Relinquishing and governing the volatile: the many Afghanistans and critical research agendas of NATO’s governance
This article invites academics and policy analysts to examine the mechanisms and legacy of NATO’s security and development governance of Afghan social spaces by using critical theory concepts. It argues that such scholarly endeavors are growing in importance as the United States and NATO gradually pull their troops out of Afghanistan. Thus, the article suggests a broad twofold research agenda. First, it points out that researching social spaces such as towns, villages, marketplaces, and neighborhoods beyond the realm of intergovernmental politics can lead to thick descriptions of how such places have been governed from within by agents external to them. Second, the study argues for a multifaceted examination of instruments, strategies, and institutions of security governance, its conduct and social effects by deploying critical and Foucauldian concepts such as the rationality and apparatuses of power relations. Thereby, it proposes an inquiry into Provincial Reconstruction Teams and Afghan National Security Forces as spatially and temporally specific apparatuses of surveillance and security.