Kevin C. Dunn's research while affiliated with Hobart and William Smith Colleges and other places

Publications (8)

Article
The ‘state’ is one of the foundational concepts in the fields of development studies, yet it is often employed in the literature uncritically, with academics assuming an essentialised presence of the state. This article begins with Roxanne Doty’s blunt and provocative observation: ‘There is no such thing as “the state”’, which forces us to stop and...
Article
For the past two decades, the Lord's Resistance Army has waged a devastating war against the central government and the local population in northern Uganda. It is estimated that tens of thousands of civilians have been killed or kidnapped so far. In recent years, Lord's Resistance Army forces led by Joseph Kony have moved beyond the confines of nor...
Article
Since the ‘linguistic turn’ in International Relations, it is assumed that agents like the state are always effects of discourse and should be ‘decentered’ rather than made the starting point for theory. Yet, most postmodern IR scholarship implicitly assumes a particular conception of the state. This article provides an explicit elaboration of that...
Article
The employment of autochthony discourses has become a prominent feature of contemporary politics around the world. Autochthony discourses link identity and space, enabling the speaker to establish a direct claim to territory by asserting that one is an original inhabitant, a ‘son of the soil’. Drawing from recent African examples, this contribution...
Article
Largely ignored by scholars of world politics, the global punk rock scene provides a fruitful basis for exploring the multiple circuits of exchange and circulation of goods, people, and messages that moves beyond the limitations of IR. Punk can also offer new ways of thinking about international relations and communication from the lived experience...
Article
Human beings make sense of the world around them through the social construction of the meanings, characteristics and truth that make reality "knowable". There is no way to step outside interpretation. There is no objective truth to discover, only competing interpretations to navigate. In view of this, two important issues to consider when judging...
Article
This paper explores how the creation and utilization of national parks have been connected to the evolution of state sovereignty in the African Great Lakes region, specifically Uganda, Rwanda, and the Congo (DRC). The national parks offer a useful vantage point from which to examine the process of state-making and the historical evolution of sovere...

Citations

... For the leader of Ghana, the only way to ensure complete liberation of the new members from the former colonial economic exploitation, resided in the establishment of a common government for all the nations of the continent 66 . Only in this way political instability could have been overcome and the instances of renewal of the African peoples, free from exploitation Europe, would have been accepted: The intention is to use the newly independent African states, so circumscribed, as puppets through which influence can be extended [...] The creation of several weak and unstable states of this kind of Africa, it is hoped, will ensure the continued dependence on the former colonial powers for economic aid, and impede African unity. ...
... Discourses can be thought of as collectively constituted clusters of shared meaning, which circulate through global communities via multiple channels, and create the conditions from which 'truth' can emerge (Adger et al., 2001;Hajer, 1995b;Rangan and Kull, 2008;Svarstad, 2002). By shaping what is known and knowable, discourses also shape what is done and doable (Adger et al., 2001;Dunn, 2009). Discourses therefore extend beyond the individual/group or the claim(s) they are making, forming as outcomes of the dynamic, power-laden relationship between the two. ...
... The struggle over autochthony claim in developing countries, notably in Africa, is based on the sense of belonging and geographical attachment (Geschiere & Nyamnjoh, 2000;Nnabuihe, 2020). Autochthony practice, as part of the global concept of belonging, grants citizens specific privileges based on their place of origin or local ancestry while excluding others (Dunn, 2009). Autochthony claim-making in Africa leads to a politics of belonging that appeals to the concept of 'son of the soil' (Bøås & Dunn, 2013;Dunn, 2009)., which gives rise to the politics of difference of 'us' versus 'them' (Geschiere & Jackson, 2006;Geschiere & Nyamnjoh, 2000). ...
... I thus draw on and apply Judith Butler's idea of 'performativity', suggesting that the creation of showcase citizens is a performative stance by the state through a theatrical deployment of language, media, and symbols that reiterates the 'power of discourse to produce the phenomena that it regulates and constrains' (Butler 2011, xii). Many contend that a state is a totality of performativity and theatricality through which it comes into being (Dunn 2010;Tripp 2018;Weber 1998). 'Performative governance' becomes of prime significance for the current discussion, because states are more likely to demonstrate such performativity when their capacity is low but public attention is high (Ding 2020). ...
... Kony's stated war aims in support of "the application of the Ten Commandments and the liberation of the people of Northern Uganda" do not necessarily hold the maintenance of the state system dear. 31 According to Kevin Dunn, a scholar of the conflict: "One of the more pronounced features of the conflict is Kony's limited interest in communicating with the outside world." Dunn further notes that the lra was less interested in "seizing the reins of power" from the central government than in creating an "enclave . . . ...
... These local re-appropriations of the punk sound support Dunn's assertion that punk rock is a clear example of cultural hybridism, since it is not the same everywhere; instead, it is locally moulded and redefined according to the social and political resources of a specific place in a process that mixes characteristics of global punk with local elements. For Dunn, punk has these geographical properties due to being a cultural field within which youngsters find various tools of resistance, action and empowerment (Dunn 2008). ...
... Accordingly, both what is being said (in the respective policy documents, speeches by political leaders and elites, public announcements, political memoirs, academic accounts, and the media) and actually done (policies, institutionalization, routines, practices) should be explored in conjunction, highlighting specific reasoning and legitimation moves along the way (cf. Dunn 2006). ...