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Paul Saurette

This article focuses on the prevalence of the concept of identity in International Relations Theory (IRT) and inquires into its ethical effectivity for Critical International Relations Theory (CIRT).  It's aim is therefore two-fold.  The first section argues that traditional IRT has been based on a particular 'image of thought' which has helped define the problems and possibilities of international politics in a very specific manner.  Using the work of Deleuze and Guattari, it attempts to problematize and politicize these traditional understandings of theory.  The second section examines the use of identity as a concept by CIRT and, in light of the Deleuzian perspective developed in the first, evaluates its effectivity as a critical tool.  The paper argues that the concept of identity has become central to a variety of critical approaches to IRT.  It seeks to show, however, that critical uses of identity which are not accompanied by a concomitant critique of the presuppositions of our modern image of thought actually run the risk of further naturalizing identity.  Considering this question through an examination of the provocative work of David Campbell and Roxanne Lynn Doty, the paper demonstrates that these critical approaches sometimes overlook the complex assemblages of desire and power that underlie identity.  The article concludes by suggesting that an ethological interrogation of these complex assemblages (inspired by the work of Deleuze and Guattari) would strengthen CIRT's project of challenging exclusive identities and nationalist imaginaries.

We do not lack communication.  On the contrary, we have too much of it.  We lack creation.  We lack resistance to the present.  The creation of concepts in itself calls for a future form, for a new earth and people that do not yet exist (Deleuze and Guattari 1994, 108).

A concept is a brick.  It can be used to build the courthouse of Reason.  Or it can be thrown through the window (Brian Massumi in Deleuze and Guattari 1987, xii).

Is the concept of identity a brick that inevitably shores up the common sense of International Relations Theory or can it be thrown through the window and call forth a future form?  This is the question I want to examine in this essay.  For 'identity' has been increasingly employed as an important concept1 in a wide range of recent International Relations (IR) literature.2 In its conventional usage, it is being employed to naturalize certain types of conflict and legitimize various strategies of national security.  Its critical use has problematized these claims and challenged the national appropriation of the rhetoric of identity.  It is my contention that a Deleuzian critique of the orthodox image of thought adds important resources to this project by excavating and problematizing the sufficiency of the concept of identity itself.

The idea that identity is a concept crucial to the study of international relations and, in particular to issues of security and conflict, is not new.  The idea that some national identities are more inclined to war and aggression or that certain national identities are antithetical to others has played a crucial role both in trying to understand security and conflict and in the practical planning for such eventualities. National character has been of crucial importance not only for so-called 'organic' or 'Romantic' philosophers from Hegel to Heidegger, but also for military strategists from Clausewitz onward.3 Such overt theorization of national character and identity seemed to fall out of favor with the professionalization of IR as a discipline and was, until recently, largely regarded as unscientific, prejudiced and altogether dated in light of grander theoretical projects or more particular historical studies.  As various critical scholars have shown, questions and judgements about national identity and character never really disappeared.  Rather, they have been merely recoded into the more 'acceptable' scientific language where, for example, overtly racist judgements about 'African's' (in)ability to rule themselves become paternalistic discussions of quasi-sovereignty.4

That these valences have remained just below the surface of much mainstream IR theorization helps to explain the phenomenal influence of Samuel Huntington's The Clash Of Civilizations (1996).  It also helps make sense of the recent surge of policy study directed explicitly at examining the 'threat' of conflict resulting from differences between various forms and claims of identity (usually defined in religious or ethnic terms) and its security implications.5 For what is Huntington's  thesis if not that while nation-states are less capable of defining a national identity, this same sense of identity now resides on something called a 'civilizational' level and that inherent differences between these identities (irreducible to mere national interests or misperception) are the fault lines along which conflict and security will increasingly be defined (Huntington 1996)? And what does his policy prescriptions exhibit and rest upon if not the renewed judgement that the character of the very identity of the barbarian Other necessarily threatens us?

Over the last 15 years, there have also emerged scholars who, rather than celebrating identity as the new concept on the basis of which we should unproblematically reconstruct strategies of security, have begun to examine critically its relevance and role in international relations and International Relations Theory (IRT).  Pursuing what has been referred to as Critical IRT (CIRT) and linked more by an ethos of critique than a single methodology or 'object' of study, these scholars argue that it is important to examine the relations between the demands of 'identity/difference', the role of national security and foreign policy in constructing national identity and state sovereignty and the impact of all of these in motivating and shaping the contours of both global order, conflict and security policy.  For if, as these scholars suggest, it is the demands and concomitant practices of an aggressive Western form of identity that intersects with and gives power to what they see as the central ordering/normative concept of IR6 -- that of sovereignty -- then it becomes of central importance for them to critique and expose the problematic nature of both sovereignty as an ordering principle and the more profound relations of identity/difference that ground and empower such modes of authority.

Challenging both dominant realist and neo-liberal constructions of the discrete 'object' of international relations and the role of theorization and discourse, these critical scholars have highlighted the crucial normative role conceptual backgrounds play in shaping and allowing both the discipline of IR and the larger practices of international relations.  In doing so, they have revealed the role that traditional IRT plays in helping to construct the practices of international relations and, by resisting and reconceptualizing these dominant understandings, the role that CIRT might play in challenging and reconstructing the 'reality' of contemporary international relations.  A crucial strategy in this ethical contestation, then, is to examine closely the foundational and legitimizing concepts of IR theory and practice.  This allows them to determine how these concepts function to maintain and reproduce the status quo of global relations and denaturalize their necessity by revealing their historicity.  By challenging their validity, sufficiency and ethicality, CIRT loosens the grip that these founding concepts and practices have on the contemporary imaginary.

Given the central role that Critical IR theorists have accorded to the nexus of identity/sovereignty/global ordering in their reconceptualization of global relations, as well as its emerging importance in the public policy realm, 'identity' has become a crucial site of contestation for much of CIRT.  This contestation has become even more timely now that a good deal of mainstream IRT and public policy analysis is now overtly employing identity as a concept that naturalizes and legitimizes various practices of security and conflict.7 It is in fact because I support CIRT's aspiration to being a critical practice of intervention that it I think it is important to interrogate the sufficiency of its critical counter-conceptualizations, examine the effects this has on its political effectivity and consider how it might require supplementation.

'What is identity and how do its demands help determine patterns of conflict and security?' is not the question I want to ask. Instead, I will argue that it is equally important to ask 'how useful is the concept of identity as it is employed in IR and, in particular, given the normative goals of CIRT, how might it be reconceptualized in order to enhance its political effectivity?'  In pursuing this line of questioning, the thinking of Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari is helpful.  For they offer a conception of philosophy and a mode of critical excavation that highlights the importance of our conceptual universe while simultaneously considering the role of that sphere in relation to the bodily and material elements of being. On one hand, Deleuze's presentation of the interlocking levels of thinking exposes the paucity of many traditional IRT understandings of conceptual understanding and suggests that a more fundamental questioning of our theoretical habits than is carried out by mainstream IR is necessary. Deleuze's discussion of the difference and relations between concepts, planes of immanence and images of thought allows us to explore this problem more sharply. On the other, Deleuze's substantive comments on the hegemony of the 'good natured' image of thought in philosophy suggests that it might be important to examine if IRT, and perhaps even elements of CIRT, are influenced by such an image and what consequences this holds.  Deleuze and Guattari are useful in contesting this vision as they offer a renewed image of thought that challenges the traditional vision, reconsider the nature of conceptual creation and suggest the need for an alternative mode of engaging in critical philosophy.  I will begin by considering the status traditionally assigned to concepts in IRT, examine Deleuze's understanding of concepts and their relation to  philosophical and cultural common sense, lay out Deleuze's vision of the contemporary 'image of thought' that underlies Western thinking and suggest several consequences that this has for a critical and effective contestation of 'identity'.  I will then examine several influential CIRT uses of the concept of 'identity' and, employing some of Deleuze and Guattari's insights, suggest some of the ways a critical ethology might supplement its aims and political effectivity.

