Knowledgebase

Number of results: 39

Frames of War - When Is Life Grievable?

Document type: 
Book
Authors / Institution: 
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.

Radicalism and Political Reform in the Islamic and Western Worlds

Document type: 
Book
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Cambridge University Press
Abstract: 

Over the last decade, political Islam has been denounced in the Western media and in the surrounding literature as a terrorist or fascist movement that is entirely at odds with Western democratic i

deology. Kai Hafez's book overturns these arguments, contending that, despite its excesses, as a radical form of political opposition the movement plays a central role in the processes of democratization and modernization, and that these processes have direct parallels in the history and politics of the West. By analyzing the evolution of Christian democratization through the upheavals of the Reformation, colonisation, fascism, and totalitarianism, the book shows how radicalism and violence were constant accompaniments to political change, and that these components - despite assertions to the contrary - are still part of Western political culture to this day.

Eurobarometer - Europeans' attitude towards Security

Document type: 
Report
Authors / Institution: 
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. 

Security Research in support of Societal resilience and Trust - What are the gaps today and how to address them?

Document type: 
Report
Publisher / Publication: 
Workshop „Societal Security“ in R&D, Brussels, 1 July 2010
Abstract: 

Expert Session on “Security research in support of Societal resilience and Trust”.

The aim of this session is to identify and discuss gaps in security research today, especially in support of societal resilience and trust, to discuss and conclude how these gaps can be addressed and to take into account first results and lessons learned from ongoing/finished FP7 Security research projects. 

More Presentations, Reports and Discussion Papers of the Workshop „Societal Security“ in R&D are available under 'Related Documents' below. 

Macrosecuritisation and security constellations: reconsidering scale in securitisation theory

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Review of International Studies, 35 (2): 253-276
Abstract: 

The Copenhagen school's theory of securitisation has mainly focused on the middle level of world politics in which collective political units, often but not always states, construct relationships o

f amity or enmity with each other. Its argument has been that this middle level would be the most active both because of the facility with which collective political units can construct each other as threats, and the difficulty of finding audiences for the kinds of securitisations and referent objects that are available at the individual and system levels. This article focuses on the gap between the middle and system levels, and asks whether there is not more of substance there than the existing Copenhagen school analyses suggests. It revisits the under-discussed concept of security constellations in Copenhagen school theory, and adds to it the idea of macrosecuritisations as ways of getting an analytical grip on what happens above the middle level. It then suggests how applying these concepts adds not just a missing sense of scale, but also a useful insight into underlying political logics, to how one understands the patterns of securitisation historical, and contemporary.

Slippery? contradictory? sociologically untenable? The Copenhagen school replies

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Review of International Studies, 23 (2): 241-250
Abstract: 

In the January 1996 issue of the Review, Bill McSweeney argues that our 1993 book, Identity, Migration and the New Security Agenda in Europe (IMNSAE), ‘subverts’ the analysis of Buza

n’s People, States and Fear (PSF) ‘without enhancing our understanding of the problem of security’ (p. 93).Bill McSweeney, ‘Identity and Security: Buzan and the Copenhagen School’, Review of International Studies, 22 (1996), pp. 81–93; O. Wæver, B. Buzan, Morten Kelstrup and Pierre Lemaitre with David Carlton et al., Identity, Migration and the New Security Agenda in Europe (London, 1993). Of the many charges that McSweeney brings to bear we will address three. First is that societal security is merely a trendy response to current concerns about nationalism rather than a more theoretically considered move. Second — and this seems to be the core of his complaint — is that the view we take of ‘identities’ is far too objectivist and not (de)constructivist enough, and that our approach makes it impossible to consider the process of identity formation as part of the politics of security. Third, he says that Buzan’s association with IMNSAE contradicts strong positions he developed in PSF and that his analysis has therefore become incoherent.

National Enterprise Emergency: Steps Toward an Ecology of Powers

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
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’?

Ethnic Violence and the Societal Security Dilemma

Document type: 
Book
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Routledge
Abstract: 

Ethnic Violence and the Societal Security Dilemma explores how the phenomenon of ethnic violence can be understood as a form of security dilemma by shifting the focus of the concept away from its t

raditional concern with state sovereignty to that of identity instead.

The book is divided into theoretical and empirical chapters, beginning with the categorisation by the author of the security dilemma concept into ‘tight’, ‘regular’ and ‘loose’ formations, and its combination with the Copenhagen School’s notion of societal security. This reconceptualisation of the traditional security dilemma then provides a framework capable of explaining conflictual dynamics between ethnic groups and how some cases can be resolved without recourse to outright war. 

Security - Analysing transnational professionals of (in)security in Europe

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Chapter in: Rebecca Adler-Niessen (ed.), Bourdieu in International Relations - Rethinking Key Concepts in IR, Routledge, pp. 114-130
Abstract: 

This chapter tries to sum up why the problematisation suggested by Pierre Bourdieu in terms of practice instead of norms and values or interest and rational choice, of relational approach instead o

f essentialism or interactionism, permits rethinking security differently. It is crucial to understand agents' practices concerning (in)security as forms of strategies of distinction instead of rational calculus, of field and habitus instead of structure and agency, of trajectories and change instead of stability and (dis)order, of field of power, field of national state and field of professionals of politics, law, security instead of a vision in terms of state-society and interstate actors. 

The promise of security: resilience, surprise and epistemic politics

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses, 2 (2): 73-87
Abstract: 

Over the past decade, resilience has become a quasi-universal answer to problems of security and governance, from climate change to children's education, from indigenous history to disaster respons

e, and from development to terrorism. This article places the proliferation of resilience in relation to the earlier proliferation of security discourse and practice. Why resilience today? It answers this question by unpacking the epistemic regimes that underpin the move to resilience. Rather than tracing the differences between protection, prevention, pre-emption and resilience, the article argues that the political transformation that resilience entails becomes explicit in relation to the promise of security. Although the language of ‘promise’ and ‘promising’ has been widely used in relation to security, its political implications have remained unexplored. Underpinned by an epistemology of surprising events, resilience discourses reconfigure the promise of security. Through an empirical engagement with the turn to resilience in DFID's humanitarian policy in the UK and a theoretical reconsideration of Hannah Arendt's conceptualisation of the promise, I offer a critical vantage point on the transformation that resilience portends for our contemporary condition.

Pages

Go to top