Event Date: 21 – 22 February 2011
The River Room
King’s College London, Strand Campus
London WC2R 2LS
ESRC Seminar Series- Contemporary Biopolitical Security
Co-sponsored by the Biopolitics of Security Network,
the Emerging Securities Research Unit @ Keele University
and the Centre for International Relations, Department of War Studies, King’s College London
“There is no liberalism without a culture of danger.” (Foucault)
Threats and risks have become the preferred categories for imagining contemporary security. Practices such as defence, border control and the surveillance of populations, insurance, risk profiling to identify suspicious subjects, and risk assessments to protect objects and systems such as critical infrastructure, rely heavily on well-established paradigms of security. Discourses and practices of threats and risks, with their allied technologies of measurement and calculation, however, relate to the wider problem of danger and its allied concept of ‘uncertainty’. Thinking ‘danger’ relates to understandings of uncertainties, otherness of being, and spaces and environments of protection in excess of those accounted for in the language and metrics of discourses of threats and risks.
What happens, then, if the analysis of security resorts to understandings of ‘danger’, ‘dangerousness’, and processes of ‘endangerment’? Is it possible to think security by referring ideas of danger to understandings of life, livelihoods and lifestyles, instead of ready-made ‘objects’ of security such as sovereignty, territory, the nation-state, citizens, borders, and sociological categories such as class and gender? Is it possible to think security in relation to danger away from utilitarian economic categories such as cost-benefit analysis, risk calculus, and rational choice?
The workshop aims to explore these questions and to challenge participants to wonder if current policy security priorities such as terrorism, climate change, weapons proliferation, resilience and migration can be thought in relation to ‘danger’ outside discourses of threats and risks.
In the first three workshops of this seminar series we began to explore an agenda for contemporary biopolitical security research around problems such as mobilities and circulations, resilience, values and processes of valuations in relation to the technologies through which lifestyles and livelihoods are treated as referents of security. In this fourth workshop we intend to spark a conversation around the implications of thinking dangerousness in relation to security and life.
The workshop is based on participants’ work and invites a reflection on the following questions:
- How are ideas of danger constituted? What forms of ‘data’, ‘information’, and ‘knowledge’ are involved in constituting a dangerous subject or a dangerous environment?
- What are the preconditions for understanding endangerment in and how do they question the ‘new security challenges’ of for example, terrorism (and cyber-terrorism), proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, climate change, and health pandemics?
- Can discourses and practices of security be different if reflections on the consequences of endangerment are advanced?
MONDAY 21 FEBRUARY
Luis Lobo-Guerrero and Vivienne Jabri – Introduction
Panel 1 – Ontologisations of Danger
- Btihaj Ajana – Re-ontologising Danger (AUDIO HERE)
- Joscha Wullweber – Strategies of Danger and Dangerous Strategies (AUDIO HERE)
- David Chandler – The Ontology of Danger:Recasting the Human Subject in Discourses of Vulnerability and Resilience (AUDIO HERE)
- Andrew Neal – The Entropy of Dangerousness (AUDIO HERE)
Chair: Martin Coward (Newcastle University)
Panel 2 – Risk managing the dangerousness of terror
- Cerelia Athanassiou – Changing the Global War on Terror: Who is the ‘Ready’ Citizen Arming Against? (AUDIO HERE)
- Lisa Stampnitzky- Constituting terrorism: three attempts at rational governance (AUDIO HERE)
- Christopher Zebrowski – Falling-out: Examining the problematising capacities of danger (AUDIO HERE)
- Jonas Hagmann – Risk registers and the measurement of everything: Security scientism and the reassertion of modernism (AUDIO HERE)
Chair: Claudia Aradau (The Open University)
Panel 3 – Danger’s Otherness
- Debbie Lisle – Danger’s Other: Pleasure, Leisure & Travel (AUDIO HERE)
- Sam Okoth Opondo – Fearscapes / Securescapes : Urban Anxieties, Securities and the Domestic Scene (AUDIO HERE)
Chair: Vivienne Jabri
Professor Marieke de Goede
Networked Danger and Speculative Security (AUDIO HERE)
TUESDAY 22 February
Panel 4 – Sites, spaces and strategies of endangerment
- Charlotte Heath-Kelly – Counter-Terrorism and the Counterfactual: Producing the ‘Radicalisation’ Discourse and the UK PREVENT strategy (AUDIO HERE)
- Casey McNeill – Danger and un-governed spaces in the US (AUDIO HERE)
- Alex Hamilton – ‘Dangerous tools’ in ‘dangerous hands’: How synthetic biology is imagined as a ‘bioterrorist threat’ (AUDIO HERE)
Chair: Peter Adey
Final Roundtable and Conclusions With:
- Mustapha Pasha (University of Aberdeen)
- Marieke de Goede (University of Amsterdam)
- Luis Lobo-Guerrero (Keele University)
- Vivienne Jabri (King’s College London)
- Martin Coward (Newcastle University)