Concepts and the Image of Thought

The problem of concepts -- what they are, where they are located, how we create/discover them -- has always been close to the heart of philosophy and extends deep into the sciences and social sciences.  Within IR, this concern has generally been located in the sphere of methodology and it remains crucial to the various behaviourist - positivist - empiricist - traditionalist debates.  All but the most stubborn empiricists accept that concepts influence our thinking, the validity of studies and the utility of certain perspectives. It is not surprising, then, that some of the most heated debates in the history of IR (and international law) have focused on the proper place, method and definition of certain key concepts such as sovereignty, war, human rights, anarchy, institutions, power, and international.

If all concepts are equally created, however, some become represented and treated as more equal than others. There are, in fact, different layers of conceptual understanding and degrees of articulability and these render certain concepts more or less subject to question.8 In any debate, certain understandings are shared by its participants and certain concepts must be common for communication to occur.  These concepts become the foundational layer of the debate, rarely being raised for consideration, but profoundly shaping the contours of the debate.  There have been two traditionally philosophical responses to this.  The first, more familiar to mainstream IR, might be seen as the empiricist and positivist response in which the importance of this layer is minimized and its concepts represented as 'preliminary assumptions', 'term variables', or 'operative definitions' -- voluntarily accepted concepts that are hypothetically and tentatively accepted for their heuristic value.  Because many empiricists and positivists accept an understanding of language and thought as transparent and instrumental, they generally assume that, with enough effort, all of our fundamental assumptions and concepts can be clarified and their consequences known -- allowing for, if not truthful representation, then at least useful manipulation.  While this has perhaps been the prevalent view within English philosophy since the scientific revolution, a second approach, what has been called the continental tradition of philosophy, has consistently challenged these premises.  From this perspective, Kant's definition of the project of philosophy as the search for the transcendental conditions of thought and morality is the paradigmatic challenge to the English tradition of empiricism. According to Kant (and shifting him into the language of this essay), there exist certain natural preconditions -- transcendental fields -- of thought that allow us to make sense of experience.  And while some of these necessary preconditions (categories and concepts) can be traced and categorized, others, such as the constitutive and regulative Ideas, cannot be known with the same theoretical rigor.  On this view, the concepts (Ideas) of this deep layer of shared understandings (experience) are not  transparent and available to examination.  Even those we can represent cannot be manipulated and reconfigured.  Far from being heuristic devices of our own making, they are the necessary and universal conditions of possibility for any experience and understanding.

Mainstream IR, when it pauses to consider the role and nature of concepts, has tended to adopt the epistemological and 'scientific' approach. It is acknowledged that theories may rest upon often-unverifiable assumptions and constitutive concepts, but most theorists believe that these assumptions are both relatively obvious and easily manipulated.  IR, therefore, is pictured as a plurality of contending theories whose fundamental assumptions vary from theory to theory. When it speaks of ontology (as a constitutive level of assumptions for any given theory), it does not examine the conditions that allow for the disciplinary constitution of the discursive object of 'international relations' itself.  Instead, it views ontology merely as the easily delineated assumptions that a particular theory accepts.  Thus the common charge that this or that theory ontologizes the state, or the agent, or structure and that what is required, in order to rectify this failure, is simply to reconceptualize the assumptions of a particular theory.  The consequence of this voluntaristic vision of theorization is that there is a great deal of investigation and debate about one level of concepts -- those that differentiate theoretical analytical positions -- but very little investigation of those that are more comprehensively shared and allow for the very possibility of communication within the discipline itself.9

Giles Deleuze contests this epistemological image while resisting the Kantian turn to naturalization.  For Deleuze, the fact that there is a great depth and complexity to the assumptions and common concepts that underlie, and allow for, everyday discourses and practices is not incompatible with the notion that these foundations are historically constructed.10 Concepts, therefore, have various levels and layers.  Some are relatively manipulable and subject to change.  But others, however historical and constructed they may be, are deeply sedimented in our ways of thinking and acting and are very difficult to articulate and modify.  At this level, the constitutive and regulative concepts are neither transparent and easily manipulable nor natural and necessary.  Deleuze, therefore, subtracts the necessity from Kant's vision while retaining an appreciation for the recalcitrance and force of various historically and culturally formed conceptual conditions of possibility.  While the aim of Kant's transcendental excavations is to establish that certain of these understandings are absolutely necessary preconditions for us as modern humans, Deleuze follows Nietzsche in arguing that although shared understandings are necessary (and often immensely difficult to alter), no particular substantive understanding is natural or necessary, and, therefore, particular formulations hold considerable consequences both for our thinking and everyday practice.  In doing so, he offers a conceptualization of philosophical and cultural common sense that helps uncover and contest the multiple layers of sedimented assumptions and concepts that underpin and naturalize our contemporary thinking and practice.

Concepts, Planes and Images of Thought

In his examination of philosophy, Deleuze (1994b) refers to this profound level of commonality as the 'image of thought' that is necessary for philosophy to begin.11 According to Deleuze (1994), every philosophical system (and intellectual discipline) consists of various interlocking layers which he conceptualizes as concepts,  planes of immanence and the underlying image of thought.  Concepts, for Deleuze (1994, 2), are the essential tools and material of philosophy and philosophy is therefore "the art of forming, inventing and fabricating concepts". For Deleuze, this art of fabrication is not based on the logic of the model/copy.  Concepts do not primarily strive to reproduce, with the utmost accuracy possible, the eternal forms of the pure world of Ideas.  Philosophy does not contemplate being and discover concepts nor do concepts thrust themselves upon us through induction.  Rather, philosophy is fundamentally worldly -- it creates concepts in order to react to problems of the world.  "All concepts are connected to problems without which they would have no meaning" (Deleuze, 1994, 16). The importance and value of a concept is therefore not so much its accuracy in representing the world as the effects it has.  "Concepts are centers of vibration, each in itself and everyone in relation to all the others" (Deleuze, 1994, 23).  If a concept can be judged 'better' than another, then, it is only "because it makes us aware of new variations and unknown resonances, it carries out unforseen cuttings-out" (Deleuze, 1994, 27). The way in which concepts resonate or challenge each other address and alter 'problems'. It is this cultivation or dampening of certain thoughts, action and possibilities, and not simply representation, that is their function.

