This chapter analyses the British Fire and Rescue Services, in particular how data travel through their digital infrastructures until it is finally computed into risk assessments that intend to predict future occurrences of fire and thereby serve as a means of government. The chapter points to the contingent nature of data, and how it changes both form and content as it becomes mobilised from one department to another. The emphasis is on the mobile as well as the immobile parts of this journey at the end of which stands a novel technique of intervention into one of the most archaic and yet up-to-date threats, that of fire.
French denaturalisation law on the brink of World War II
Adding a historical note to a practice that has recently garnered renewed attention, this chapter looks at the policy of denaturalisation in France at the beginning of World War II. Denaturalisation law as a juridical political discourse centres on the deprivation of citizenship; it draws on security rhetoric in order to rewrite the limits of inclusion and exclusion regarding citizenship and is a means to model the national community. Based on archival material collected at the French National Archives, the chapter argues that denaturalisation law is at the core of the security/mobility dynamic: emphasising a fear of movement on the one hand, and the operationalisation of adaptable juridical practices on the other hand, denaturalisation interrupts our capacity of dissent while fixing the means to govern beyond democratic control. The analysis contributes to a better understanding of the politics of nationality where notions of selfhood and otherness are being shaped, mobilised and transformed.
Ontological coordination and the assessment of consistency in asylum requests
This chapter examines the practices of judging the credibility of asylum requests in Brazil. Through ethnographic research with various Brazilian agencies involved in the asylum procedure, the chapter is concerned with how asylum cases come to be regarded as consistent or not; consistency being a requirement for granting asylum. The chapter draws on Annemarie Mol’s work on ontological coordination in order to understand how different enactments of an asylum case are arranged. As such, the chapter is critical of procedures based on checklists since these overviews encourage a singular view of an asylum case in which there is little room for unexpected and genuine new information which might challenge the established view of the case.
This chapter engages the (re)organisation of cyberspace by examining the ongoing debates on data territorialisation. Building on cybersecurity discourses after the Snowden revelations, the chapter analyses how the movement of data is supposed to be constrained such that it literally would not leave the territory of a nation state on its way from sender to receiver. The chapter thereby highlights – against the placeless notion of cyberspace – the importance of the physical infrastructure of servers and data exchange points that exist in concrete buildings on national territories. The argument behind the rerouting initiatives is that data, once it would not physically leave the country on its travels, would be easier to protect. However, as the chapter argues, such a political intervention into the open architecture of the Internet entails deep-seated transformations of power in cyberspace.
A discourse view on the European Community and the abolition of border controls in the second half of the 1980s
This chapter examines from a discourse perspective the debate on the abolition of border controls in the European Community (EC) in the second half of the 1980s. It analyses how the shifting constellation between the border as security device and as economic enabler made possible the removal of border controls as well as to conceive of new forms of regulating security and mobility. In a broader context, the chapter is critical of the view of the EC and now European Union as a post-national entity that has successfully moved beyond a divisionary and exclusive nationally-oriented politics. Instead, the regulation of mobility and thus the politics of inclusion and exclusion continues apace although perhaps in less visible and more unexpected places.
This book brings together a number of contributions that look into the political regulation of movement and analyses that engage the material enablers of and constraints on such movement. It attempts to bridge theoretical perspectives from critical security studies and political geography in order to provide a more comprehensive perspective on security and mobility. In this vein, the book brings together approaches to mobility that take into account both techniques and practices of regulating movement, as well as their underlying infrastructures. Together the contributions inquire into a politics of movement that lies at the core of the production of security. Drawing on the insight that security is a contingent concept that hinges on the social construction of threat – which in turn must be understood through its political, social, economic, and cultural dimensions – the contributors offer fine-grained perspectives on a presumably mobile and insecure world. The title of the book, Security/Mobility, is a direct reference to this world that at times appears dominated by these two paradigms. As is shown throughout the book, rather than being opposed to each other, a great deal of political effort is undertaken in order to reconcile the need for security and the necessity of mobility. Running through the book is the view that security and mobility are entangled in a constant dynamic – a dynamic that converges in what is conceptualised here as a politics of movement.
The epilogue makes an effort to close the bracket that this introduction has opened. Arguing from the disciplinary perspective of critical security studies, it takes a step back and evaluates which lessons can be learned from an agenda of security/mobility. The epilogue underlines the need for critical security studies to incorporate the notion of mobility more strongly, particularly with regard to its theoretical underpinnings and empirical and material manifestations. Moreover, it calls to take into account the multiplicity of actors that shape and influence any politics of movement, and to pay attention to (globalised) narratives of mobility and risk.