Volume 4, Number 1 (January 2007)
Author: Akinbola E. Akinwumi
For ‘We respect the fact that you are different’ read: ‘You people who are underdeveloped would do well to hang on to this distinction because it is all that you have left’. Nothing could be more contemptuous – or more contemptible – than this attitude, which exemplifies the most radical form of incomprehension that exists.1
The problem of security, as we know, haunts our societies and long ago replaced the problem of liberty.2
Patriotic, protectionistic claims of purity, beauty, comfort, order and exclusive bordering, purification or eradication of Others in [a] claimed space … are still common practice in our society.3
Jean Baudrillard’s reasoning is not geared towards security – in the classic sense, that is. His is, if you will, a counter-security visioneering. Yet, by offering critical insights into how the facticity of otherness structures both the political and the subject, Baudrillard creates a platform from which a well orbed counter-security argument can be built. Here, then, my take – but with appropriate appendages – is rooted in Baudrillard the thinker on otherness, not necessarily on Baudrillard the simulation or seduction theorist. While this surely has its place, my intention here is not to be for or against Baudrillard, but rather to move beyond popular angles on his work. My goal is to rethink those assumptions that guide current securitisms – much of which are, in fact, predicated upon a peculiar vision for the future. It is not even remotely a matter of charting the topography of contradictions a securitizing outlook produces but of asking: Why does it take on the form of light, absolute light that seeks to ward off “darkness”? “An absolute light – photographic in the literal sense – demanding not to be looked at but, rather, that we close our eyes to it and the inner darkness it enfolds”.4
As I see it Baudrillard’s thinking on otherness and the self/other dialectic that upholds the politics of identity can be useful for foregrounding what we might call the responsibility of security to desecuritization; that is, desecuritization’s encounter with the consequences of otherness.5 We have seen this logic at work in Baudrillard’s rather heady insistence on the indestructibility of the “other”, even when the sheer decidability of his position seems to be unfashionable. Adopting a perspective that largely unsettles identity (the architecture of alterity), Baudrillard maintains that “alterity cannot be grounded in a vague dialectic of One and the Other”.6 Otherness ceases to exist “when all becomes transparence and immediate visibility, when everything is exposed to the harsh and inexorable light of information and communication”.7 “It all comes”, as Baudrillard shows us, “from the impossibility of conceiving the Other – friend or enemy – in its radical otherness, in its irreconcilable foreignness”.8 It all comes, too, from the deep structure of xenophobia and racism that exemplifies the discursive logic of European securitisms.9
To pull the philosophical trajectories together, we might do well to seek a fresh interpretation of “pseudo-currents” such as (societal) security. This would fare well in an age that is so naive about the grammatologies of securitization that dramatize the issue of difference. Indeed, the greatest move of securitization is to make its descent into the peremptory abyss of identity. But that is basically what it is – a tumble into the dark, not into the light of some redemptive epistemology, as it deploys the otherness of the other as a tool of securitization. Of course, this does little or nothing to outwit the multifocal diagonality of society (or what used to be known as society). There is, of course, a reason for this: this dramatizing process ensures otherness a “shadiness” of sorts. Yet, that is not all there is to it. Whether audaciously or surreptitiously, the present condition does exhaust the taxonomy of security, but not that of identity. Rather, insecurity, real or imagined, visibilizes the non-visible through violent juxtapositions, easily morphing into pervasive waves of crypto-terror, contributing to a fatalizing culture of exclusionism and further widening the inside/outside divide.10 In the following section I frame the structuring logic of my reflections.
II. Sorting Through The Discourse
The essay coheres in two closely linked ways. Firstly, it treats the subject of fear as a broad condition reflecting a culture of ‘otherization’, suggesting that the prisms of discourse and bordering can help to sharpen our focus on securitization. To be sure, discourse, bordering and discourses of bordering have at their core expressions of the “social construction of reality” and therefore also discursive practices that involve “truth” construction whilst building a monumentalizing attitude towards “society”. Secondly, I invoke the term fear explicitly as an analytical tool for considering bordering acts within physical and, more importantly, social space through discursive processes. In this I reach into the arsenal of critical security studies literature in offering an account of how public discourse, through the effect of the mass media on societal fears, can legitimize securitizing practices. The securitization framework will – in its own terms, no less – be placed in a certain context, that is, of an attempt by institutions and states to project and protect meaning in self-referential terms in the post-11 September climate. Primarily relevant here is a consideration of the discursive nature of securitization, done by way of reflecting on discussions on “speech acts” and “securitizing/speech actors”. In this my aim is to capture the effects of publicized expressions on the migrant other who has become systematically “out-bordered”, so to speak, by the effects of a dominant culture of societal security.
The subjects broached herein are inevitably interlinked and, taken together, can help to point to the matrix of otherization and hyper-securitization shaped in Europe since the Madrid and London bombing events when on the one hand immigration/immigrants became otherized in catastrophic terms and on the other hand became labelled a societal security concern. Herein, I tease out the idea that fear plays a significant role in the present development because it is ultimately linked with bordering practices against the “other”, a category not least of which encompasses the immigrant. My point is that securitization, when it centres upon the vocabularies of bordering and otherization, becomes the very conduit of fear. Finally, this essay is a reflection on the limitations of a vaunted utilization of “identity” arguments in addressing (in)security. The important task of the present venture, then, is to explicate from the point of view of critical security the broad politics of securitization and ultimately to “find” the discourse of otherness within the epicentre of theoretical interest in security. In this regard, I attempt to suggest that the deconstruction of the organizing principles of securitization is in effect the deconstruction of (b)ordering principles of “us” vs. “other”, “inside” and “outside”, “insider” and “outsider”. Following this point, in the concluding section I advocate explicitly a shift in the focus of security, urging a channelling of the security dynamic towards the security of the identity of the “other”, suggesting that mindfulness of the right to otherness is central to desecuritization.
III. Of Limbo, Of Stasis
We are going to end up looking for imagination in places further and further from power… Among the excluded, the immigrants … But that will really take a lot of imagination because they, who no longer even have an image, are themselves the by-products of a whole society’s loss of imagination, of the loss of any social imagination.11
By a wide consensus, “security” is no longer what it used to be, having been cross-pollinated with new considerations and reshaped to fit different sizes, different shapes that in turn capitalize on different “ideals”. For one, security is unveiling itself more and more as an index of spatiality, specifically through the act of “bordering”, which is in my understanding connected to the dualistic act of othering and ordering, or “otherization”.12 Enacted within the broad discursive space of security, bordering is, of itself, a subset of securitization, and this being because the securitizing of any issue will almost automatically reinforce an exclusive logic of “us” vs. “other”, a logic which inherently conveys a picture of borders and identification.13 Interestingly enough, the notion of identity has an umbilical connection to that of societal security. Indeed, the latter arises in those situations when societies regard a threat primarily in terms of identity.14 No doubt, identity-centred security is best studied in its combustive contextual specificity and unbridled allure: those components of identity, real or imagined, such as language, common values, territory, ethnicity or nationality, thought to accrue “naturally” to a group unite a people and set them in contradistinction to other groups. These components provide the scaffolding within which the discursive framework of common identity is enforced, even if it requires sweeping macro- and micro-historical indictments that lend themselves unsettlingly to excessive sociocultural, psychological and moral geometries.
