‘Gun baby gun’ and 'The price of Paradise'

  • Iain Overton

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The submissions for this PhD by Publication are two published works: Gun Baby Gun and The Price of Paradise.
Gun Baby Gun was an examination of the gun in contemporary culture; it charted its impact on a range of communities and networks that proliferate around its use. The book showed how the gun has fuelled global violence, and how its presence is fuelled in turn, by capitalistic production.

The Price of Paradise was a history of the suicide bomber. It placed the recent surge in suicide attacks within a wider cultural and historical framing. The work framed the suicide bombers’ contemporary search for utopia within repeated and global patterns of harm.

Despite not being academic works, these books expanded scholastic understanding of conflict by taking the two most murderous weapons of the modern age and, through field-research, lived-experiences, interviews, data-analysis and secondary-reading, charted the impact such weapons have had on contemporary warfare. Gun Baby Gun was novel in examining global violence through the prism of guns; there did not appear to be a prior coherent attempt to view such violence through the weapons or the communities that proliferated around the guns’ use. The Price of Paradise was also novel in finding commonalities between historic users of suicidal violence and “the causes of the contemporary ‘globalization of martyrdom’”. It also was arguably the first to draw lines between the use of - and responses to - the suicide bomber and its role in fuelling the Russian Revolution, nuclear weapon use, and the War on Terror.

The supportive essay argues the methodology underpinning these books is – in conflict journalism - novel and coherent, and one framed around Walter Benjamin’s comments on Paul Klee’s painting ‘Angel of History'.
Date of Award23 Feb 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorTom Sykes (Supervisor) & Graham Spencer (Supervisor)

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