What is crucial for Deleuze is that the definition and constitution of a 'problem' is neither merely a recognition of an obvious 'external' issue nor solely an internal contradiction or question arising from within the philosophical system itself.  Rather, the emergence of problems is a result of the interplay between an image of thought, planes of immanence and concepts, and material and historical conditions.  A plane of immanence is a philosophical horizon that draws various concepts together and gives them a coherence by presenting a solid ground of immanent comparison. Deleuze (1994, 51) claims that the construction of these planes of immanence is equally crucial to the practice of philosophy, suggesting that "in the end, does not every great philosopher lay out a new plane of immanence?"  It is on this level that philosophy is "the coexistence of planes, not the succession of systems" and that "philosophical time is thus a grandiose time of coexistence that does not exclude the before and after but superimposes [planes] in a stratigraphic order" (Deleuze, 1994, 58).  And it is on this level that various theories and philosophical systems might be seen to be both incommensurable (with differences between concepts, assumptions and standards of evaluation) and comparable (for these differences are relatively obvious and thus available for consideration and judgment).

Yet Deleuze suggests that this philosophical constructivism is made possible only by a more fundamental level of pre-philosophical convergence.  By pre-philosophical, Deleuze (1994, 7) does "not mean something preexistent, but rather something that does not exist outside philosophy, although philosophy presupposes it". This convergence is both nonphilosophical and merely philosophical because while it is not based on any external given, philosophy itself consistently renounces any consideration of it and resolutely refuses to acknowledge its profound reliance upon it.  This pre-philosophical level of 'common sense' is what Deleuze terms philosophy's 'image of thought'.  It forms philosophy's "internal conditions" (Deleuze, 1994, 7) because "the image of thought gives [philosophy] itself what it means to think, to make use of order, to find one's bearings in thought" (Deleuze, 1994, 37).  This image of thought has serious repercussions, therefore, because insofar as it acts as the transcendental field of possibility of philosophy, it "determines our goals when we try to think" (Deleuze, 1994b, xvi).  Certain questions and possibilities are accorded exclusive importance while others are not only dismissed as wrong, but effaced as irrelevant.  Deleuze, therefore, argues that it is crucial to excavate the image of thought of a culture and a discipline to trace how it has helped to define and naturalize what are viewed as legitimate problematics (questions to be asked, issues to be explored), analytic frameworks, normative boundaries and techniques of ethical intervention.

This gives a very different vision of the way in which the discipline of IRT functions.  Take, for example, the debate between realism and various elements of regime theory and the concomitant agent-structure debate. According to these debates, certain problems are thrust upon us as theorists from the outside world, problems which it is our job to address and solve.  To do so, we choose our concepts (the state or regimes), delineate their level of analysis (agents or structure), examine the relevant empirical data and then confirm or falsify the validity of our theory and concepts.  If the world is not transparent, at least the methodology of the social sciences is -- IRT is therefore the attempt to formulate better concepts and theoretical frameworks. There is an awareness that the concepts we choose effect the data and the theory -- hence the frequent claims that realist theory ontologizes the state or that constructivist theories cannot actually explain how and why certain actors make particular decisions.  But the debate is one in which it is assumed that if the critiques are correct, it is easy to correct the problem by choosing another theory.  Deleuze's work, however, suggests that the construction and definition of IRT is not quite so clear cut and transparent.  For some concepts (especially those that play an ontological role) are not easily measured and confirmed or falsified.  The third debate began to recognize this by suggesting that certain theories are incommensurable -- that certain views necessarily disallow others and that at some level, then, one just has to decide between a pluralist, realist or Marxist perspective.  But if this describes a possible relationship between concepts and planes of immanence, this ignores the most fundamental level of all: the image of thought.  For it is at this level that the unquestioned concepts that are shared by both sides of the debate embed a normative legitimacy to certain problems and perspectives and disallows others.  Returning to the realist - regime theory debate, while the two traditions disagree on how best to achieve it, both fundamentally agree that 'order' is the fundamental 'good' of international relations and that the most important question of international politics is how best to establish it.12 It is this level, however, that is neither transparent nor easily moved.  For buttressing it is both the weight of  historical sedimentation and the force of the desires and interests of mainstream IRT and the state practice of IR.  Deleuze's analysis of the image of thought therefore highlights what CIRT has been suggesting for some time: that IRT is not simply a technical and presuppositionless study of international politics but rather relies upon and reproduces a 'common sense' of IRT that is highly problematic and heavily invested in the interests of various powerful constituencies.  But if Deleuze underlines the importance of the CIRT project of interrogating the common sense of IRT, his considerations of the substantive content of the common sense of Western philosophy and culture suggest that we need to seriously re-examine how we conceive of our critical projects and how we might critically use the concept of identity.  It is thus Deleuze's examination of the orthodox image of thought and his reconsideration of the model of thinking to which I will now turn.

The Orthodox Image of Naturally Upright Thought

For Deleuze (1994b, 131) the substance of philosophy's pre-philosophical common sense is the orthodox "image of a naturally upright thought" in which the very act of correct thinking and questioning is characterized by the 'good will' of the thinker and the 'upright' nature of thinking, the good sense and common sense of the mental faculties and the process of 'recognition' as the correct model of thought itself.  Condensing greatly, Deleuze (1994b, 131) suggests that philosophy has generally begun with the questionable (but never questioned) assumption that "there is a natural capacity for thought endowed with a talent for truth or an affinity with the true, under the double aspect of a good will on the part of the thinker and an upright nature on the part of thought". Philosophers are assumed to be sincerely engaged in a search for the truth, their texts are understood primarily as this search and thinking itself must similarly be viewed as naturally lending itself and designed for this task.  Philosophy has imagined, while accepting that there are different types of mental faculties, that these faculties are coherently and logically linked and that this good sense gives us a common sense we can all recognize.  The act of thinking is understood as a good-natured act of recognition and the aim of philosophy is viewed as the process of recognizing that which 'everybody can know' legitimately.

The idea that philosophy might have other aims, that thinkers consciously deceive, that texts connive and manipulate or that thinking itself might be equally compelled to create elaborate fictions, fantasies or simply useful categorizations and that any or all of these might both exist in philosophy and also constitute a legitimate model of thinking is pre-judged as categorically unreasonable, nonsensical and nonphilosophical. This prohibition has two central repercussions.  First, error becomes the only model of disagreement and contestation recognized by philosophy.  For if the thinker is good willed (sincere) and thought is oriented toward the true, then only well-intentioned mistakes are possible.   Willful misrepresentation cannot be considered as a possibility, rhetorical manipulation and persuasion must be tracked down and exorcized (or denied) and any notion of the importance of political 'bias' and motivation must absolutely be disavowed from the concerns of philosophy.  The model of error "is only the reverse of a rational orthodoxy, still testifying...on behalf of an honesty, a good nature and a good will on the part of the one who is said to be mistaken" and judgment according to this model still "pays homage to the truth" and merely reproduces the orthodox image of thought (Deleuze, 1994b, 148).

Secondly, the image of thought as recognition inflects philosophy with an indelible complacency.  For if the act of thought is understood as the recognition of what everybody (already) legitimately knows, thinking can never inspire anything new that challenges the boundaries of that common sense.  This is especially the case as philosophy, though generally claiming only to have recognized existing objects, transcendental facts or necessary conditions, has never recognized "only an object, but also the values attached to an object" (Deleuze, 1994b, 135). As a political and ethical mode of ordering, "the form of recognition has never sanctioned anything but the recognizable and the recognized: form will never inspire anything but conformities" (Deleuze, 1994b, 135).  Philosophy that thinks within the orthodox image of thought can only reproduce this image and the value it places on the known, the secure and the familiar.  The philosophy of recognition can only ever be a "celebration of monstrous nuptials, in which thought 'rediscovers' the State, rediscovers 'the Church' and rediscovers all the current values that it subtly presented in the pure form of an eternally blessed unspecified eternal object" (Deleuze, 1994b, 136).