In this light, societal identity brings to bear the hitherto buried reality of an underpinning boundary making decision system that captures what is deemed representative of the bounds of a particular society. Thus, the problematic highlighted by the societal security perspective is also designated as “identity security” because the concern it arouses is thoroughly dyadic, invariably demanding that attention be given to components of both identity and security.15 Yet, identity is not of itself an independent variable but is often the offshoot of a “labelling process” stitched unto the seams of public discourse – a condition which seems endemic.16 Unsurprisingly, given the broad and pervasive nuances of meaning associated with the term “society”, Wæver et. al. advance the concept of “societal security” to not only to redirect the poetics of security to “society”, but also to carefully attune it to the idea of national community.17 To be sure, in discursive explorations about the sustainability of identity questions are usually raised concerning matters revolving around issues and norms of what “national” identity entails and, correspondingly, threats to its existence. By and large, within this approach migration and identity are virtually conflated to such a fierce extent that immigrants are seen as the most pressing threat to societal security and consequently the main precipitant of societal “insecurity”. In various respects, the trend represents a typically distinct mode that I would call a discursive thickness.
Essentially, discursive thickness is always speech-based – indeed, the very “thingness” of the process of bordering. It actualizes, on the whole, the performative-ness of the almost mythical notion of society. The ultimate consequence of bordering is an order in which “us” as a group is accorded greater power and privilege than that which is ascribed to the “other”, the latter being seen not only as inferior but as possessing a catastrophic quality ever assailing the collective and bounded nature of society. Its ruse is however revealed as the boundaries turn out to be implicated in the agonization of otherness. Based on this, then, I suggest that otherness is scripted and at the same time projected as an important basis for otherization and (by association) securitization.18 Through the spatial practice of bordering, otherization is produced in everyday life, in the real sense of actuality. In order to establish legitimate position of “us”, difference is overturned and otherized into a symbol of danger threatening societal security. Put another way, bordering and otherization actualize the stereotypical, xenophobic and racist attitude side-effects of securitization.
The puzzles of securitization – the puzzle that is securitization and the puzzles it seeks to solve – are its plotting arc. Yet, this is not all there is to it: the dramatic geometry of being wrapped in puzzles is the real and emergent tune. As post-Cold War thinking got underway, securitization became dominated by the control of circulation, its narcissistic appeal constituting a manipulative and modulating modality of deception not unconnected to the rowdy orbit of the political. Yet, it was only within the self-contained world of discourse that securitization became able to make itself into a hyperrealistic reality. Discourses provide the tool with which social demarcations are constructed, and then they are institutionalized by the practical use of the agents in the social field. I propose a second hypothesis that desecuritization can only occur through a combination of actor inaction and the structural transformation of societal identity in public discourse. The securitizing agents can therefore manipulate language for the tactical purpose of normalizing a particular societal identity paradigm. By venturing into a public realm of discourse thick with justifications, the strings of argument can be tweaked to suit context. And in public discourse, societal insecurity then takes on a deftly semi-autonomous position, internally and resolutely connected to the sole point of security rather than merely reflexive of it. Yet, because the discursive ligature curves back upon itself when it transgresses the outer limits of perceptions/imperceptions of societal insecurity – the plane of the macrostructure – it leaves behind an enigmatic message that cannot be deciphered at the purely surface level. Without disclaimers or qualifications discourses play a crucial role in the formation of knowledge; as a terminus of the processes of spatial consciousness it is central to the constitution of imagination and action and to the maintenance (or creation?) of puritanical geographies.
To my way of thinking, this seems to be the overall structure of things: the unthinkable confluence of the sensible and the senseless, the symmetric and the asymmetric, all the more intently than the eyes can see. But what is to blame for this (mis)understanding that masks a dangerous insouciance, a disturbing relational disfigurement, a puzzling ocularity? If I might be a little reflective I would say that it has to do with an opposition to difference. Yet, “It is not difference which presupposes opposition but opposition which presupposes difference”. Difference, then, is not merely the vocabulary of distinction. Rather, what it takes as a starting point is inherently pluralistic: “a swarm of differences, a pluralism of free, wild or untamed differences”. In other words, it is “the original, intensive depth which is the matrix of the entire space and the first affirmation of difference”.19 Here is Baudrillard’s take on the present line of thought:
The individual’s indifference to himself and to others is a mirror-image of all these other kinds of indifference: it results from…the subject’s being inscribed in the order of identity, which is a product, paradoxically, of the demand he be different from himself and from others … For this identitary individual lives on the hymning and hallucinating of difference, employing to that end all the devices for simulating the other. He is the first victim of that psychological and philosophical theory of difference which, in all spheres, ends in indifference to oneself and others…We have conquered otherness with difference and, in its turn, difference has succumbed to the logic of the same and of indifference.20
The Border is not a Bother?
Ours has become a hell of security, built with the arrogant, authorizing language of “society”. Following my preceding argument, I would say that society is a “bifurcating” arena that presupposes boundaries and divisions and as such fails to consider the ambivalent value of “identity”.21 In keeping with the theme of my argument I will make a brief foray into the subject of bordering by way of the concept of the “border” as this may help us to fully comprehend the nature of the basis for securitization. Because I prefer to see it as firstly a social construction I define the border as a line of separation structured by the social realities of difference and prompted by the desire for strict containerization of sameness and difference.22 As such, the border is constituted through interconnected social practices and is above all the effect of these practices. In my view, given that the boundaries between “us” and the “other” represent the spatial aspect of identity construction, the border functions as a system of consciousness for “protecting” social/cultural space and is, more often than not – at least from the side of “us” – linked to conceptions of the common good. In their introduction to Borders and Border Politics in a Globalizing World, Paul Ganster and David Lorey point out that “boundaries between peoples are human inventions and thus reflect human visions of the social and political world”.23 Whatever its resonance, “the border as a concept is not so much an object or phenomenon, something to erase or install, but rather an ongoing, repetitive process that we encounter and produce in our daily lives”.24
Broadly speaking, mental boundaries demarcating “us” from “other” are constructed and translated into everyday life, but in conditions of pervasive fear their dimensionalities border on the absurd; the spatialities of postmodern society become tools for installing a criminalized sense of difference. As Ken Booth has argued, the dichotomy between “us” and “them” cannot be extricated from the subject of security: “what makes us believe we are the same and them different – is inseparable from security”.25 It is easy to see that in public discourses the repetition of stories, discussions, comments and overhanging stereotypes about the “other”, especially by societal elites, becomes externalized unto the plane of “reality”. For instance, these discourses resonate with the belief that a “high” level of immigration automatically translates to security dangers. And security dangers merit securitization – strictly with the “other” in mind, of course,26 thus tending towards deepening attachments to bordering as a way of deflecting danger and as a way of preserving social space. But the space in question is not only psycho-social: it is political, a contentious terrain, imbued with the feeling of “mine, not yours; ours, not theirs”.27 Social spaces reflect the cartographies of differentiation, a process of exclusion ma(r)king of the “other”. These spaces are organized through bordering practices to keep the “other” “in their place” or even to show that this category of individuals is “out of place”.28 As such, the control of social space via bordering is deeply implicit in current securitization moves across Europe.29
Bordering announces itself as a cultural force, resting upon what has been termed “socio-spatial consciousness”.30 This consciousness is deeply entrenched in the mind through language and narrativity, prompting our ways of seeing, naming and describing. At any rate, othering and bordering practices inform the way we conceptualize security and it informs the attention or visibility given to the existence of minority groups, preventing the “other” from straying into the space of “us” – that mythical and nostalgic community coloured by and reduced to a false sense of cultural cohesion. In themselves, these actions fail to realize that the “other” is not one discrete grouping and this succeeds to a large extent in restricting the formation of a solid sense of identity on the other’s side of the social divide.
