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Culture-centric pre-emptive counterinsurgency and US Africa Command: assessing the role of the US social sciences in US military engagements in Africa

Campbell, Horace ; Murrey, Amber

Third World Quarterly, 2014, Vol.35(8), p.1457 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Culture-centric pre-emptive counterinsurgency and US Africa Command: assessing the role of the US social sciences in US military engagements in Africa
  • Author: Campbell, Horace ; Murrey, Amber
  • Description: The twenty-first century has seen a continued evolution of the US military's strategic interest in socio-cultural knowledge of (potential) adversaries for counterinsurgency strategies. This paper explores the implications of the reinvigorated and expanding (post-9/11) relationship between social science research and US military strategy, assessing the implications of US Africa Command strategies for preventive counterinsurgency. Preventative counterinsurgency measures are 'Phase Zero' or 'contingency' operations that seek to prevent possible outcomes, namely threats to 'security' in Africa. The research initiatives of US Africa Command illustrate a culture-centric approach to this strategy, which seeks to draw from detailed socio-cultural knowledge in the prevention of possible populist or popular uprisings. Recent such uprisings, resistance actions and strikes in the continent illustrate a problematic tendency to interpret various forms of populist resistance as 'terrorist' actions, thereby condoning the bolstering of African national military capacity. The article considers the implications of these culture-centric counterinsurgency strategies as a means of anticipating and repressing the variety of mobilisations encapsulated within the 'terrorism' catchall. We conclude by urging social scientists to reject and disconnect from US Africa Command's missions and knowledge acquisition efforts in Africa.
  • Is Part Of: Third World Quarterly, 2014, Vol.35(8), p.1457
  • Identifier: ISSN: 01436597 ; E-ISSN: 13602241 ; DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2014.946262
  • Subjects: United States–Us ; Africa ; Social Sciences ; Military Engagements ; Military Strategy ; Rebellions
  • Language: English

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