Politics & Political Theory

The geopolitics of presence and absence at the ruins of Fort Henry

In recent years, scholars have examined the non- or more-than-human world from a variety of unique positions. This article draws on contemporary archaeology and assemblage theories in geography to put forward an understanding of everyday geopolitics that includes the presence of objects in the formation of state subjectivity. Our approach, however, reveals not only this disciplining force of objects but also the ontological absences that are also at the heart of post-structuralist theories of subjectivity. As such, the formation of object-oriented geopolitical subjectivity is also always haunted by these other affective forces that are part of being in the world. These theoretical considerations are substantiated in our study of the material culture of a military outpost in the highlands of northern Chile where the objects left behind by soldiers offer insight into the complexities of state subjectification and state–society relations in border regions.

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Volume 39 Issue 1

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