Bordering, Immigration and the Politics of Fear
Fear appears to be the contemporary medicament modulating an attitudinal positioning against the ascendance of otherness. And for the most part, this fear, in this case the fear of immigrants and “mass migration” as a whole, stretches beyond fear of job loss and social benefit misuse. Being assumed to pursue “evil” agendas of collective action (stealing away “our” jobs, shopping the welfare state), immigrants are accused of threatening the moral order proper. They challenge the invisible lines wrapped around that order, which, with some sense of imagination, may be called society’s moral boundaries’.31 I should expressly add at this juncture that I regard fear as a hysteric performativity unflaggingly perilous in its bearings, groomed under the aegis of various states of exaggerated focus and enacted through a battery of codes, practices and performances. This (aggressive) understanding only makes sense, however, if we take into consideration the overarching calculus: that fear is employed to enforce spatial practices whose objective is mainly exclusive,32 creating moral panics that serve to keep out individuals and social groups – the “other” – whose presence has since become increasingly intrusive and aggravating. Yet, these exclusionary attitudes towards otherness are strongly influenced by the production of fear in discursive regimes, specifically discourses of danger that literally invent the perfect enemy by fixating on a logic of separation.33 In this manner, then, securitization constitutes a twofold response – to discourses of fear as well as to discourses of identity. There is good reason to suggest that fear is integral to what is in effect the bifurcation between “self” and “other” – the very core of identity/identification – since securitization and bordering acts are motivated primarily by fear. The fact, indeed, is that security/securitization is fundamental to the constitution of a normalized – or normalizing – schema of identity, this being because the constitution of identity and the practices of securitization coincide thoroughly.34
Indeed, security/insecurity discourses become guiding tropes, specifically invoking the fear of the “other” as the perfect alibi for her/his exclusion in the public sphere. Isolating currents from the work of David Campbell I would deploy the term “fear” in relation to the contradictory but hegemonic system of power produced in public discourse by security actors. This system goes a long way in helping to maintain the boundaries that separate “us” from the “other” on the basis of existential threat or danger.35 For the most part no doubt, in times of crisis fear becomes begins to perform a rigid bordering, otherizing and disorienting function, subsumed within the logic of a set of “our” vocabularies. This is because fear produces a model in which bordering practices can be designated for the imagined enemy community, becoming the principal referent for a mechanical mode of securitization, based in large part on dominant visions of societal security.
It is clear that the bordering framework spawned principally by the events of 11 September has highlighted the migrant “other” as important in current security politics because s/he is seen as the “enemy”, ultimately presenting not only a challenge to freedom from fear but a threat to societal (and, relatedly, national) identity. In this, the essence of threat is not so much represented as it is reflected in the performative space wherein the reality of the enemy has been/is being said. As Jacques Derrida helpfully points out:
The invention of the enemy is where the urgency and the anguish are; this invention is what would have to be brought off, in sum, to repoliticize, to put an end to depoliticization. Where the principal enemy, the ‘structuring’ enemy, seems nowhere to be found, where it ceases to be identifiable and thus reliable — that is, where the same phobia projects a mobile multiplicity of potential, interchangeable, metonymic enemies, in secret alliance with one another: conjuration.36
In the context of security, the immigrant becomes enemified, becoming the figure of otherness and sheer ambiguity, its overripe symptom, in fact. This is precisely the root of the urgency that Derrida mentions. Immigration, Ali Behdad suggests with some sense of circumspection in A Forgetful Nation, “is both a necessary mechanism of social control to legitimate state apparatuses and an essential contribution to the formation of national culture – paradoxically, since it is so often cast as a threat to national culture”.37 Jef Huysmans has noted that migration is generally regarded as an “existential threat” to society in discourses on immigration and asylum.38 And to enshroud the issue of migration in security vocabulary is to, in a sense, dramatize it, placing it on a platform through “which selves and others are constituted in a dialectic of inclusion and exclusion and in which this dialectic appears as a struggle for survival”.39 As Chantal Mouffe explains:
In the domain of collective identifications, where what is in question is the creation of a ‘we’ by the delimitation of ‘them’, the possibility always exists that this we/them relation will turn into a relation of the friend/enemy type; in other words, it can always become political in Schmitt’s understanding of the term. This can happen when the other, who was until then considered only under the mode of difference, begins to perceive as negating our identity, as putting into question our very existence. From that moment onwards, any type of we/them relation, be it religious, ethnic, national, economic or other, becomes the site of political antagonism.40
In line with the above point, it is clear that society is inclined towards prioritizing immigration as a primary security concern and even more towards evoking security languages to securitize the issue to the desired effect. Besides, I would suggest that the media also plays a decisive role in the collective speech act that engenders bordering. As with securitization, bordering practices are transmitted and perpetuated within the confines of language and social discourse, and in the universe of the media and discursivization. Indeed, we can take a cue from Baudrillard who states that “We are passing into a realm where events no longer truly take place … where they become lost in the void of news and information”.41
The violence of language – or “discourse” in post-contemporary idiom – is central to a politics of fear, one that is wrought by speech acts and the actors in media circles. As it is becoming all the more clearer, language is central to the production of meanings, to the specificities of identity, subjectivity and community, to the manipulation of thoughts, ideas and feelings and, inevitably, to the nature and form of securitizing moves.42 Chantal Mouffe has argued that the main objective of discourse is “to create specific forms of unity among different interests by relating them to a common project and by establishing a frontier to define the forces to be opposed, the ‘enemy’”.43 Following Norman Fairclough, these discourses:
…include not only representations of how things are, they can also be representations of how things could be, or ‘imaginaries’. They can represent or imagine interconnected webs of activities, instruments, objects, subjects in social relations, times and places, values, etc. As imaginaries, they may come to be enacted as actual webs of activities, subjects, times and places, values, etc. – they can become actual ways of acting and interacting.44
Obviously, the turbulent logics of discourse that circulate through television and other media about the “other” play an increasingly prominent role in the way securitization congeals. But even at that, these discourses do not have any meaning until the words that constitute them have been proclaimed and interpreted by the audience who consume them. Taken this way, it is possible to see that the discursive frames in place are not usually neutral and that they will necessarily alter their object, the one or group being represented, especially to make distinctions, on exclusive terms, between who “we” are and who “they” are. And with this, the ghost of meaning emerges, an extreme caricature. This is specifically what speech acts – or speech acting – tend to achieve. So much for the vitalism and expressivity of speech, the hyper-concrete nature of societal passions?
