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Missing – Persons and Politics - Cornell Scholarship Online
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Missing: Persons and Politics

Jenny Edkins


Stories of missing persons offer profound insights into the tension between how political systems see us and how we see each other. The search for people who go missing as a result of war, political violence, genocide, or natural disaster reveals how forms of governance that objectify the person are challenged. Contemporary political systems treat persons instrumentally, as objects to be administered rather than as singular beings: the apparatus of government recognizes categories, not people. In contrast, relatives of the missing demand that authorities focus on a particular person: families ... More

Keywords: missing persons, political systems, displaced persons, World War II, London bombings, missing in action, disappearances, missingness

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780801450297
Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016 DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801450297.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jenny Edkins, author
Professor of International Politics, Aberystwyth University