Prickly Paradigm #29
Neomedievalism, Neoconservatism, and the War on Terror
Far from an unfortunate cliché, medievalism has become a dominant paradigm for comprehending the identity and motivations of America’s perceived enemy in the War on Terror. Yet as Bruce Holsinger argues here, this cloying post-9/11 rhetoric has served to obscure the more intricate ideological machinations of neomedievalism, the global idiom of the non-state actor: NGOs, transnational corporate militias, and terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and al Qaeda. While International Relations theorists promote neomedievalism as a model for understanding emergent modes of global sovereignty, neoconservatives exploit its conceptual slipperiness for tactical ends. Holsinger concludes with a careful parsing of the Bush administration’s Torture Memos, which enlist neomedievalism’s model of feudal sovereignty toward the abrogation of human rights.