Desirous Thinking

Deleuze's project is to contest this orthodox image of thought by forging a critical mode of philosophical engagement that both rejects the logic of error and strives to challenge the constant rediscovery and transcendentalization of common sense.  Deleuze begins by questioning the understanding of philosophy given by the orthodox image of thought and reconceiving it, as we have seen above, as the active creation of concepts. Deleuze re-views philosophy as a 'constructivism' while refusing to suggest that this construction is necessarily guided by, and always in the service of, the good natured logic of representation.  And this creates a mode of philosophical engagement that allows us to investigate the myriad of motivations, historical contexts, assemblages of desire, relations of power and ethical consequences that always underlie and accompany, but always differ between, every creation.  Deleuze thus reworks the image of thought by presenting thinking as creative activity that is inherently linked to desire and power. Thinking is seen as good-natured at times, but also ill-willed, surly and digressive, following multiple logics and lines of flight that cannot be reduced to the search for sincere representation.  For Deleuze, then, examining previous philosophers and images of thought as combatants who employ every means available and are motivated by various desires is not to argue that they merely made mis-takes or the most grievous error of all by corrupting thought with desire/power.13 It is to reject the model of error and suggest instead that given the depth and multiplicity of thinking, active contestation and creation is the most effective mode of engagement with previous philosophers and only this does justice to the power of philosophy itself.  The image of philosophy as stratigraphic and crosscutting time challenges the model of recognition/error and lays the ground for a model of thought as connected to (but not exclusively determined by) desire and power.  It thus offers the possibility of transforming philosophy into a political ethology of desirous thinking.

A reconsideration of the nature of thinking has important consequences for Deleuze's reconceptualization of the image of thought.  If thinking is not necessarily good willed, if it consists of multiple lines of power, desire and creativity, then an image of thought is never lodged solely in our beliefs, chosen values and systems of mental thought.  Rather, thought itself and prevailing images of thought are intricately connected to their historical cultural and social context.  For only 'culture', in its widest sense, has the force to create an image of thought and instill it by forging concomitant linkages of desire that help maintain it. Only 'culture' hosts and constructs the assemblages of desire that help orient thinking and activity. As Deleuze (1994b, 166) suggests, it is culture, "an involuntary adventure, the movement of learning which links a sensibility, a memory and then a thought, with all the cruelties and violence necessary...to provide a training for the mind". A hegemonic image of thought is not simply a mental foundation or ground for a cultural common sense.  Its dominance emerges from the complex layers, alterations and alliances that are made between cultural common sense, desire and an image of thought.

Deleuze and Guattari develop a mode of critique that attempts to shadow these layers.  For without such a questioning, we can not understand how a particular image of thought, such as fascism, succeeds in reproducing itself despite the infinite alternative possibilities.  And this lack of understanding is problematic not for its own sake, but rather because it hampers our attempts to effectively resist an image of thought on as many of its constitutive layers as is possible.  Deleuze and Guattari (1987, 215) claim that only this level of micro-examination, the tracing of microfascism, "provides an answer to the global question: Why does desire desire its own repression, how can it desire its own repression".  But 'desire' is no ontological category.  According to Deleuze and Guattari, there are no primary drives, no primordial needs that explain every particular manifestation of desire.  Rather, 'desire' is fundamentally constructed and can be intervened upon effectively only with this in mind.  Desire, for Deleuze and Guattari (1987, 215),

is never separable from complex assemblages that necessarily tie into molecular levels, from microformations already shaping postures, attitudes, perceptions, expectations, semiotic systems, etc.  Desire is never an undifferentiated instinctual energy, but itself results from a highly developed, engineered setup rich in interactions: a whole supple segmentarity that processes molecular energies and potentially gives desire a fascist determination.

Desire, therefore, is at best a constructed concept that allows us to engage in a micro-analysis of the historical and cultural assemblages that help create and sustain an image of thought.

Critical philosophy becomes a technique of challenging the State philosophy of common sense and its concomitant levels of desire and power.  For if the orthodox image of thought is a historically contingent and constructed plane of immanence, then one of critical philosophy's aims is to create ill-willed concepts to challenge the settled and considerable force of the common sense.  "Everything begins with misosophy...The conditions of a true critique and a true creation are the same: the destruction of an image of thought which presupposes itself and the genesis of the act of thinking in thought itself" (Deleuze, 1994b, 139).  And yet a conceptual contestation that accepts the philosophical plane of rational argument as the only relevant level remains trapped by the orthodox image of thought because it still implicitly assumes that a shift in concepts will necessarily shift thinking and the image of thought.  But if thinking is a complex nexus consisting of conceptual manipulation, the construction of planes and the culturally coded forces of desire and power, critical philosophy must go beyond the purely philosophical contestation of concepts to (i) create concepts that allow the tracing of the exchanges between desire, power and the image of thought (ii) construct counter-concepts and practices that inhibit and disorient the exchanges that support hegemonic relations of concepts, desire and power and (iii) develop other techniques of disruption to employ on other layers. This is not to argue that such a theoretical stance unproblematically reveals the real conditions of oppression against which we can then work.14 Critical concepts will not allow us to faithfully and accurately represent the image of thought and precisely delineate the lines of causation between desire, power and thinking. But the creation of critical concepts would  help us to orient ourselves experimentally in order to test the effectivity of intervention based on these concepts -- which might allow us to grope towards effective techniques despite the fuzziness of, and friction created by, our conceptual vision.  As Deleuze and Guattari (1987, 161) encourage,

Lodge yourself on a stratum, experiment with the opportunities it offers, find an advantageous place on it, find potential movements of deterritorialization, possible lines of flight, experience them, produce flow conjunctions here and there, try out continuums of intensities segment by segment, have a small plot of new land at all times.  It is though a meticulous relation with the strata that one succeeds in freeing lines of flight...

Philosophy and the creation of concepts is a technique.  And as a technique, if it is limited to forwarding counter-projections without also examining desire and power, it accepts the terms of debate set by the orthodox image of thought as good natured and ignores the complex linkages between thinking, desire, affect and power.

The Image of Thought of International Relations

Deleuze and Guattari's thinking offers suggestive resources for critical work in IR.  The notion of an image of thought is a useful way of thinking about the 'common sense' of mainstream IRT. One of the central contributions of CIRT has been to highlight and challenge many of the unquestioned assumptions of mainstream IRT. Developing critical perspectives that parallel aspects of Deleuze's approach, these investigations have demonstrated that the various contending theories of mainstream IRT share significant unquestioned assumptions and concepts that have important political and ethical ramifications.15 In many ways, it is quite right to say that what many pursuing CIRT share is an ethos of critique.  Using Deleuze's concepts, we might say that a crucial aspect of this shared ethos is the contention that the discipline and practice of IR is underpinned, constructed and made possible by certain aspects of pre-philosophical/pretheoretical images of thought.  We might understand the various projects of 'denaturalization' as taking up Deleuze's call to fabricate and use ill-willed and disruptive concepts in an attempt to disturb the complacency and necessity that surrounds the orthodox IR image of thought. Continuing along a Deleuzian line, we might suggest that the concept of 'identity' has been forged as one of the most central and productive creations of this ethos, designed to contain a critical force that problematizes the orthodox common sense of IRT.

