This project outlines an approach to critiquing and reconstructing security practices that occur in our name.
RMIT Research Support
It begins with a brief conceptual history of security as used in modern states, with special emphasis given to the concept of ‘national security’ as developed in the context of the early Cold War. This leads to a critical appraisal of contemporary security practice, with special attention given to the emergence of border and homeland security in Australia and the United States, and the forms of subjectivity it both provoked and defended. The entailments from this appraisal will then be taken up to develop a theorization of security which emphasises the inter-activity of the conduct of security professionals and the proliferating figures and objects they seek to serve.
The innovation of this approach is twofold in its intent; it is both critical and normative. Critically, Socialising Security seeks to defamiliarise a critical and unreflexive understanding of security practices through close analytic attention to the ways in which security is incorporated into the identity, ethics, and operative paradigms of invested states and individuals.
This project will move from the problems and contradictions thrown up by this process to develop workable models for security’s re-socialisation. This will be done through a constructive synthesis of prevalent concepts and practices of security with works within political theory from a diverse range of philosophers, including William Connolly (on pluralist ethics of intersubjectivity), Phillip Pettit (on republican freedom and incorporation), and Gerald Frug (on architectures of governance).
Chief investigators: Robin Cameron and Peter Chambers