Largely, speech acts invoke and exploit representations of history, language, corporeality, literature, religion, and so on as means of magnifying differences, otherizing and validating the superiority of “us”. Invariably, as a total realm of appearances, a self-conscious scheme of the verbal mixed with the visual as well as the aural the speech act represents the culture of control and homogenization, an attempt to centralize and standardize knowledges about what things perceived as “real”. As Lorraine Code reasons, “Knowledge is constructed in positions of varying power and privilege, but knowers are accountable to a reality that is often quite precisely specifiable and for the products and consequences of their constructive activities”.45 Indeed, knowledges controlling speech acts, fear, securitization and otherization are inseparable. Nevertheless, we do seem to be struck by their complicities, even more by their propensity for instituting a logic of particularization. Speech acts, more particularly, are knowledge-producing simply because they involve the use of representations to create the effects of separation – such as the “space of nativism” vs. the “space of the settler” – in the realm of perception, thus producing mental geo-graphs of threat and danger, at least with reference to a set of societal/national/cultural values. Ultimately, deeply etched knowledges – myths and even fantasies – about the “other” are rendered natural, commonsensical, realistic and indisputable, represented in the media as truly worthy of attention.
Whilst exploiting the general sense of unease, speech actors present the need for a secure and exclusive, if exclusionary, societal identity to counter the logic of external danger on the other side of the established boundary.46 But, of course, in the end speech actors intercept the mediatized vision of reality mostly to fit their own visions and interests. Over time, speech actors and their listeners produce meaning in a process of mutual interaction.47 This demonstrates the meaningfulness of the relationship between utterance and action, ostensibly revealing how this two directly shape the ‘reading’ of meaning and the moulding of possible “outcomes”. Yet, it remains to be said that these speech actors, despite being “representatives” of society, are not always the ones who identify threats to identity but are most times the ones who proclaim them as such. They are the ones that securitize the issue in public discourse by pointing to the ways in which these threats, real or imagined, constitute a menace to the proper functioning – even survival – of society. What is more, because speech acts tend to lay far more emphasis on negative news like crime or violence that assail the other, they leave out information that may construe any sense of normalcy in their lives, thus defining and organizing what is “normal”, “right” or even “acceptable”. In addition to the commotion currently caused by terrorism, media discourses concerning societal security/identity may thus serve as a tool for exulting the superiority of “us”, and it is particularly being influenced by long-existing stereotypes of what society entails.
To be sure, stereotyping is a major mechanism for maintaining borderlines between “us” and “other”. Stereotypes close up on certain attributes about a group of people and reduce the targets to those characteristics. They fuel collective and specific fears, embolden socio-cultural/socio-spatial differences and separation and increase the chances of immigrant injustice being perpetrated. Stereotypical attitudes like most other constructions that act as social barriers are largely consolidated by big media influence – through written text, images, symbols and ideas. With stereotyping in place, the point of view is this: “we” are good, “we” are civilized and “cultured”; and conversely, “they” are sinister, barbaric and constitute security threats to “our” identity. But a set of throbbing questions retain their pure genesis: who defines the status – or parameters – of “us” and “them”? Who distinguishes? Whose side transcends, overshadows, overpowers? Confronted with this trajectory of thinking, it is important to recognize that stereotyping “has naturalizing, and mostly negative effects”, even if it might be tempting to understand things differently. It is important to realize that stereotypical attitudes merely reduce individuals to a “few ‘essential’ characteristics, which are represented as ‘original’ and unchanging”.48 In public discourse the idea of representations, consisting of words – but also images – can also be examined for the boundary lines they help draw.
Within the dominant rhetoric, stereotypical attitudes make the securitization of the identity of the “other” possible. It paves the way for otherness to stand for or embody other things than which they really are. Also, the exclusion of the other is invariably the exclusion of “foreignness” and the vices that come with it. This is perpetuated by visions of the other as the “dark” side of self. Powerful remarks on security/insecurity in relation to the other can and do blow out of proportion realities on ground and conflate one incident carried out by immigrants and the generality of the immigrant – or would be immigrant – community. Indeed, public opinion in the aftermath of crises such as the terrorist attacks of the 7 July 2005 in London provides a case in point. In this, the securitizing discourse since perpetuated the vortex of fear by creating a linking chain between threats and immigration, arguing that an increase in immigration from outside Europe, predominantly from the poor countries of the Mediterranean region and sub-Saharan Africa, constitutes a clear and present danger. As Barry Buzan puts it, issues such as those revolving around immigration, “become securitized when leaders (whether political, societal, or intellectual) begin to talk about them – and to gain the ear of the public and the state – in terms of existential threats against some valued referent object”.49 In other words, it follows that the securitizing discourse depends to a great extent on what has been inscribed into public discourse – shaped within what we might call a locus of fear.
