Publication | The Departed Militant



My latest publication – The Departed Militant: A Portrait of Joy, Violence, and Political Evil – is now forthcoming at Security Dialogue.

This is a quite personal piece in which I offer a narrative or portrait of the contours of what is usually termed ‘terrorism’ based on my own friendship with an Islamist militant fighting in Syria in the Lebanese city of Tripoli.

The article explores how subjectivities are fractured towards political violence through fundamentally joyous, spiritual, and affirmative encounters with different cultural, religious, ritualistic, and personal phenomena, concluding with a discussion of the ontology of political evil read through my own meetings with those branded with this term.

To (try to) make all this happen, I blend together a mix of social theory, empirical studies of violence and war, Sufi spiritual thought, Surrealist aesthetic theory, Arabic poetry/aesthetics, as well as photographic representations of what I discuss.

The paper can be downloaded here.