Rethinking the Body in Global Politics cover

Rethinking the Body in Global Politics: Bodies, Body Politics, and The Body Politic in a Time of Pandemic

Kandida Purnell · 2021 · London and New York: Routledge

‘It is a tour de force of contemporary debates in inter-national relations (IR)–including on emotion, affect, the body, embodiment, necropolitics, ontological security, and auto-ethnography; it seems that every turn in IR in the last 20 years is here, with some Hobbes and Shakespeare added. This is a book brimming with thoughts and ideas on how we can under-stand the body in global politics.’ Professor Sophie Harman, Queen Mary University of London, UK

“Purnell masterfully interweaves the global and the local, demonstrating how the materiality of bodies is essential to properly understanding the functioning of international politics. Making inroads into rethinking the ontology of bodies by examining topics ranging from war to global health, she demands that we consider how the body is itself a contested site, materially and rhetorically disassembled in ways that are politically significant. By drawing on auto-ethnographic and rich textual methods, she offers an incisive and reflective contribution that is sure to provide a model for narrative work in global politics.” Dr Jessica Auchter, University of Tennessee Chattanooga, USA.

Rethinking the Body in Global Politics is one of the most exciting, inspiring and disruptive books I have read. Bodies might have been neglected by the discipline of International Relations, but there is no escaping the body here. Kandida Purnell takes us on a valuable detour outside the usual disciplinary frames to draw attention to the processes (dis-)embodiment that render certain bodies so vulnerable to death and injury. In doing so, she adds some much needed theoretical flesh and empirical muscle to our once barren disciplinary bones.” Dr Thomas Gregory, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

‘The book is highly enriched with different aspects, structures and theories of the body politic and international relations which can be a great use for researchers, policymakers, and students of political science, IR, and other social sciences which can also be an important element for the process of nation-building in pandemic times.’ Dr Nupur Pattanaik, Central University of Odisha, India


Sophie Harman in International Feminist Journal of Global Politics (2022)

Nupur Pattanaik in Political Studies Review (2021)


With Edkins, Jenny, Easthope, Lucy, and Cortvriend, Amy. 2023. ‘When This Is Over: Reflections on an Unequal Pandemic’, Bristol University Press – Policy Press.

Purnell, Kandida. 2021. Bodies Coming Apart and Bodies Becoming Parts: Widening, Deepening, and Embodying Ontological (In)Security in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Global Studies Quarterly, Volume 1, Issue 4, December 2021, ksab037,

Purnell, Kandida. 2021. ‘Rethinking the Body in Global Politics: Bodies, Body Politics, and The Body Politic in a Time of Pandemic’,  London and New York: Routledge.

Purnell, Kandida. 2021. ‘Out of Touch, Out of Tune: The Social-Political Construction of Atmospheric Walls during the COVID-19 Pandemic’s First Wave’, Emotions and Society, vol xx, no. xx, 1–18DOI: 10.1332/263169021X16171227433111

Purnell, Kandida. 10/09/2020. ‘Fit for purpose? Boris Johnson’s two bodies and the UK “Better Health” strategy’, Somatosphere

With Danilova, Natasha. 2020, ‘The ‘museumification’ of the Scottish soldier and the meaning-making of Britain’s wars’Critical Military Studies. Vol. 6(3-4): 287-305. 

Purnell, Kandida. 2018, ‘Grieving, Valuing and Viewing Differently: The Global War on Terror’s American Toll‘, International Political Sociology, Vol. 12(2): 156-171.

With Danilova, Natasha. 2018, ‘Dancing at the Frontline: Rosie Kay’s 5SOLDIERS De-Realises and Re-Secures the Global War on Terror’, Critical Studies on Security, Vol. 6(3): 370-375.

Purnell, K. 2015, ‘Body Politics and Boundary Work Nobodies on Hunger Strike at Guantánamo (2013–2015)‘, Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, Vol.39 (4): 271-286.

With Bird, Jenny and Lawton, Kayte. 2010, ‘Green and Decent Jobs: The case for local action’, Institute for Public Policy Research

Under Review:

  • Purnell, Kandida. ‘Prime Minister Boris Johnson and a Very British Body Politic ‘Take it on the Chin’: Unhealthy Metaphors Reshape the Nation during the COVID-19 Pandemic’, European Journal of Politics and Gender.
  • Purnell, Kandida. ‘Pandemic Privilege and the Cost of Commemorating COVID-19: Exclusivity, Effacement, and the Reinforcement of Inequality Through the UK’s ‘National COVID Memorial Wall’Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space.
  • With Danilova, Natasha and Dolan, Emma. Land of The Brave: Gender, Race, and Class and the Cultural Politics ofMilitarisation, Edinburgh University PressAdvances in Critical Military Studies series.

For Submission

  • Purnell, Kandida. ‘Poles Apart: The Emotional Politics of Pandemic’, Publisher: tbd.
  • Purnell, Kandida. ‘The Global Politics of Grievability: Body Counts, Evaluation, and the (Dis-)Crediting of the Dead’, Publisher. Cambridge University Press.
  • With Wilcox, Lauren. ‘Embodying International Relations’, Polity Press.
  • With Edkins, Jenny, Easthope, Lucy, and Cortvriend, Amy. ‘COVID-19 and Commemoration Politics: Atmospheric Walls and Contest over Closure’, International Studies Quarterly, Special Issue on COVID-19 and the Politics of Trauma Edited by Furtardo, Henqique and Auchter, Jessica
  •  With Danilova, Natasha and Dolan, Emma. ‘Reflective Research and Affective Engagements with the Army’, Journal of Narrative Politics.
  • With Rosher, Ben and Nasralla, Patrick. The Politics of Death Data: Counting the Cost of COVID-19 in the UK. British Journal of Political Science.
  • Purnell, Kandida. ‘”A Groundbreaking Resurrection”: Public Performance, Choreographed Conflict, and (Un)commemoration’, Theory, Culture, Society.
  • Purnell, Kandida. ‘Dead Soldiers’ in Eds. Auchter, Jessica and Hendershot, Chris. ‘The Global Dead’, Publisher tbd.
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