The Formation of the ‘Western’ Strategic Gaze: A Case Study on Emotional Irrelevance in International Politics

  • Christophe Wasinski
Part of the Palgrave Studies in International Relations book series (PSIR)


Why and how did a cartographic narrative emerge, which makes empathic emotions irrelevant, encourages resorting to violence, symbolically transforms ‘own troops’ into reified entities that can be sacrificed, and, in general, facilitates war-waging? The analysis of material factors (be they military manpower, defense budgets, and/or weapons available in armed forces’ arsenals) and/or of balances of power is not sufficient to decipher this puzzle. In order to understand war, it is necessary to take into account the existence of social representations, especially those contributing to hush up ‘positive’ (empathic) emotions toward the Other. Using a sociological historical approach inspired by Science and Technology Studies, this chapter aims at exploring the social forces that allowed such dehumanizing representations, thereby making emotions largely irrelevant, to succeed and circulate transnationally in Europe for centuries.



The author would like to address special thanks to Constance de Lannoy, Maéva Clément, and Eric Sangar for their kind assistance during the writing of this chapter.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christophe Wasinski
    • 1
  1. 1.Université libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium

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