Economy of Force: Counterinsurgency and the Historical Rise of the Social

Retrieving the older but surprisingly neglected language of household governance, Economy of Force offers a radical new account of the historical rise of the social realm and distinctly social theory as modern forms of oikonomikos – the art and science of household rule. The techniques and domestic ideologies of household administration are highly portable and play a remarkably central role in international and imperial relations. In two late-colonial British ’emergencies’ in Malaya and Kenya, and US counterinsurgencies in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, armed social work was the continuation of oikonomia – not politics – by other means. This is a provocative new history of counterinsurgency with major implications for social, political and international theory. Historically rich and theoretically innovative, this book will interest scholars and students across the humanities and social sciences, especially politics and international relations, history of social and political thought, history of war, social theory and sociology.

About the Author

Patricia Owens is Reader in International Relations at the University of Sussex. She is author of Between War and Politics: International Relations and the Thought of Hannah Arendt (2007) and co-edits The European Journal of International Relations. She has held research fellowships at Harvard University, Massachusetts, Princeton University, New Jersey, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Southern California, and the University of Oxford.

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