One of the first political phenomenon I am concerned with is the time (and resources etc.) dominant actors spend on finding suitable categories to define (or give meaning to) their various political actions. In addition to the fact that naming gives significance or the illusion of substance in perceiving the enemy, the symbolic act of naming Hizbullah a “terrorist” organization opens the door for so many different legal as well as diplomatic dispositions that has concrete material effect (in the same way the beefing up of an army has material significance):
United States lawmakers are stepping up pressure on the European Union to declare the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
A House of Representatives’ panel is to highlight Wednesday the importance of Europe as a fundraising base for the group, long held responsible by the United States for anti-U.S. and anti-Israel attacks.
Some European countries have resisted an EU designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, arguing that it is better to engage the group given its large role in Lebanese politics.
What is important here is to notice how, generally, legal appellations and social norms are all based on this categorization principle. In this case, the creation of significance is a political process embedded in institutions in place (governments, parliaments, courts, etc.) that serves to create disciplined subjects and the ‘other’.