Knowledgebase

Number of results: 9

Security and Immigration: Toward a Critique of the Governmentality of Unease

Document type: 
Scientific publication
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Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 27 (1): 63-92
Abstract: 

Some “critical” discourses generated by NGOs and academics assume that if people, politicians, governments, bureaucracies and journalists were more aware, they would change their minds about migrat

ion and begin to resist securitizing it. The primary problem, therefore, is ideological or discursive in that the securitization of migrants derives from the language itself and from the different capacities of various actors to engage in speech acts. In this context, the term “speech act” is used not in its technical Austinian sense, but metaphorically, to justify both the normative position of a speaker and the value of their critical discourse against the discourses of the security professionals. This understanding of critique reinforces the vision of a contest between ideas and norms, a contest in which academics can play a leading role. This essay seeks to avoid presenting the struggle as an ideological one between conserv- ative and liberal positions, or even as an “intertextual competition” between agencies in which academics have a key role. It examines why the discourses of securitization continue to be so powerful even when alternatives discourses are well known, and why the production of academic and alternative discourses has so little effect in either the political arena or in daily life. It emphasizes the work of politicization, of the mobilization of groups and technologies enabling some agents, especially political actors, the media, the security professionals and some sectors of the general population, to create a “truth” about the link between crime, unemployment, and migration, even when academics, churches, NGOs and some social policy oriented institutions have made powerful claims to the contrary for many years. 

Climate and security: evidence, emerging risks, and a new agenda

Document type: 
Scientific publication
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Climatic Change, 123 (1): 1-9
Abstract: 

There are diverse linkages between climate change and security including risks of conflict, national security concerns, critical national infrastructure, geo-political rivalries and threats to huma

n security. We review analysis of these domains from primary research and from policy prescriptive and advocacy sources. We conclude that much analysis over-emphasises deterministic mechanisms between climate change and security. Yet the climate-security nexus is more complex than it appears and requires attention from across the social sciences. We review the robustness of present social sciences analysis in assessing the causes and consequences of climate change on human security, and identify new areas of research. These new areas include the need to analyse the absence of conflict in the face of climate risks and the need to expand the range of issues accounted for in analysis of climate and security including the impacts of mitigation response on domains of security. We argue for the necessity of robust theories that explain causality and associations, and the need to include theories of asymmetric power relations in explaining security dimensions. We also highlight the dilemmas of how observations and historical analysis of climate and security dimensions may be limited as the climate changes in ways that present regions with unprecedented climate risks.

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

Document type: 
Scientific publication
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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.

Security and the performative politics of resilience: Critical infrastructure protection and humanitarian emergency preparedness

Document type: 
Scientific publication
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Publisher / Publication: 
Security Dialogue, 46 (1): 32-50
Abstract: 

This article critically examines the performative politics of resilience in the context of the current UK Civil Contingencies (UKCC) agenda.

It places resilience within a wider politics of (in)security that seeks to govern risk by folding uncertainty into everyday practices that plan for, pre-empt, and imagine extreme events. Moving beyond existing diagnoses of resilience based either on ecological adaptation or neoliberal governmentality, we develop a performative approach that highlights the instability, contingency, and ambiguity within attempts to govern uncertainties. This performative politics of resilience is investigated via two case studies that explore 1) critical national infrastructure protection and 2) humanitarian emergency preparedness. By drawing attention to the particularities of how resilient knowledge is performed and what it does in diverse contexts, we repoliticize resilience as an ongoing, incomplete, and potentially self-undermining discourse.

Frames of War - When Is Life Grievable?

Document type: 
Book
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Publisher / Publication: 
Verso Books, New York
Abstract: 

In Frames of War, Judith Butler explores the media's portrayal of state violence, a process integral to the way in which the West wages modern war.

