Critique of Security

Critique of Security

Critique of Security

Critique of Security

Synopsis

'Challenging and accessible, this book opens up new political questions as it describes the new ways in which life has become more comprehensively securitised.'Professor Michael Dillon, Politics and International Relations, Lancaster UniversityThe contemporary political imagination and social landscape are saturated by the idea of security and thoughts of insecurity. This saturation has been accompanied by the emergence of a minor industry generating ideas about how to define and redefine security, how to defend and improve it, how to widen and deepen it, how to civilise and democratise it. In this book Mark Neocleous takes an entirely different approach and offers the first fully fledged critique of security. Challenging the common assumption that treats security as an unquestionable good, Neocleous explores the ways in which security has been deployed towards a vision of social order in which state power and liberal subjectivity have been inscribed into human experience. Treating security as a political technology of liberal order-building, engaging with the work of a wide range of thinkers, and ranging provocatively across a range of subject areas - security studies and international political economy; history, law and political theory; international relations and historical sociology - Neocleous explores the ways in which individuals, classes and the state have been shaped and ordered according to a logic of security. In so doing, he uncovers the violence which underlies the politics of security, the ideological circuit between security and emergency powers, and the security fetishism dominating modern politics. Key features:
• Makes original use of diverse historical materials concerning the question of security
• Provides a distinctive account of theoretical debates about security within the tradition of social and political theory
• Gives a genuinely inter-disciplinary account of security, moving between political thought, history, sociology, and la

Excerpt

The forces of law and order have to be reminded about life and its
sanctity. Don't let the bastards off the hook. They try to act like
we arenay real live human beings. They arenay trained in seeing
us properly, us people I am talking about, these Security fuckers
man it is trained out of them.

James Kelman, You Have to Be Careful in the Land of the Free (2004)

On 4 August 1999, the Atlanta Journal reported that a flight from Atlanta to Turkey the previous day had been prevented from taking off by the fbi, with all 241 passengers forced to leave the plane. a huge 'security operation' then ensued: passengers questioned; luggage unloaded and matched to passengers; the plane searched by humans and dogs; one man detained. the reason for all this was that the detained man was thought to be 'a potential threat to national security'. and the reason he was thought to be a potential threat to security was that the man, who was eventually released, had paid for his ticket in cash. a few years later, following the introduction of yet more stringent 'security measures' as part of the global 'war on terror', a woman was arrested under the uk Prevention of Terrorism Act for walking on a public cycle path in the harbour area of Dundee. the official reason given for the arrest was that 'the woman was in a secure area which forbids people walking', and so she was 'seen as a security risk', although the authorities conceded that if she had been on a bike security would not have been threatened. Bizarre as it may seem, the woman's arrest was probably consistent with the more general advice given to businesses and universities by the British security service MI5 on how they might help in the 'war on terror'. the advice included 'ensuring that everything has a place and that items are returned to that place', and 'pruning all vegetation and trees, especially near . . .

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