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The Ritual Performance of Deterrence: NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in the Alliance’s Eastern Flank

Malksoo, Maria (2018) The Ritual Performance of Deterrence: NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in the Alliance’s Eastern Flank. In: 5th European Workshops in International Studies (EWIS 2018), 'The Return of Politics to International Relations', University of Groningen, 6-9 June 2018, Groningen, Netherlands. (Unpublished) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository.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)

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Abstract

NATO’s post-Crimea Enhanced Forward Presence (efP) in the Baltic states and Poland is considered to be ‘part of the biggest reinforcement of Alliance collective defence in a generation’. The belated physical performance of NATO deterrence in the Baltic region in symbolic rather than actual numbers necessary for thwarting a full-scale Russian attack is evocative of the ritual nature of the Alliance’s collective defence commitment. Deterrence is, by definition, an act of faith: it lacks physical reality and its success can be measured by ‘nothing much happening’ (Gray, 2001). Proceeding from the understanding of ritual(isation) as a culturally strategic way of acting in the world and exercising power (Bell, 1991), this paper dissects the ritual practice of NATO’s deterrence pledge today. The bolstering of NATO’s traditional mission against its archenemy manages the demands of the Allied communitas, reordering the boundaries between the original members and post-Cold war additions to the Alliance. I pinpoint the symbolic work this rite of solidarity does in the enactment of NATO’s historical raison d’être, and mediating its current ontological security requirements. The efP enables to think through the relationship between ritualisation, routines and habits on the example of the self-proclaimed ‘most successful military alliance in human history’.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Uncontrolled keywords: ritual performance NATO deterrence rite of solidarity Baltic states Poland
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: M. Malksoo
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2019 16:38 UTC
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2019 11:25 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/76696 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Malksoo, Maria: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7110-2050
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