This portrayal has saturated our understanding of human life, and has led to the exploitation and abandonment of whole peoples, who are cast as existential threats rather than as living populations in need of protection. These people are framed as already lost, to imprisonment, unemployment and starvation, and can easily be dismissed. In the twisted logic that rationalizes their deaths, the loss of such populations is deemed necessary to protect the lives of 'the living.' This disparity, Butler argues, has profound implications for why and when we feel horror, outrage, guilt, loss and righteous indifference, both in the context of war and, increasingly, everyday life.

Eurobarometer - Europeans' attitude towards Security

Document type: 
Report
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Publisher / Publication: 
Eurobarometer Special Survey 464b
Abstract: 

The aim of this report is to analyse the results of the questions asked regarding citizens’ overall awareness, experiences and perceptions of security.

The survey explores the issue of security by looking at a whole host of areas: overall perceptions of security and threats, perceptions of the actions taken by the police and other law enforcement authorities to combat those threats, and their attitudes toward national and international cooperation in dealing with the various security challenges faced by the Member States of the EU. 

National Enterprise Emergency: Steps Toward an Ecology of Powers

Document type: 
Scientific publication
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Theory, Culture & Society, 26 (6): 153-185
Abstract: 

The figure of today’s threat is the suddenly irrupting, locally self-organizing, systemically self-amplifying threat of large-scale disruption.

This form of threat, fed by instability and metastability, is not only indiscriminate, it is also indiscriminable; it is indistinguishable from the general environment. The figure of the environment shifts: from the harmony of a natural balance to the normality of a generalized crisis environment so encompassing in its endemic threat-form as to connect, across the spectrum, the polar extremes of war and the weather. Michel Foucault characterizes the dominant contemporary regime of power, coincident with the rise of neoliberalism, as ‘environmental’: a governmentality which will act on the environment and systematically modify its variables. Its actions, he emphasizes, are not standardizing since the shift in the figure of the environment has moved it out of reach of normalization. Given the indiscriminateness of the environment’s autonomous activity, environmentality must work through the ‘regulation of effects’ rather than of causes. It must remain operationally ‘open to unknowns’ and catch nonlinear, transversal phenomena before they amplify the stirrings to actual crisis proportions. What systematicity is this? And: does power’s becoming-environmental mean that, politically, we are dealing with natural subjects? Where Foucault’s question ends is where, today, we must begin, in light of how the recomposition of power whose dawning he glimpsed in 1979 has since played out. In the context of Foucault’s theories of power, the question amounts to asking: is this still ‘biopolitics’?

The Changing Agenda of Societal Security

Document type: 
Scientific publication
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Publisher / Publication: 
In: Brauch H.G. et al. (eds) Globalization and Environmental Challenges. Hexagon Series on Human and Environmental Security and Peace, vol 3, Springer Verlag, pp 581-593
Abstract: 

Security dynamics have some shared features irrespective of their referent object or ‘sector’, and ‘different kinds of security’ often interact so that one actor’s fear for military security trigge

rs countermeasures that make another state worried about its economic security, which in turn triggers countermeasures that let a security dilemma loose operating across ‘kinds’ of security. For these two reasons, it is useful to study economic security, military security, political security, environmental security and other forms together, side by side. But there are also significant differences between, for instance security against military threats and against migration (when viewed as a threat), or between economic security and environmental security. This makes it useful to look systematically at the security of what might be called ‘sectors’ (economic, military, etc) and draw out the particularities regarding what are the main objects defended, who typically acts in this sector, and not least, what dynamics of security and insecurity are characteristic of this sector.

Automated human behavior analysis

Document type: 
Technology Trend card
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Publisher / Publication: 
Fraunhofer for the SOURCE project
Abstract: 

1 page fact sheet on the technology trends of Automated human behavior analysis

The term automated human behavior analysis (AHBA) stands  for  the  identification and assessment of human behavior for the purpose of  detecting suspicious behavior of persons in public or while personnel interactions such as surveys. This process is supported by automated processes. The aim of the automated behavior analysis is the detection of individuals with bad intentions (e.g. terrorists) and the prevention of their actions in advance or uncovering already committed deeds.     

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