The pressing question though is how to make the case that the other does not always represent a source of fear, but that the discourses built around them do. Fear has always been a part of the vocabulary of security.50 Yet, its exploitation is an exercise of power that underlies the new poetics of societal security. Fear, built largely from the threads of memory, when sufficiently exaggerated, can act as a capillary for activating a militarist kind of securitization. “Fear”, Kari Laitinen stresses, “cannot be ascribed only to the outside, and consequently, security is located not only inside”. Fear has never attained greater prevalence in European countries than it has at present. The present stereotypical, discriminatory and racist attitude towards immigrants is to a great extent configured by the presencing and the discursive framework of fear. The vaunted supposition is that immigrants and immigration equate automatically with social turbulence. Again, Kari Laitinen: “fear is not an objective condition … The creation of other, danger and enemy does not necessarily require actions, but sometimes mere awareness of the existence of differen[ce] is enough to raise the notion of otherness, and consequently, the threat of danger”.51 And boundaries have always played a critical role in narratives constructed on such existential configurations as threats or fears.52 Fear certainly does lead to alienation from the other and brings about a reified need for separateness, for securitization against the “other”. As such, the practice of security can in fact give rise to boundaries.53 In times of fear otherness tends to be constituted as being outside of societal discourse, an “outsider” mode of being. In these situations, difference is not just something that demands exclusion, it is seen as unrepentantly dissonant, an illegitimate mode of being – the embodiment of threat. And indeed, from the societal security angling, the moment “an issue is securitized, one says that this is of existential importance, and [that] if we do not react immediately against this threat we might cease to exist”.54
Importantly, then, identity is related to the act of bordering, both representing two sides of one coin – totally inseparable.55 Seen from the European perspective, bordering is taking its place not just as a tool for the configuration of identity but for the securitization of otherness. And there is a reason for this: bordering sets up the context for constructing and interpreting the limits of social space, with explicitly marginalizing consequences, constantly evolving to fit the ever prevailing realities of the practice of security as well as the need for similarity, continuity and, perhaps, permanence of identity and societal symbolization. Since it follows rather intimately the contours of threat and danger, bordering takes on the ability to perpetuate and strengthen the case for otherization and securitization. With this new security problematic centred on the other in the offing, we are presented with an opportunity to confront and rethink profoundly the “either-or” construct which gained new momentum as a convenient – if generic – logic in the aftermath of the events of 11 September 2001.
Now it is clear that the idea of security cannot exist without invoking a sense of insecurity. Indeed, security and insecurity both form two sides of a coin, and the meaning of either is only instituted in relation to a particularized “other”. Insecurity is meaningless without being situated in a context deeply cognizant of the condition of fear, real or imagined. In the end, then, the meaning of security lies not in “insecurity” so much as in what was said to make people “insecure”. Hence, in this context insecurity must be studied at two levels: as a function of circulating fear in public discourse about the other and as a spatial conquest waged against the other by “us”. Indeed, the way people perceive, picture, imagine and speak of others in the concrete and mental spaces of everyday life is key to the discursive process of otherization which enforces the marks of securitization, allowing for it to gain navigatory space. And, to be sure, if the issue of security is “discursivized” by routinely and reflexively employing homeland-making statements, or speech acting, such as “we”, “our”, “this” country, “here” or “society”, as opposed to “them”, “they”, “their”, “foreign” and so on, it probably indicates that it has been securitized. Once this has been done, the securitized is turned into a self-constituting, self-reflexive entity – transformed into “reality”. This is specifically because the effect of “discursivization” is only successful in relation to the level of alarm the words heard are ribbed with.
From the above it is easy to see that security – and as a consequence insecurity – are heavily centred upon the concept of securitization.56 Securitization is itself a boundary-producing phenomenon and has become a symbolic element in the legitimization of bordering acts. Because securitization discourses can be used to claim that immigration has proliferated, that it represents a new threat states have to deal with, they also help to create a vision in which the “sovereignty” of “us” becomes even more absolute, with actions afoot to dramatically uphold initiatives that look disarmingly like non-politics. Securitization, as such, is not a forward movement towards a catalysis of security. Rather, it is a violation of the difference that orients the very idea of otherness. Securitization speaks the language of absolutism, of fundamentalism. It attempts to protect a way of life and an “identity”, employing strategies to secure what has, in fact, gone unsecured for far too long. This intrinsic dichotomy manifests itself as a challenge to the other’s own sense of ontological balance.
IV. Conclusion: Where To Go From Here
[W]here there is no longer anything, there the Other must come to be. We are no longer living the drama of otherness. We are living the psychodrama of otherness, just as we are living the psychodrama of “sociality”, the psychodrama of sexuality, the psychodrama of the body – and the melodrama of all the above, courtesy of analytic metadiscourses. Otherness has become socio-dramatic, semio-dramatic, melodramatic.57
Today securitization is at work. It has just not been identified properly enough, even if one sees it at work creating a seizure, seizing, besieging, taking captives – in “smooth” acts of spellbinding, so to speak. To summarize, the highpoint of my musing has been that the securitization of society and identity is merely a diagnostic function that masks a (re)writing process of the psychobiography of the other. Indeed, the events of 11 September and 7 July became a major catalyst to the technical ambitiousness of discourse in attempting to keep the migrant “other” at bay – to a pandemic level too! Or is there a better explanation for the particularly slow and discriminatory asylum and refugee application processing in most European Union states post-11 September and the series of cataclysmic episodes attached to the events? Of course, the consequences of complex bordering practices and fear, yoked like serfs to a cart, play out in a variety of ways.
In line with my preceding argument I would like to suggest, firstly, that a limited view of security or even identity be problematized – because over time, a limited approach to both concepts can be destructive of otherness. Secondly, because it is in times of fear and uncertainty that the migrant other becomes the focus of securitization I propose a movement towards debordering processes as a move towards desecuritization – in effect, redirecting the gaze of securitization from fear of societal insecurity to engagement with facts about the banality of unnecessary fear. This is because securitization measures whipped up in times of fear are more often than not mechanisms for merely reproducing dangerous unspokens that swing on a static axis of otherization. Without a doubt, speech acts that toe the line of societal security, however nested in terms of identity, conceal ever so thinly the politics of fear already pervading the public sphere and the struggle over social space not as a deliberately overt exclusionary tactic but as a systematically covert one in which effects have a pulsating effect. And as Baudrillard cleverly quips “because effect stands in for the cause, we have arrived at a point where there are no longer any causes, all we are left with are effects. The world presents itself to us, effectively”.58
Certainly, though, it is not the drive for societal security in European states that is the bane but the otherizing and securitizing activities that follow the goal. But the particularization of securitization breeds fear and then becomes a vicious cycle altogether. In its most showy discursive regalia, the powerful social and political effects of securitization across the continent are driven to matchless heights by the fear of the other and it through this condensed level of threat-consciousness that authorities can shape the beliefs and conduct of subjects – on the basis of a putative common good or at least the fear of the obliteration of “society”. Again and again, the securitization of migration actually does more to reify identity and to manifest the manifold products of related matters built on the back of “society” – a domain which, having been “invaded” by the other, is seen as impossible to (re)claim without a possessive position. A crucial issue is the deconstruction of boundary-strengthening devices such as speech acts, which have effectively situated the other at the centre of securitization and opened her/him to the vagaries of oppression and discrimination. An even more crucial issue is the desecuritization of the other and the securing of her/his identity within the social, cultural and political arenas. Desecuritization – or the decentring, in a sense, of security – can be considered an antidote to the exclusionary focus of securitization, particularly because it begs the question of what the core functions and foci of security are. In this case, the desecuritization system I propose becomes far more interested in the potential danger of the individual other, given that the physicality of the “other” is what forces us to recognize that securitization further defines the space in which the self can relate with the fact of otherness not just in the other but in its own self. Indeed for the self a balanced persona is impossible to construct when its relation to exteriority is written off, totally cut off from the wholeness of human intersubjective experience, since exteriorization would ultimately entail a movement away from the stereotype of dangerousness.59 The desecuritization approach that I favour is simple, inward looking: enforcing the right of the “other” to an identity built on the back of otherness.
