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Identity and Desecuritisation: the pitfalls of conflating ontological and physical security

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Bahar Rumelili
Publisher / Publication: 
Journal of International Relations & Development, 18 (1): 52-74

How can the Self move from a securitised to a non-securitised relation with the Other while its very identity depends on its relation to the Other?

Within the existing critical approaches to security, this question, which encapsulates the complex interrelationship between identity and desecuritisation, has not been explored in a systematic manner. This article builds on the emerging literature on ontological security to develop a two-layered framework of security as both ontological and physical, wherein the relationship between identity and desecuritisation can be better analysed. I argue that the conflation of ontological and physical security within the existing critical approaches to security has generated an insufficient appreciation of how identity expands the possibilities for desecuritisation while imposing new limits. In particular, the framework offered in this article highlights the possibilities for achieving ontological security in the absence of securitisation and limits to desecuritisation that stem from ontological insecurity.

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