But how, exactly, does this concept of identity function in CIRT, what critical effects does it seek to engender, how effective is it, what are its limits and how might it need supplementation?  These are crucial questions for a CIRT whose aim is to intervene on hegemonic practices in IR and global politics.  The rest of this paper seeks to answer these questions by examining several CIRT uses of identity in light of the above discussion of the orthodox image of thought.  I am undertaking this project not because I view CIRT as a unified school nor because I wish to dismiss it as a strand of theorization.  Rather, it is because I share CIRT's commitment to a critical contestation of the hegemonic ordering of global politics that I think it important to (re)consider the effectivity of its critical projects and in particular, several influential uses of the concept of 'identity'.  I will therefore examine several recent and influential employments of the concept of 'identity' in CIRT, consider some of the further questions their analyses point toward and then suggest, briefly and preliminarily, how the previous examination of Deleuze and Guattari might help reconceptualize 'identity' and improve the political effectivity of its critical employment.

The Image of Identity

In pursuing these questions, a useful way to conceptualize the wide-spread (though differing) employment of the concept of identity is to suggest that a crucial aspect of CIRT is the idea that the orthodox IR image of thought is characterized, at least partially, by an 'image of identity' in which certain presuppositions about identity constitute a level of covert convergence that must be excavated and denaturalized in order to challenge contemporary modes of being.  If many critical IR scholars agree that the concept of 'identity' is crucial both to the hegemonic images of IR and an important concept for critical denaturalization, they do not all share a single method of conceptualizing and examining identity.  Since an article of this length cannot examine all of these uses, I will first examine David Campbell's (1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1996b, 1999) conceptualization of identity and then consider Roxanne Lynne Doty's (1996, 1996b, 1996c) work.  These works were chosen both because they present several interesting and influential uses of the concept of identity and because their work raises several further issues and problems that Deleuze and Guattari suggest are crucial.  I will examine these uses of the concept of identity without suggesting that these are the only approaches in the CIRT literature. I hope only to demonstrate the importance of critically excavating the concept of identity.

One compelling employment of the concept of identity is to suggest that it allows us to speak about, and intervene upon, a certain 'logic' or tendency of human 'being' at both the individual and collective level.  Within CIRT, the most explicit use of identity in this fashion is perhaps Campbell's (1991) influential work Writing Security.  According to Campbell (1991, 8), "[i]dentity is an inescapable dimension of being.  No body could be without it".  Yet the precise contours of any particular identity are never natural or necessary. The substantive content of any identity is always a limited, historical entity.  Explicitly following Judith Butler, Campbell argues that any identity is not only historical and particular, but always constructed -- created and constantly reproduced by certain forces and acts. Campbell (1991, 9) suggests that any particular identity, then, has "no ontological status apart from the various acts which constitute its reality" .  The creation of identity, moreover, relies on certain crucial practices of identity/difference as identity is always "achieved though the inscription of boundaries which serve to demarcate an 'inside' from an 'outside', a 'self' from an 'other', a 'domestic' from a 'foreign'" (Campbell, 1991, 9).

For Campbell, this need for identity seems to induce a yearning for, and representation of, that identity as pure and static.16 Campbell (1991, 11) suggests that the "demands of identity" encourage subjects to present and conceive of themselves as universal and sovereign, rather than produced and contingent. Claiming that this is true both of individual and collective identity formation, Campbell (1991, 9) argues that we should understand the status and authority of a sovereign state (both within and without) as dependent on its ability to mobilize a "discourse of primary and stable identity" that is actually only "tenuously constituted in time...through a stylized repetition of acts".17 The "demands of identity" both motivate bodies to present themselves as unified and static, and encourage them to undertake certain practices that allow them to reiterate and temporarily secure this identity. 

This is crucial for the study of international relations because it allows us to understand foreign policy as a practice that is at least partially motivated by the quest for identity.  From this perspective, US Foreign Policy should be understood as a macro-level "political practice central to the constitution, production and maintenance of American identity" (Campbell, 1991, 8) that serves the prior constitution of identity through (small f) foreign policy (Campbell, 1991, 76).18 The result of this inquiry is to demonstrate that Foreign Policy is heavily influenced by a logic of identity that both requires otherness for its practical constitution and, because the 'demands of identity' require purity, denigrates and vilifies this otherness as a threat to security.  Campbell's normative project is to intervene in these smooth transitions and make more difficult the facile vilification of the Other by denaturalizing (American) identity, revealing the formal impossibility of purity and attempting to cultivate an alternate ethos that resists the allure of sovereignty.

By raising the issue of identity with reference to American Foreign Policy, Campbell (1991) manages to do exactly this by demonstrating in an empirically convincing manner the problematic nature of many of the assumptions of the mainstream study and practice of Foreign Policy. Campbell's detailed empirical evidence and analysis demystifies and exposes the processes of identity formation and renders more difficult the demonization of the Other in American Foreign Policy. In light of our examination of the utility of the concept of 'identity', however, Campbell's work highlights several additional questions.  While Campbell (1991) contests and problematizes the content of particular identities and denaturalizes the obviousness of any substantive claim to identity, it seems to run the risk of naturalizing 'identity' in a different way because it does not explicitly highlight the constructed nature of "the demands of identity".  For by suggesting that 'identity is an inescapable dimension of being', a formal condition of existing in individual bodies without which 'no body could be', Campbell naturalizes the very desire for identity itself.  Must every body have an identity?  If every particular identity is constructed, is there really something called 'identity' that is a pre-constructed and inescapable condition of being?  And even if there is, is identity a concept capable of capturing this?

By posing these questions to Campbell's work, I hope to pursue several tensions the book highlights.  On one hand, the very premise of Campbell's (1991) work is that alternative dispositions towards difference and Others are possible and that claims to identity are impossible and destructive.  Even as Campbell (1991, 86) lays out the hegemonic 'identity' of reasoning man, he highlights that this interpretation is historically contingent, that "indeed, there are in principle an almost endless range of possible interpretations of 'reasoning man'". Hence the very project of the book -- to show exactly how the identity of the United States is reproduced. Yet Campbell also seems to rely upon an almost transhistorical formal demand of identity to explain why entities so often vilify the other in spite of so many alternative possible relationships.  This, for Campbell, explains why the tendencies of US Foreign Policy are not unique.  For the same demands of identity underlie the Roman Empire, the Christian Church and the Westphalian system (Campbell, 1991, 49).  Even if their particular manifestations differ, they all respond to the same demand.

