Representing War as Punishment in the War on Terror


  • Teresa Degenhardt Queens University Belfast


This paper shows how the notion of punishment has been invoked by former US President George W. Bush, and ex UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to represent war. It is suggested that in this context, the notion of punishment serves different objectives: legitimizing violence, suggesting the sovereign role taken by the US and highlighting the emergence of new sensibilities. Building on previous literature in criminology and international relations it examines points of contact between two previously distinct security mechanisms - war and punishment- and suggests possible effects of this discursive blurring. It highlights not only the need for criminologists to engage with international relations literature but also the need to evaluate closely the different nature of the international context.

Author Biography

Teresa Degenhardt, Queens University Belfast

Lecturer in Criminology in the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work