Rhetorics of Insecurity: Belonging and Violence in the Neoliberal Era

Rhetorics of Insecurity: Belonging and Violence in the Neoliberal Era

Rhetorics of Insecurity: Belonging and Violence in the Neoliberal Era

Rhetorics of Insecurity: Belonging and Violence in the Neoliberal Era

Synopsis

In Rhetorics of Insecurity, Zeynep Gambetti and Marcial Godoy-Anativia bring together a select group of scholars to investigate the societal ramifications of the present-day concern with security in diverse contexts and geographies. The essays claim that discourses and practices of security actually breed insecurity, rather than merely being responses to the latter. By relating the binary of security/insecurity to the binary of neoliberalism/neoconservatism, the contributors to this volume reveal the tensions inherent in the proliferation of individualism and the concurrent deployment of techniques of societal regulation around the globe. Chapters explore the phenomena of indistinction, reversal of terms, ambiguity, and confusion in security discourses. Scholars of diverse backgrounds interpret the paradoxical simultaneity of the suspension and enforcement of the law through a variety of theoretical and ethnographic approaches, and they explore the formation and transformation of forms of belonging and exclusion. Ultimately, the volume as a whole aims to understand one crucial question: whether securitized neoliberalism effectively spells the end of political liberalism as we know it today. Zeynep Gambetti is Associate Professor of Political Theory at Bogazici University, Istanbul. Marcial Godoy-Anativia is Associate Director of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at New York University, where he serves as coeditor of its online journal e-misférica.

Excerpt

Zeynep Gambetti and Marcial Godoy-Anativia

The twenty-first century started off by undoing the promise of a New World Order. Announced by George Bush Sr. in the 1990s, the new order was expected to involve a multipolar world in which human rights, democracy, and peace would prevail. the one that is being delivered instead seems set to undermine the universality of rights and the legitimacy and desirability of popular rule. War, social strife, and structural violence are still haunting the planet. But so are protests that no longer take the visionary paths offered by a century and a half of working-class struggle. Occupy groups and the indignados of numerous countries are more anarchic than orderly, more spontaneous and local than any International can encompass. This double movement away from “order” elevates the categories of risk (Beck), control (Deleuze), precarity (Butler), thanatopolitics (Bauman, Mbembe), or state of exception (Agamben) to the level of ordinariness. in line with the dissolution of previous certainties, “security” seems to have become a preoccupying concern. in the words of one of its most vocal theorists, the “ending of the Cold War has created a remarkable fluidity and openness in the whole pattern and quality of international relations” (Buzan 1991: 432). Corresponding to the ambiguity that marks the dissolution of former institutional and material structures, “security” now takes on unexpected twists and instigates novel practices.

The present volume is not so much about how we ended up here as about what it means to be here. It is not, however, a mere extension of so-called security studies in the domain of international relations. We attempt, rather, to explore the ethnographic ramifications of the concern with security in . . .

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