This is the danger of a theory of subjectivity as reiterability separated from an explicit consideration of how deep identity goes and how much transhistorical weight it can bear as a concept.  For without a concomitant investigation of the historical relations that underlie and assemble the desire for identity, a reading of identity as reiterability runs several risks.  Either it produces a notion of identity as infinite plasticity combined with a description of an inexplicable continuity, or it ontologizes the 'demands of identity' without demonstrating why alternatives exist and how they might be cultivated.  These are not the only possibilities.  In order to anticipate and avoid naturalizing the 'identity', however, one has to historicize the 'demands of identity' and show how and why, despite the infinite possibilities, a certain  aggressive identity is both continually reproduced by, and simultaneously motivates, certain practices of security and border production.19 This explains why at two crucial moments, Campbell (1991) employs the language of desire and order to supplement the 'logic of identity.'  The first, desire, is introduced when Campbell  (1991, 11) speaks of "the drive to fix the state's identity" and offers the possibility of raising the question "'why/how do we desire Identity?" The second, order, arises in the context of Campbell's problematization of the hegemonic interpretation of reasoning man.  He (1991, 93) suggests that it is less the formal demands of identity that produce a security obsessed with vilifying the other, but rather "the modernist requirements for order and stability" which suggests that the demands of identity are, themselves, never sufficient to determine the aggressive drive to identity.  Both of these rich notions suggest the historicity of the desire that produces the definition of even the formal quality of identity/difference relations.  Both urge further analysis.

 Campbell's (1993) recent work addresses these tensions by more explicitly historicizing the demands of identity.  Thus, Politics Without Principle, while still linking practices of foreign policy closely with identity by suggesting that "it might be said that it is in war that identity is most effectively, although still contingently, secured",  focuses on the historically constructed discourse of "moral certitude" as the particular force defining the demands of identity and limiting the imaginary and practice of IR (Campbell, 1993, 3 & 80). Campbell increasingly looks to the history of philosophy and the tradition of 'ontological thinking' to explain the aggressive nature of modern (post-platonic) identity.  As he (1993, 4) suggests, "the actuality of a crisis like the gulf war forces us to denaturalize the geopolitical discourses and state-centric grammars (themselves undergirded by the metanarrative of subjectivity that has been so central to Western philosophy)".  For Campbell, then, contemporary practices of identity/difference that dismiss the Other as evil are the intensification of a theme that has been historically developed in the philosophical underpinnings of the West.  Drawing on Levinas, Campbell (1994, 458) asserts that "political totalitarianism rests on an ontological totalitarianism" and that "it is the totalities of that moral-philosophical discourse that must be contested".  Our contemporary modes of aggressive identity creation and border policing, as well as practices of security and foreign policy, are now pictured as enabled by a particular historical philosophical conception of subjectivity that has helped shape the problematics and normative possibilities of our 'political imaginary' and political practices.  Challenging this mode of identity creation becomes a matter of contesting this moral image both through denaturalization and an active formulation of a positive "ethico-political disposition" (Campbell 1996, 137).

While historicization addresses some of the dangers of naturalization, Deleuze and Guattari push Campbell on this issue by provoking a further questioning of how and why, out of all the possibilities, a specific mode of philosophy and identity becomes and remains dominant.  At one level, the response that it is simply a contingent fact of history that a certain mode of identity/difference relations emerges is sufficient.  And yet, precisely because Campbell employs a theory of reiterability, this does not answer why/how it has been constantly reproduced.  For if, as Nietzsche and Foucault would suggest and Campbell furthers at several points, alternative possibilities and resistances abound, how has this philosophical mode not only survived, but flourished, colonized and dominated virtually all other possibilities?  Although he rarely explicitly discusses the links between this philosophical tradition and 'global realities', given the normative importance Campbell attributes to the strategy of contesting the authority of this philosophical tradition, he seems to implicitly accept that the ontological tradition is an important source for the practice and theorization of IR, with the important caveat that those same practices and theorization then reproduce the authority and force of sovereign identity. 

But is this conceptualization sufficient on its own?  Is it enough to excavate our 'ontological' beliefs and combat philosophy with philosophy? Or does the question of reiteration point us beyond a philosophical tradition whose existence we cannot take for granted? Do we need, in other words, to look below/inside philosophy as well? For if Nietzsche, Deleuze and Guattari teach us anything, is it not that philosophy both produces and is produced from desire and power?  That it serves the ascetic's desire to command and create as much as playing on the ressentiment of the slave?  That an image of thought functions by both creating, transforming and utilizing cultural assemblages of desire and power?  Campbell's own work provokes these questions at several points.  In his article "Political Prosaics", Campbell (1996b, 17) links the ontological tradition with a "desire for presence" and the "fear of absence", arguing that these are crucial elements of the modern commitment to rigid identity politics.  Desire and fear -- bodily functions and reactions linked to, but not limited to a philosophical history -- offer the opening to examine the links between philosophy and the other relations of power and desire of human existence.  But before this layer can be explored, Campbell suggests that this is but a 'Cartesian' fear.  Instead, he "wants to argue that what is behind this anxiety and fear is an often unstated yet unequivocal commitment enabled by a narrow rationalism to 'the sovereignty problematic'" (1996b, 17).  For Campbell, fear and desire are merely the result of the philosophical tradition.  While I agree that there are certain fears and desires evoked by philosophy and that this is an important layer to engage, the danger is that by so strongly locating desire in epistemological commitment, Campbell's analysis doesn't force us to conceptualize and engage relations of power other than the authority of the philosophical discourse of sovereignty.

By instigating a historical analysis of the representational discourse of North-South relations that explicitly highlights power, Roxanne Lynn Doty's (1996) work can be seen as utilizing the concept of identity in such a way as to address some of these dangers.  Doty (1996) strives to demonstrate the link between the North's self-understanding of its own identity and its reproduction through practices and representations, as well as the fact that these representative discourses both grow out of, and reproduce, the dominant relations of identity/difference.  According to Doty, it is this level of representation that must be contested to alter and intervene in the practices and theorization of IR.  Doty (1996, 13) suggests that her work "is intended to emphasize the fact that encounters between the North and South were (and are) such that the North's representations of 'reality' enabled practices of domination, exploitation and brutality, practices that would have been considered unthinkable, reprehensible, and unjustifiable were an alternative 'reality' taken seriously".  The book is the attempt to trace the historical continuity of representations such that the North was able to enact practices that reinforced both their superior identity and their sense of justification about their foreign practices. By recognizing the power of discourse and the historical nature of discursive representations, Doty conceptualizes identity in such a way as to engage some of the issues of power and desire raised by my earlier discussion of Deleuze and Guattari.

Yet its is her invocation of power that raises the further question: why has a certain type of identity underpinned all of these representations?  Doty's answer seems to be that historical discourses set the parameters of possible practice (and, of course, vice versa) and therefore, the symbiotic relationship reproduces itself.  But how, exactly, are discourse and philosophy linked to practice?  What does it mean, exactly, to say that discourse has power?  Why, in other words, are some representations maintained while others are dismissed?  Doty ( 1996, 4) questions the importance of this line of questioning.

Why questions generally take as unproblematic the possibility that particular policies and practices could happen.  They presuppose the identities of social actors and a background of social meanings.  In contrast, how questions examine how meanings are produced and attached to various social subjects and objects, thus constituting particular interpretive dispositions that create certain possibilities and preclude others.  How questions thus highlight an important aspect of power that why questions too often neglect: the way in which power works to constitute particular modes of subjectivity and interpretive dispositions.

