collective representation and strategic repertoire, this paper proposes to rethink deterrence as a performative and generative (ontological) security practice with ritual features, functions and effects. Riding the ‘fourth wave’ of deterrence studies, the paper posits a novel theoretical account for understanding the mediation of ambiguity in extended deterrence. Drawing on the example of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in the Alliance’s eastern flank, the proposed conceptualization of extended deterrence as an interaction ritual chain in allied defence, solidarity and community-building offers new insights about the deterrence and collective identity nexus. The case of eFP throws into stark relief the ontological security significance of ritualizing allied deterrence. Lacking social and political consensus about the severity of a threat in question, the ritualization of deterrence serves as a potent valve for communicating the credibility and commitment in an extended deterrence situation, along with answering the identity demands of a collective actor.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Uncontrolled keywords: ritual, deterrence, NATO, Enhanced Forward Presence, ritualization, ontological security
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Maria Malksoo
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2019 10:24 UTC
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2019 11:27 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Malksoo, Maria:
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