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"Political Self-Sacrifice: Agency, Body and Emotion in International Relations" by K. M. Fierke

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 28.1 (Spring 2014)

Political Self-Sacrifice: Agency, Body and Emotion in International Relations

Political Self-Sacrifice: Agency, Body and Emotion in International Relations, K. M. Fierke (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 281 pp., $95 cloth.

Review by Andrew A. G. Ross

What could we learn from examining suicide bombing, self-immolation, or hunger strikes not through the lens of state security but from the position of those individuals who use such acts to achieve normative change? In addressing this question, Political Self-Sacrifice brings what seem like senseless acts of desperation into focus as strategically intelligible and culturally meaningful techniques of resistance. By disentangling the logic of "political self-sacrifice," K. M. Fierke offers an important and timely account of the political strategies, cultural meanings, and normative aspirations associated with those participants in international affairs who, as she puts it, "play with a weak hand" (p. 8).

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