Sociology

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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.

in Security/ Mobility
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.

in Security/ Mobility
Analysing the example of data territorialisation

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.

in Security/ Mobility
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.

in Security/ Mobility
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Politics of movement

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.

Lessons for critical security studies?

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.

in Security/ Mobility
Memory and security without visibility

This chapter explores the relationship between visibility, memorialisation and security through case studies of the London bombing, the invasion of Afghanistan by coalition troops, and the situation of post-terrorist memorials in tourism economies. It analyses how some invisible (underground) bombsites are made visible during memorialisation to expunge their morbid resonance, whereas other invisible deaths (those of Afghanis) remain inconspicuous given their situation in political structures of grievability. Finally, the chapter explores the integration of post-terrorist memorials into tourist agendas and the function of the tourist gaze as a signifying tool which can reconstitute formerly traumatic sites.

in Death and security
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Pathologising security through Lacanian desire

This concluding chapter offers a theoretical reading of the drive to secure within the terms of Lacanian desire. It asks whether there is something thrilling and yet masochistic about the Sisyphean pursuit of the unobtainable condition known as security. Given that security pursues an impossible immortality, is it indicative of a fantasy of control and order – rather than a teleological, goal-oriented pursuit? And, as fantasy, is this endeavour structured around an eternal recurrence and repetition, rather than the pursuit and possession of a discrete objective? The chapter suggests that the security edifice is pathology, caused by the Death of God and the resurgent salience of death anxiety in a society bereft of promises to immortality.

in Death and security
Disaster management

Interpreting security as the effacement of mortality enables us to dramatically broaden the scope of research to include non-anticipatory temporalities of security. In this chapter, present-tense emergency management is exposed as a technique of mortality effacement. States efface the trauma of mortality and re-establish security by performing the rituals of emergency management: erecting cordons, organising the triage of bodies, and reconciling bodies with their previous living identities (‘disaster victim identification’). Disaster response is a reconstitutive performance of security and sovereignty against the incursion of death and trauma.

in Death and security
Abstract only
Memory and mortality at the bombsite

Death is simultaneously silent, and very loud, in political life. Politicians and media scream about potential threats lurking behind every corner, but academic discourse often neglects mortality. Life is everywhere in theorisation of security, but death is nowhere.

Making a bold intervention into the Critical Security Studies literature, this book explores the ontological relationship between mortality and security after the Death of God – arguing that security emerged in response to the removal of promises to immortal salvation. Combining the mortality theories of Heidegger and Bauman with literature from the sociology of death, Heath-Kelly shows how security is a response to the death anxiety implicit within the human condition.

The book explores the theoretical literature on mortality before undertaking a comparative exploration of the memorialisation of four prominent post-terrorist sites: the World Trade Center in New York, the Bali bombsite, the London bombings and the Norwegian sites attacked by Anders Breivik. By interviewing the architects and designers of these reconstruction projects, Heath-Kelly shows that practices of memorialization are a retrospective security endeavour – they conceal and re-narrate the traumatic incursion of death. Disaster recovery is replete with security practices that return mortality to its sublimated position and remove the disruption posed by mortality to political authority.

The book will be of significant interest to academics and postgraduates working in the fields of Critical Security Studies, Memory Studies and International Politics.