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Securing through the failure to secure? The ambiguity of resilience at the bombsite

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Charlotte Heath-Kelly
Publisher / Publication: 
Security Dialogue, 46 (1): 69-85
Abstract: 

Resilience discourses resignify uncertainty and insecurity as the means to attain security.

Security failure is resignified as productive and becomes part of the story about security learning and improvements in anticipatory capability. In this article, I explore questions of failure mediation and ‘securing through insecurity’. If resilience policies suggest that failure and insecurity can be mediated and redeployed in the cause of success, what becomes of visceral sites of security failure such as the terrorist bombsite? This article focuses on a site where security agencies failed to prevent the bombing of a packed nightclub in Bali, in order to explore ambiguity of failure in the resilience era. It considers the efforts of politicians and activists to perform the site as resilient, and the spatial and temporal excess which eludes this performance. The article contributes to critical literatures on resilience by showing, through the ambiguities of resilience at the bombsite, that resilience is a chimera with regards to its supposed incorporation of insecurity.

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