In fields such as politics, international relations, public administration and international law, there is a rapidly growing interest in the topic of ‘accountability’. In this innovative new work, Steele shows how we might recognize how an alternative form of accountability in global politics has been present for some time, and that, furthermore, this form’s continued presence remains one of the most politically powerful, if not endurable, possibilities for resistance in the near future.
This book argues that the physical and visually shocking outcomes of violence found on the bodies of humans, as well as the buildings and landscapes which surround us, specifically the scars they leave behind, remain one of our most compelling forms of accountability. Steele develops the theoretical argument on scars and exteriority utilizing insights from several philosophical and theoretical resources including Hannah Arendt, Erving Goffmann, and Richard Rorty. The work examines scars and their effects through several illustrations, including the accounts of Emmett Till, Iranian protestor Neda Agha-Soltan, the Syrian boy Hamza al-Khateeb, the massacre in WWII and then memorializing throughout the 20th century of the Lidice children in the modern-day Czech Republic, the particular architecturally destructive outcomes of the 2008-9 Gaza War, the loss of the Twin Towers in New York, as well as a variety of violent scars found on the landscapes of Europe and Southeast Asia.
Emphasizing the importance of the space and ‘time’ of scars, the book illustrates how an alternative form of accountability in the scar can be a useful, disruptive, spontaneous, but also creative practice to challenge the discourses of violence which remain with us today.