Critique of Security

Critique of Security

Mark Neocleous
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 256
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctt1r270k
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  • Book Info
    Critique of Security
    Book Description:

    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•

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3232-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-10)

    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...

  5. Chapter 1 ‘THE SUPREME CONCEPT OF BOURGEOIS SOCIETY’: LIBERALISM AND THE TECHNIQUE OF SECURITY
    (pp. 11-38)

    There’s a question much loved by political theorists, widely used in trying to get their students into political theory, and it usually goes like this: ‘Liberty and Equality: Must they Conflict?’. If you put it to students now, they might think there’s something just a little odd about this question. Surely, if there is any question to be asked, it is whether liberty and security must conflict. Shifting the question this way would be a reasonable reflection of the extent to which security has come to the fore as perhaps the pre-eminent issue. One can now go for weeks or...

  6. Chapter 2 EMERGENCY? WHAT EMERGENCY?
    (pp. 39-75)

    Since the event that has quickly passed into the English language as ‘9/11’, countless individuals have been imprisoned without charge or trial at Guantánamo Bay, at the detention centre at Bagram in Afghanistan and at Abu Ghraib in Iraq. It is clear that while in detainment some have been tortured and all have been subject to inhumane treatment. Others have been shipped to prisons, penitentiaries and police stations in countries known for their human rights abuses. At the same time, liberal democracies have also devised new and unusual methods to discipline and punish, such as the ‘control orders’ recently introduced...

  7. Chapter 3 FROM SOCIAL TO NATIONAL SECURITY: ON THE FABRICATION OF ECONOMIC ORDER
    (pp. 76-105)

    In the days leading up to the declaration of a new national emergency on 14 September 2001, the Bush administration made it clear that the rationale behind any response to the attacks on the World Trade Center was security: all the talk was of a ‘heightened security alert’ and the introduction of new emergency measures in the name of ‘national security’. But this begs a question: what is ‘national security’?

    It is well known that following World War II a range of civilian and military heads of different parts of the US state were brought together before a Senate committee...

  8. Chapter 4 SECURITY, IDENTITY, LOYALTY
    (pp. 106-141)

    On 26 October 2001, President Bush signed into law a rather substantial bill, running to over 340 pages, specifying roles for some 40 federal agencies and carrying 21 legal amendments, called the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act. The Act changed criminal law and immigration procedures to allow people to be held indefinitely once charged, altered intelligence-gathering procedures to allow for the monitoring of people’s reading habits through surveillance of library and bookshop records, and introduced other new measures to allow for greater access to property, e-mail, computers, and financial and...

  9. Chapter 5 THE COMPANY AND THE CAMPUS
    (pp. 142-186)

    ‘It was one of the worst things I’ve seen in my lifetime’, commented Carlton Brown, a commodities broker, about what he witnessed on 11 September 2001. ‘All I could think about was getting them the hell out’, he says. ‘Before the building collapsed, all we could think about was, let’s get those clients out’. Out of the buildings about to collapse, presumably? No: Brown was concerned about clients becoming trapped in the gold market, which he knew would close once the World Trade Center towers collapsed. As the planes were hitting the towers ‘the first thing you thought about was...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 187-242)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 243-247)