As I see it, a balanced view of otherness is always located between an affirmation of “I” and a recognition of the “non-I”. Yet, the idea, I believe, is not to convert the other to self – to “I” – but to co-exist with her/him in a relationship of understanding. The key to dealing with the kinetic tension between fixity and flux, then, is to literally transgress every limit of social spatiality by tearing down the walls of exclusiveness. If we do not we will remain constricted by rigid boundaries, blind to the reality of our connection to the “other” side. If we do, we must be prepared to cross to the other side; we must necessarily cross frontiers, no matter how burdensome the process might be, such that we may spin new levels of intimacy/connection that transcend our definitions of I/non-I. This would nevertheless require the opening of bounded spaces of freedom for both “natives” and immigrants – for “natives” allowing the freedom of difference devoid of fear of the other, for immigrants the freedom to not be the feared and the space to exercise otherness.
Security, then, must be trained on affirming the identity of the “other”, to assert her/his rights and to curtail the public expression of discrimination manifested resplendently in an atmosphere laden with fear. It must also allow discourses that lead to different forms of exclusion and marginalization of the “other” to fall under the axe of desecuritization. To ask, therefore, whether securitization has a prime target is also to ask whether it has a direction, an ethos. It is this mode of questioning that makes it possible to navigate new coordinates and parameters of security, especially to mediate the often noisome relations between self and other. And it is the first step to allowing the external space of control get reconnected with the internal space that effectively challenges the bifurcatory locus of control, the mechanisms that perpetuate a discontinuum between “us” and “other”. It is the step to questioning the false nostalgia that emerges with regards to “society” – that misplaced longingness that in turn produces an ethically bankrupt sense of “awareness” about the present.
The effect of reasoning in terms of Baudrillardian thought is twofold: on the one hand, to see that the curse of the securitization culture is the impossibility of accepting a radical counter-security culture, and, on the other hand, to find the capability to resist the perverse effects of exclusionism. I would say that there is the possibility of creating an alternative not enclosed in monistic hyperbole or a catastrophic shroud of fear. To be sure, this must take off with crystal clear understandings of Baudrillard’s astute observation:
Our all-too-beautiful strategies of history, knowledge, and power are erasing themselves. It is not because they have failed (they have, perhaps, succeeded too well) but because in their progression they reached a dead point where their energy was inverted and they devoured themselves, giving way to a pure and empty, or crazed and ecstatic form.60
Secondly, this would be achievable to the extent that differences are not magnified to the point that the otherness of the “other” is criminalized. In this “new” era, progress in this regard can only be achieved when enforcement mechanisms are imbued with otherness in mind. For me a respectful consideration of aspects of Baudrillard’s writings on identity throws into question some of the cherished assumptions of security and the securitization of the other/otherness. Certainly Baudrillard’s vision is stark. So is the counter-vision that emerges from thinking through his thoughts. Except, of course, that in its very starkness going the way of the latter produces, time and again, a level of intellectual outrage that is inherently and critically productive – that is, a way to break free from the side-effects of the vision in the “real world”. On a fundamental level, we ought to listen to Baudrillard when he states that “reciprocity never ends: every discrimination is only ever imaginary and is forever cut across by symbolic reciprocity, for better or worse”.61 When we do we’ll realize that the micro-mechanics of securitization forgets the place of the other in the constitution of the whole. Baudrillard of course problematizes things one more level, effectively reminding us that what we face is very difficult, for in learning to live with each other [we are all “other” to each “other”], we must simultaneously keep alive that which is irreducible:
All that seeks to be singular and incomparable, and does not enter into the play of difference, must be exterminated. Either physically or by integration into the differential game where all singularities vanish into the universal field. So it is with primitive cultures, for example: their myths have become comparable under the aegis of structural analysis. Their signs have become exchangeable under the umbrella of a universal culture, in exchange for their right to difference. Whether denied by racism or neutralized by differential culturalism, those cultures were faced, at any event, with a final solution. This reconciliation of all antagonistic forms in the name of consensus and conviviality is the worst thing we can do. We must reconcile nothing. We must keep open the otherness of forms, the disparity between terms; we must keep alive the forms of the irreducible.62
Here lies our hope and our greatest challenge as we enter the third millennium.
About the Author
Akinbola E. Akinwumi is a research student in the Geography Department, The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom. His recent investigations explore interconnections between critical social/cultural theory and various critical geographies.
1 – Jean Baudrillard. The Transparency of Evil: Essays on Extreme Phenomena (c 1990). Translated by James Benedict. London and New York: Verso, 1993:132.
2 – Jean Baudrillard. Screened Out. Translated by Chris Turner. New York: Verso, 2002:37.
3 – Eiki Berg and Henk van Houtum. ‘Prologue: A Border is Not a Border. Writing and Reading Borders in Space’ in Eiki Berg and Henk van Houtum (Eds.), Routing Borders Between Territories, Discourses and Practices. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003:9.
4 – Jean Baudrillard. Impossible Exchange, New York: Verso, 2001:142.
5 – To be sure, in keeping with its origins in the Copenhagen School the term ‘securitization’ here is deployed to mean threat construction in the face of existential threats. One of the School’s founders, Ole Wæver, notes that a proper look at the problem of securitization is only possible ‘if we simply give up the assumption that security is, necessarily, a positive phenomenon’. ‘Desecuritization’, meanwhile, is the undoing of migration as a three-dimensional existential threat – threat to the welfare state, to the public order and to national identity. See Ole Wæver. ‘Securitization and Desecuritization’ in Ronnie Lipshutz (Ed.), On Security New York: Columbia University Press, 1995:57.
6 – Jean Baudrillard. Impossible Exchange. Translated by Chris Turner. London: Verso, 2001:100.
7 – Jean Baudrillard. ‘The Ecstasy of Communication’ in The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays in Postmodern Culture. Hal Foster (Ed.), Seattle: Bay Press, 1983:130.
8 – Jean Baudrillard. The Spirit of Terrorism. Translated by Chris Turner. Verso: London and New York, 2002:62.
9 – As Ole Wæver further points out, security is a speech act – not essentially because it exists as such in reality. In essence, security is not ‘a reality prior to language’. Ole Wæver. ‘Securitization and Desecuritization’ in Ronnie Lipshutz (Ed.), On Security New York: Columbia University Press, 1995:55). Hence, it is a creation of language, in text and talk, such that what is (being) uttered, the manner in which it is (being) uttered, and what is hidden in the realm of the unspoken are of utmost value in effective security analyses.