This distinction is worthy of some close attention since various versions of it seem to underpin many of the interpretive approaches that focus on discursive practices and their effects.  Doty's distinction between the two kinds of questions is extremely helpful in pinning down exactly where and how traditional and conventional interpretations begin and end their analysis and what 'contingent' background understandings they naturalize and obscure in doing so.  The 'how' question is key for any critical analysis and questioning of particular instantiations of authority, justification, legitimation and explanation.  Yet, it is not so easy to limit the question of power to that of representation, nor to arrest critical questioning at the 'how' level: the how question inevitably becomes a why question as well.  For if these discourses are as arbitrary and contingent as Doty holds them to be, in examining how they function, one also has to ask how they, out of all the possibilities, achieved dominance.  This is especially the case if the discourse in question is hegemonic and has managed to successfully reproduce and maintain itself (against the ever threatening infinity of possibilities) over a long period of time.

There are several ways of understanding how discourse functions and how it reproduces itself.  One could ask a Marxist inspired critical question: 'What material forces are these discourses representative of and how have they supported/created such discourses?'  Foucault (1972), quite rightly I think, suggests that this fails to respect discourse by reducing it to an epiphenomenon of rationalization or legitimation.  Doty too recognizes the power of discourse as a phenomenon in its own right and is unwilling to reduce it to the level of mere dross supported by the forces of production.  She turns more or less exclusively to a historical analysis -- one which traces how certain historical representations have been reproduced and have thus been continually  "productive of meanings, subject identities, their interrelationships and the range of imaginable conduct" (Doty 1996, 299).  Yet the question still remains: how, out of all the virtual possibilities are these meanings reproduced and imposed?  For the idea that the history of the discourses themselves explains their perseverance takes for granted the effect and existence of previous discourses.  What first appears as a historical excavation runs the risk of becoming an ahistoricizing and naturalizing narrative.

Does this respect discourse any more than Marxist reductivism?  The 'how' question of discourse inevitably leads back to the question of how specific discourses actually interact with 'material' culture and the body.  To simply assert the power of representation (in the way that Doty does) is to take discourse at face value: to accept that discourse is  merely meaning and that all its power is linked to its ability to colonize and impose certain meanings which are then the basis for action.  But are the lines between thought, meaning and action so clear cut?  Following Deleuze and Guattari, it is productive to explore the immense complexity of the links between the body and the mind -- connections that cannot be fully appreciated by an approach that equates discourse with meaning.  Discourse has power not only because it creates meaning, but also because its representations are linked to other modes of power and layers of desire that reciprocally amplify or inhibit. It is these detailed links that ensure the reproduction and, more importantly, the relevance and hegemonic status of particular discourses, practices and desires.  When applied to the question/concept of identity, it is important not only to ask 'how has discourse functioned to help constitute various identities' but also 'what gives the very discourse of identity, unity and purity its strength, its pull?', 'how does it function to motivate?' and 'what other interests, desires and, yes, representations, does it rely upon, alter and amplify?'  Without this second move that critically reconnects discourse with power and desire, Doty's approach risks either universalizing and ontologizing identity as a motivation/need that never varies but only manifests itself in historically specific ways, or reducing it to an effect of representation that will dissipate relatively easily once those representations are contested and deconstructed.

Ethics, Effectivity and Ethological Intervention

Both Campbell and Doty provide a crucial background for exploring the concept of identity within IR.  By using Deleuze and Guattari to excavate the relations of desire and power that underlie IR's image of identity, I hope to supplement their critical project. Any discussion of identity requires a consideration of these questions of power and desire.  For without such a consideration, conceptualizations of identity lead to normative projects that presume the good nature of thought and whose political interventions are much less effective for it.  That Campbell and Doty sometimes incorporate the image of thought as good nature and thinkers as good willed is clear from the ways in which they describe particular situations. In his discussion of media coverage of the Gulf War, Campbell (1993, 61 & 15), for example, finds it "surprising" that no wire services covered counter narratives of the Gulf War and attributes this silence to a "failure of will" of the media -- presuming a good will of the media that was temporarily overwhelmed.  But is the 'will' of the media actually that pure, that good natured?  Is the thinking of the media essentially oriented to truthful representation and was simply deflected and obstructed from realizing this by various factors?  Or are these various factors (such as the interests and power of the media conglomerates and their various benefactors and contributors, the specific desires of hands on owners such as Turner and Murdoch, systemic interest in garnering audiences, and time pressures) constitutive of late-modern media thought as much as the will to accurately represent? 

Doty shares the tendency to presume the good nature of the thinker in the way she conceives of discourse.  For discourse as a practice allows her to explain why the West has enacted such cruel practices without asking which assemblages of desire and power beyond merely historical representations might have motivated and inspired it.  It is the very accordance of such power to discourse that preserves the postulate of the good nature of the thinker (and doer).  Doty (1996, 13) suggests not merely that these representational discourses "enabled practices of domination, exploitation and brutality, practices that would have been considered unthinkable, reprehensible and unjustifiable were an alternative 'reality taken seriously'" but also that these representations "would seem to have been necessary in order for certain practices such as colonization to be made possible".  But is discourse quite so constitutive?  Were these particular representations absolutely necessary or were they not also partially the rationalization and justification of actions whose motivations exceed those representations? Obviously, various representations served useful purposes and indeed played a part in constituting certain desires and practices.  But by examining them in isolation, Doty's work is in danger of suggesting that it was only representation that corrupted upright individuals and allowed them to do what otherwise would have been 'unthinkable' and thus impossible.

Both Doty and Campbell see the aim of their critical projects as challenging unitary presentations of identity by demonstrating their constructed nature.  Hence, Doty's book meticulously traces the discursive representations and their effects while simultaneously challenging their accuracy. Thus Campbell undertakes an impressive empirical effort to demonstrate that, and exactly how, the 'identity' of the United States is actually produced.  The methods of each project rest on the implicit belief that the demonstration of the inaccuracy of representations and claims to identity will be sufficient to challenge and alter them.  This belief in turn risks presuming the good nature of thought and thinker.  In response, Deleuze and Guattari's thinking is suggestive because it shows that misrepresentations not only have power, but also serve certain interests and desires.  Representations may misrepresent, but they are not merely mistakes and errors. They are illusions that serve certain purposes -- purposes and desires that must be addressed and challenged if their concomitant image of thought is to be contested and reworked.  In addition to deconstructing dominant representations and highlighting their instability and historicity, my examination of Deleuze and Guattari's thinking suggests the importance of tracing and contesting hegemony in layers of desire and power.  For new representations are always immediately (re)constructed to serve similar ends if the desire and power that co-constitute them are not also altered.  Which also suggests that while it is crucial to expose the paucity of 'epistemic realism', we cannot understand it only as a mistake. Calls "for a different starting point...predicated on the relational character of subjectivity" (Campbell 1993, 98) must be supplemented by an investigation and intervention upon the desires and interests of power that help motivate and reproduce such a philosophy. Without such an investigation, a critical interrogation leaves intact the desire and power that help to constitute our cultural common sense, allows it to reproduce that common sense and adapt to new ones.

To fundamentally challenge the orthodox image of thought and intervene effectively it is necessary to trace and intervene upon the linkages of desire and power that flow within and around the discourses and philosophy of identity.   This suggests that critical approaches to identity would benefit from interaction with a broader ethological gaze.20 A critical ethology would excavate the multiple levels which comprise an ethos of global politics and highlight a cultural sensibility and image of thought as a complex web of desire, power and representations of identity.  In response, it would construct counter concepts which would allow it to trace these fleeting lines of convergence, amplification and inhibition so that it could experimentally intervene on a variety of layers and effectively disrupt dominant exchanges and codings.  Only such a comprehensive ethology would allow us to profoundly challenge the multiple layers of power and desire that underpin hegemonic global practices.


