Publications of Lobato, L.

Rituals of World Politics: On (Visual) Practices Disordering Things

Rituals are customarily muted into predictable and boring routines aimed to stabilise social orders and limit conflict. As a result, their magic lure recedes into the background, and the unexpected, disruptive and disordered elements are downplayed. Our collaborative contribution counters this move by foregrounding rituals of world politics as social practices with notable disordering effects. The collective discussion recovers the disruptive work of a range of rituals designed to sustain the sovereign exercise of violence and war. We do so through engaging a series of ‘world pictures’ (Mitchell 2007). We show the worlding enacted in rituals such as colonial treatymaking, state commemoration, military/service dog training, cyber-security podcasts, algorithmically generated maps, the visit of Prince Harry to a joint NATO exercise and border ceremonies in India, respectively. We do so highlighting rituals’ immanent potential for disruption of existing orders, the fissures, failures and unforeseen repercussions. Reappraising the disordering role of ritual practices sheds light on the place of rituals in rearticulating the boundaries of the political. It emphasises the role of rituals in generating dissensus and re-divisions of the sensible rather than in imposing a consensus by policing the boundaries of the political, as Rancière might phrase it. Our images are essential to the account. They help disinterring the fundamentals and ambiguities of the current worldings of security, capturing the affective atmosphere of rituals.