10 – In analyzing the false inside/outside logic of differentiation, Richard Ashley states: ‘the Cartesian practice … imposes the expectation that there shall be an absolute boundary between “inside” and “outside”, where the former term is privileged. The inside is taken to be the space of identity and continuity – the privileged space of the self …. [It] is a sharply bounded identity – an identity that is hierarchically ordered, that has a unique center of decision presiding over a coherent self and that is demarcated from and opposition to an external space of difference and change’. Richard K. Ashley. ‘Living on Borderlines: Man, Poststructuralism and War’ in James Der Derian and Michael Shapiro (Eds.), International/Intertextual Relations: Postmodern Readings of World Politics. Toronto: Lexington, 1989:290. See also Jean Baudrillard. The Ecstasy of Communication. Translated by Bernard and Caroline Schutze, Sylvere Lotringer (Ed.). New York: Semiotext(e).
11 – Jean Baudrillard. ‘TV Fantasies’ in Screened Out. New York: Verso, 2002:190, which originally appeared in Liberation, 20 May, 1996.
12 – Interestingly, Barbara Morehouse has described boundaries as ‘material and metaphorical spatializations of difference’, adding that ‘in their most basic forms, [they] locate difference through establishing identity and mediating flows’. Barbara J. Morehouse. ‘Theoretical Approaches to Border Spaces and Identities’ in Vera Pavlakovich-Kochi, Barbara J. Morehouse and Doris Wastl-Walter, (Eds.), Challenged Borderlands: Transcending Political and Cultural Boundaries. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004:20. While postcolonial scholar Ali Behdad focuses mainly on the border in non-metaphorical terms, his understanding of it is instructive when taken together with Morehouse’s description. The border, he suggests, ‘provides a privileged locus where the state’s disciplinary practices can be articulated and exercised, practices that are minor, modest, and detailed but whose overall effects are significant in normalizing an exclusive and exclusionary form of national identity’. Ali Behdad. A Forgetful Nation: On Immigration and Cultural Identity in the United States. Durham: Duke University Press, 2005:145.
13 – For instance, prior to the violence in France’s banlieues in November 2005, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy had made provocative statements that clearly evoked a picture of bordering – a classic ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ picture. Repeatedly, Sarkozy had been pressurizing the police to take firm measures against ‘troublemakers’, setting sights in this on undocumented immigrants – ‘the scum’ that constituted grave danger on France’s values and identity, miscreants who must be ‘washed out of the housing estates’. See Colin Falconer. ‘Why did the banlieues burn?’ Radical Philosophy March/April 2006. http://www.radicalphilosophy.com/print.asp?editorial_id=20931. (link no longer active 2019)
14 – It is identity-speak that right-wing demagogues such as Jean-Marie Le Pen have tapped into repeatedly over the years, equating trouble and crime with immigrants. As Baudrillard has remarked, ‘the fissures of the banlieues are merely symptoms of the dissociation of a society at odds with itself’. Jean Baudrillard. ‘The Pyres of Autumn’. New Left Review 37 Jan/Feb 2006 5-7. See also Jean Baudrillard. ‘The Riots of Autumn Or The Other That Will Not Be Mothered‘. International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, Volume 3, Number 2 (July, 2006).
15 – While in the literature Wæver originally used the term ‘identity security’, Buzan’s coinage of ‘societal security’ since gained precedence in terms of usage. See particularly Ole Wæver, Barry Buzan, Morten Kelstrup and Pierre Kemaitre. Identity, Migration and the New Security Agenda in Europe. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993.; Ole Wæver. ‘Securitization and Desecuritization’ in Ronnie Lipshutz (Ed.), On Security New York: Columbia University Press, 1995.
16 – Bill McSweeney. ‘Identity and Security: Buzan and the Copenhagen School’, Review of International Studies 22/1, 1996:81-93.
17 – Ole Wæver, Barry Buzan, Morten Kelstrup and Pierre Kemaitre. Identity, Migration and the New Security Agenda in Europe. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993.
18 – Lest I be misunderstood, I should note expressly that I use the term ‘otherization’ to capture the social constructedness of the ‘other’ and also to describe the politics of acceptance/rejection within society.
19 – Gilles Deleuze. Difference and Repetition, New York: Columbia University, 1994:51, 50.
20 – Jean Baudrillard. Illusion of the End, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994:108-9.
21 – As Victoria Grace points out, ‘The ontology of objects is marked by a logic of ambivalence; their “being” is never absolute, is always ambivalent, continually transformed, as are the social relations within which they are constituted and within which they circulate. The same can be said for individuals. Any notion of “identity” is entirely foreign and unintelligible within this frame, as is any universal point of reference for meaning, value, or being’. Victoria M. Grace. ‘Baudrillard and the Meaning of Meaning’, IJBS Volume 1, Number 1 (January 2004).
22 – For more on this subject see David Newman and Anssi Paasi. ‘Fences and Neighbours in the Postmodern World: Boundary Narratives in Political Geography’, Progress in Human Geography 22/2, 1998:186-207.
23 – Paul Ganster and David E. Lorey. ‘Introduction’ in Paul Ganster and David E. Lorey (Eds.), Borders and Border Politics in a Globalizing World. Lanham: SR Books, 2005:xiv.
24 – Eiki Berg and Henk van Houtum. ‘Prologue: A Border is Not a Border. Writing and Reading Borders in Space’ in Eiki Berg and Henk van Houtum (Eds.), Routing Borders Between Territories, Discourses and Practices. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003:2.
25 – Ken Booth. ‘Security and Self: Reflections of a Fallen Realist’ in Keith Krause and Michael C. Williams (Eds.), Critical Security Studies: Concepts and Cases. London: UCL Press, 1997:88.
26 – Ronnie Lipshutz. ‘On Security’ in Ronnie Lipshutz (Ed.), On Security. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995.
27 – Mabel Berezin. ‘Territory, Emotion and Identity: Spatial Recalibration in a New Europe’ in Mabel Berezin and Martin Schain (Eds.), Europe without Borders: Remapping Territory, Citizenship and Identity in a Transnational Age. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.
28 – See Tim Cresswell. In Place/Out of Place. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996; David Sibley. Geographies of Exclusion: Society and Difference in the West. London: Routledge, 1995. See also Ricky Lee Allen’s elegant work on space theory, who, drawing on the work of David Sibley, suggests that ‘[t]hose who have the power to create dominant versions of conceived space see the world as a fairly congruent unless some “Others” disrupt the purity and orderliness of their domain’. Ricky Lee Allen. ‘The Socio-Spatial Making and Marking of “Us”: Toward a Critical Postmodern Spatial Theory of Difference and Community’, Social Identities 5/3, 1999:270.