1 Referring to 'identity' as a concept is a problematic way of examining it. One of the aims of this paper is to reexamine and question the conventional meaning and role assigned to 'concepts' in the discipline. I will therefore refer to identity as a 'concept' and try to develop the various valences of 'concept' throughout the essay.

2 Given its proliferation, it would be impossible to even cursorily cite the enormous literature that has become concerned with identity.  A small indicator of its presence might be garnered from the many papers and panel themes concerned with identity at the recent International Studies Association and the European International Studies conferences (1998, 1999).  A larger indication might be the fact that concern with questions of identity ranges from the pages of special issues of public policy journals such as SAIS Review, World Politics and Foreign Affairs to critical journals such as the International Journal of Peace Studies, Millennium and Alternatives.  One final piece of evidence might be found in the fact that an interest in identity unites such diverse individuals as Samuel Huntington (1996), critical IR theorists and the pronouncements of the Dayton Accords in Bosnia (on this see David Campbell, 1999).

3 On the ontological discourse of national character in Clausewitz and contemporary US military discourse, see Shapiro (1992) or chapter 2 in Shapiro (1997).

4 Siba N'Zatioula Grovogui (1996, 1998), for instance, carefully traces the historical construction of the modern Western conception of Africa and reveals the paternalistic resonances and consequences of much of the IR theory obsession with order.  Roxanne Lynn Doty's Imperial Encounters (1996) also suggestively tracks the echoes of these prejudiced and racist representations into the contemporary academic and policy debates surrounding foreign aid and North-South relations.

5 Once again, a cursory glance over the mainstream journals is telling.  See, for example, the Symposium on Religious identity in the current issue of SAIS Review, Vol. 18, Summer-Fall 1998 pp. 11-69.  In the title page abstract, religion is described as 'an important political and cultural force' that will be 'the defining element of political culture in the next century'.

6 This relates to both the discipline and the realm of global relations.

7 David Campbell's Deconstructing the Nation (1999) is a good example of a critical approach that, in addition to exploring some of the more implicit influences of identity on foreign policy, also examines the consequences of the recent policy relegitimization of identity  by exposing its many disastrous consequences in the ex-Yugoslavia.

8 The question of the articulability of necessary background knowledge ('transcendental fields') runs throughout Charles Taylor's work.  For specific developments of it see especially the first three chapters of  Sources of the Self (1989), Part II of Volume II of his Philosophical Papers (1985) and 'The Validity of Transcendental Arguments' (1995).  While I share Taylor's commitment to the excavation and consideration of background understandings and practices, for reasons that will be obvious below, I do not share his contention (and thus his project) that this background then gives us something close to a rational and settled ground of judgement.

9 I have tried to explore one aspect of this level of commonality, a shared will to order and conception of politics, in Saurette (1996).

10 Deleuze (1995, especially  pp. 81-118) acknowledges frequently that on this point, as with many others, there is a great deal of sympathy between him and Foucault. Although it would be interesting to consider the lines of convergence and divergence between Deleuze's image of philosophy and the underlying conceptualization of Foucault's (1970, 1972) epistemes, I will here concentrate on Deleuze primarily because he explores the stakes of excavating the concepts of various planes of immanence/epistemes most explicitly.  I think that it would be especially interesting to compare Foucault's movement from a more 'archaeological' method through to a more genealogical method with Deleuze and Guattari's examination of the micropolitics of desire as projects that highlight the linkages between images of thought and the bodily relations of power and desire. For the crucial shift in Foucault's genealogies (1977, 1979, 1980) is that he begins to excavate not only the power that discourse/knowledge produces, but also the subterranean power and desire that motivates and energizes knowledge/power.  Reducing Power/Knowledge, for example, either to the idea that representations have the power to motivate and produce certain practices or vice versa misses entirely the point of Foucault's detailed micro-analyses: that only a micro-tracing of the complex and multi-directional relations of power and desire with knowledge is adequate to any particular context and that any less threatens to ignore certain crucial relations which, if gone unchallenged, serve to reproduce the larger representations and practices.

11 I am obviously presenting an abbreviated and selective reading of Deleuze's wide-ranging consideration of philosophy and thinking.  In the context of my argument, the critical utility of such a selectivity  outweighs the cost of losing some of the width and depth of Deleuze's thought.

12 I have examined the defining nature of the will to order in Saurette (1996).  I discussed it in terms of the realism-idealism debate but it applies, I think, equally well across the spectrum of mainstream IRT and especially to the realist-regime theory debate.

13 The most grievous according to the traditional image of thought.

14 I share Foucault's contention that speaking of freedom in absolute terms misunderstands the modern nature of power and social relations.  Yet theoretical representations do allow us to intervene more or less effectively and thus even if they do not promise salvation, can make a certain difference.

15 Mick Dillon (1993, 1996) has underscored the prevalence of a shared conception of politics and thought; David Campbell (1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1996b) and Michael Shapiro (1991, 1997, 1997b) trace common understandings of subjectivity; Richard Ashley (1988) and R.B.J. Walker (1991) examine the traditional conception of the heroic modern subject as an underlying plane; Roxanne Lynn Doty (1993,1996, 1996b, 1996c) and Cynthia Weber (1995, 1995b, 1998) focus on the construction/assumption of representations and practices of sovereignty.  Each, although in differing ways, links their particular examinations at some level to relations, representations or the logics of 'identity'.  Elements of some of these approaches seem to share aspects of the questionable tendencies I will highlight.   Others might be seen to augment the concept of identity with various modes that help relocate the concept of identity and avoid some of the dangers suggested. The analysis that follows is meant to highlight several dangers of the employment of the concept of identity without imputing these to all critical approaches.

16 The nature of the relationship between these two aspects of identity is not explicitly discussed by Campbell. As we shall see, this opens up several questions.

17 Much of this quotation is Campbell quoting Butler and applying it to the state.  I have eliminated the extra quotes in the interests of clarity.

18 Campbell argues several times that this is not unique to the US.  See, for example, Campbell (1991, 34 & 49) on the trans-state logic of security and on the formal similarities of the demands of identity in Rome, Church and Westphalia.

19 Posing this question as 'how and why' presents some difficulties, especially as much of the CIRT literature has argued that before one can ask the traditional 'why' question, we need to understand the 'how' question -- that is, how certain understandings and practices constituted the very possibilities of debate.  See in particular Doty (1993, 1996).  While I agree with the spirit of the separation, I think that it is ultimately misleading.  Unless discourse is conceived as free-standing (which it never is in poststructuralism), the description evoked by a 'how' question must also eventually address, if it is to be an effective intervention, the question of how it is linked to desire and power -- which is the question of why a particular formulation was continually reproduced.

20 Analyses complementary to such a project seem to be emerging. Perhaps most notably in the recent work of Michael Dillon (1995),  Siba N'Zatioula Grovogui (1996, 1998) and Michael Shapiro (1991).

Thanks to Bill Connolly and Siba Grovogui for pushing my thinking about International Relations Theory.  Special thanks to Kathryn Trevenen for her incredibly critical editorial prowess.


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