The politics of decay: death, mortality and security

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A comparative study of memorialisation and reconstruction in post-terrorist bomb sites, which argues that security practices are fundamentally connected to death anxiety.
What does taking dead bodies seriously tell us about the state of global security studies? Dead bodies play different roles in conventional, human, and critical security studies and thus thinking about them opens conversations among these different approaches. This paper pushes further to argue that scholars should think about the global dead as an analytical category. It demonstrates that doing so will allow us to rethink the measurement of war casualties, and examine the assumptions embedded in quantitative casualty data, the ethnography of these numbers, and the politics of representing them. Establishing the dead as an analytical category also widens the lens of dead body management to examine how dead bodies are not only objects but also subjects of security. This should lead us to ask about the politics behind how they are secured and governed, as well as the political and legal structures in place to manage them. Corpses matter for how we define security and they matter a great deal for a wide variety of security behavior. Up until now, security scholars have treated them implicitly but we can understand much more about the politics of the dead if we make them an explicit category of study.
Life after Death: The Science of Human Decomposition.” The Guardian
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