29 – Editor’s note: Baudrillard also points out how those “othered” return to take over spaces from which they are excluded, grafittists in particular. In Symbolic Exchange and Death (c 1976) he writes: “The graffitists themselves come from the territorial order. They territorialize decoded urban spaces — a particular street, wall or district comes to life through them, becoming a collective territory again. They do not confine themselves to the ghetto, they export the ghetto through all the arteries of the city, they invade the white city and reveal that it is the real ghetto in the Western world” (New York: Verso, 1993:79).
30 – See Anssi Paasi. Territories, Boundaries and Consciousness: The Changing Geographies of the Finnish-Russian Border. Chichester: John Wiley, 1996.
31 – Roos Pijpers. ‘“Help! The Poles are Coming”: Narrating a Contemporary Moral Panic’. Geografiska Annaler 88B/1, 2006: 93.
32 – John Gold and George Revill. ‘Exploring Landscapes of Fear’, Capital and Class, Vol. 80; 27-50, 2003.
33 – See Roos Pijpers. ‘“Help! The Poles are Coming”: Narrating a Contemporary Moral Panic’. Geografiska Annaler 88B/1, 2006: 91-103.
34 – See David Campbell. Writing Security: United States Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1992.
35 – Ibid.
36 – Jacques Derrida. The Politics of Friendship. Translated by G. Collins. London: Verso, 1997:84.
37 – Ali Behdad. A Forgetful Nation: On Immigration and Cultural Identity in the United States. Durham: Duke University Press, 2005:22.
38 – Jef Huysmans. ‘The Question of the Limit: Desecuritization and the Aesthetics of Horror in Political Realism’, Millennium 27/3, 1998:569-589.
39 – Jef Huysmans. ‘Migrants as a Security Problem: Dangers of ‘Securitizing’ Societal Issues’ in Robert Miles and Dietrich Thränhardt (Eds.), Migration and European Integration: the Dynamics of Inclusion and Exclusion. London: Pinter, 1995:63.
40 – Chantal Mouffe. The Return of the Political, London: Verso, 1993:2-3.
41 – Jean Baudrillard. ‘Virtuality and Events: The Hell of Power’. IJBS Volume 3, Number 2 (July 2006).
42 – Barry Buzan, Ole Wæver and Jaap de Wilde. Security: A New Framework for Analysis. London: Lynne Rienner, 1998.
43 – Chantal Mouffe. The Return of the Political, London: Verso, 1993:50, my emphasis.
44 – Norman Fairclough. ‘”Political Correctness”: The Politics of Culture and Language’, Discourse and Society 14/1, 2003:23; original emphasis.
45 – Lorraine Code. Rational Spaces: Essays on Gendered Locations. New York: Routledge, 1995:196.
46 – Indeed, right-wing extremists with unflinching anti-immigration agendas, including individuals such as Jean-Marie Le Pen of the Front populaire in France, can be rightly categorized as speech – or better still securitizing – actors.
47 – I am of the view that speech actors play a significant role in the process, not just because the act of pronouncing ‘grim’ realities to subjects is itself a source of power or control but particularly because deep down inside the subjects may actually want the pronounced to be so. In fact, I propose as a hypothesis that the audience, themselves caught up in the enmeshing interplay of society, fear and security, go a long way not only to determine the overall bounds of securitization but also its relative weight in influencing the rigidness of boundaries constructed against an external other. But not independently of the securitizing actors, since the activities of the latter embody a residual, objectifying system of antagonistic otherization which tends to transform to an unprecedented degree a dialectical construct: that of actuality/falsity in public memory. Notably, as Buzan, Wæver and de Wilde have shown, for the speech act, and thus securitization, to be successful, it must be collective and so has to be corroborated by the audience. Hence, it is not decided exclusively by the speaker. Barry Buzan, Ole Wæver and Jaap de Wilde. Security: A New Framework for Analysis. London: Lynne Rienner, 1998.
48 – Anke Strüver. ‘Presenting Representations: On the Analysis of Narratives and Images Along the Dutch-German Border’ in Eiki Berg and Henk van Houtum (Eds.), Routing Borders Between Territories, Discourses and Practices. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003:165. In his important book Stereotyping Michael Pickering notes that ‘Public representations have the power to select, arrange and prioritise certain assumptions and ideas about different kinds of people, bringing some to the fore … while casting others into the social margins’. Michael Pickering. Stereotyping: The Politics of Representation. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001:xiii.
49 – Barry Buzan. ‘Rethinking Security after the Cold War’, Cooperation and Conflict 32/1, 1997:14.
50 – See Barry Buzan. People, States and Fear: An Agenda for International Security Studies in the Post-Cold War Era. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991.
51 – Kari Laitinen. ‘Post-Cold War Security Borders: A Conceptual Approach’ in Eiki Berg and Henk van Houtum (Eds.), Routing Borders Between Territories, Discourses and Practices. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003:29.
52 – See Anssi Paasi. ‘Boundaries as Social Practice and Discourse: The Finnish-Russian Border’ in Paul Ganster and David E. Lorey (Eds.), Borders and Border Politics in a Globalizing World. Lanham: SR Books, 2005.
53 – Alina Hosu. ‘Post-Cold War Romania: A Study in the Construction of Security and Identity’ in Eiki Berg and Henk van Houtum (Eds.), Routing Borders Between Territories, Discourses and Practices. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003.
54 – Ibid.:53, emphasis added.
55 – See David Newman and Anssi Paasi. ‘Fences and Neighbours in the Postmodern World: Boundary Narratives in Political Geography’, Progress in Human Geography 22/2, 1998:186-207; Jouni Häkli and David H. Kaplan. ‘Learning from Europe? Borderlands in Social and Geographical Context’ in David H. Kaplan and Jouni Häkli (Eds.), Boundaries and Place: European Borderlands in Geographical Context. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002.
56 – Ole Wæver, Barry Buzan, Morten Kelstrup and Pierre Kemaitre. Identity, Migration and the New Security Agenda in Europe. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993.
57 – Jean Baudrillard. ‘The Melodrama of Difference (Or, The Revenge of the Colonized)’. IJBS Volume 3, Number 1 (January 2006).
58 – Jean Baudrillard. ‘Hystericizing the Millennium’. www.uta.edu/english/apt/collab/texts/hystericizing.html. (link no longer active 2019)
59 – Michel Foucault. ‘Truth and Juridical Forms’ in J.D. Faubion (Ed.), Power, Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984, Volume Three. Translated by Robert Hurley. New York: New Press, 2000:57.
60 – Jean Baudrillard. The Ecstasy of Communication. Translated by Bernard and Caroline Schutze, Sylvere Lotringer (Ed.). New York: Semiotext(e), 1983:86.
61 – Jean Baudrillard. Symbolic Exchange and Death (c 1976). Translated by Iain Hamilton Grant. London: Sage, 1993:168.
62 – Jean Baudrillard. The Perfect Crime. New York: Verso, 1996:123.