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Rhetorics of Insecurity

Rhetorics of Insecurity: Belonging and Violence in the Neoliberal Era

Zeynep Gambetti
Marcial Godoy-Anativia
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 268
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  • Book Info
    Rhetorics of Insecurity
    Book Description:

    InRhetorics 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 Gambettiis Associate Professor of Political Theory at Bogazici University, Istanbul.Marcial Godoy-Anativiais Associate Director of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at New York University, where he serves as coeditor of its online journal e-misferica.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-2548-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. INTRODUCTION. States of (In)security: Coming to Terms with an Erratic Terrain
    (pp. 1-19)
    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...

  5. CHAPTER ONE Free in the Forest: Popular Neoliberalism and the Aftermath of War in the US Pacific Northwest
    (pp. 20-39)
    Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

    Across the world,freedomis in the air. Yet what is this freedom? There is a lot about freedom that might make us want to turn away in horror. First, great powers go to war in freedom’s name, creating disaster zones of conquest and mayhem. Second, freedom is the justification of vast schemes of privatization of once-common resources, consolidating global wealth in the hands of elites. The first of these kinds of freedom is “political” freedom; the second is “market” freedom. In the past few decades, these two notions of freedom have become inextricably entangled in the plans of world...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Autochthony, Citizenship, and (In)security: New Turns in the Politics of Belonging in Africa and Elsewhere
    (pp. 40-68)
    Peter Geschiere

    For Africa, the 1990s seemed to become the decade of democratization.¹ In retrospect, however, it rather seems to have been marked by an upsurge of struggles over belonging and “autochthony”—over who is “in,” but especially over who can be excluded as a “stranger.” Of course, these struggles were clearly linked to democratization. In many areas, “autochthony” became a powerful political slogan for local groups who feared they would be outvoted by more numerous immigrants when, after a long period of stifling authoritarianism, elections once more acquired real political meaning. Other aspects of the neoliberal tide unleashed by the Washington...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Congolité: Elections and the Politics of Autochthony in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
    (pp. 69-92)
    Stephen Jackson

    In mid-2006, as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC—formerly Zaire) emerged unsteadily from a decade of war and approached its first democratic elections in more than four decades, the Haute Autorité des Médias (or HAM), an official media watchdog of the DRC’s transition, handed down a string of sanctions for incitement to discrimination, hatred, or violence.¹ These were connected to the dramatic upsurge ofCongolité—best translated as “Congoleseness”—that had suddenly emerged as a powerful electoral discourse, in currency on the airwaves, in newsprint, and in political discourse, and encapsulating an exclusionary definition of national authenticity.²


  8. CHAPTER FOUR Securing “Security” amid Neoliberal Restructuring: Civil Society and Volunteerism in Post-1990 Turkey
    (pp. 93-124)
    Yasemin Ipek Can

    The 1980s and 1990s have generally been considered to mark the beginning of a new period of extensive restructuring, which inaugurated intense economic, political, and sociocultural transformations in many countries across the globe. It is widely held that these transformations fundamentally entailed elements of “liberalization”—a range of “neoliberal” policies that promoted fast-forward privatization of the public sector, relatively sustained dissemination of market structures, and the retreat of the state apparatus from the provision of “public services” (Clarke 1991, 2004). Notwithstanding the glorification of this restructuring, the “retreat” of the state and the ensuing “liberalization” have also been associated with...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE “I’m No Terrorist, I’m a Kurd”: Societal Violence, the State, and the Neoliberal Order
    (pp. 125-152)
    Zeynep Gambetti

    “‘Quien Habla Es Terrorista’: The Political Use of Fear in Fujimori’s Peru” is the title of one of Jo-Marie Burt’s (2006) articles exploring the weakness of civil society in Peru. In the confrontation between the Peruvian regime and the guerilla movement Shining Path, “terrorist” became a strategic label that conveniently associated all oppositional discourses with criminal action in the 1990s. Such is the prevailing tendency in another country, Turkey, whose democratic institutions are paradoxically hailed as a model for the Arab world (Kirisci 2011). After having obtained the international community’s accord in listing the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) as a...

  10. CHAPTER SIX Public-Private Partnerships in the Industry of Insecurity
    (pp. 153-174)
    Nandini Sundar

    This chapter discusses the phenomena of “public-private partnerships” in the discourses and practices of the contemporary Indian state. These partnerships involve the use of individuals or private groups to enact the violence of the state against vulnerable sections of the citizenry (such as Muslims, dalits or former ‘untouchables,’ and adivasis or indigenous people) whom it cannot legitimately kill while maintaining its universalist discourse, or to engage in forms of battle that it cannot lawfully engage in itself (such as death squads and private militias).

    The use of proxies and partners is scarcely new or peculiarly Indian. However, as Sen and...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN Does Globalization Breed Ethnic Violence?
    (pp. 175-195)
    Georgi M. Derluguian

    The discussions of globalization’s darker side assume a direct causal link between the central process of global integration and the peripheral reactions presumably manifest in ethnic violence, organized crime, and religiously motivated terrorism. The prevalent interpretations in scholarly and especially in the public political discourse typically evoke the long-running tropes of cultural difference and social psychology. Depending on political perspective, the unsettling effects are then blamed either on Western imperial arrogance and capitalist greed or, conversely, the maladjustment of Third World societies to market discipline and liberal cosmopolitan modernity.

    This polemic suggests that, after a hiatus of nearly a quarter...

  12. CHAPTER EIGHT Guarded (In)visibility: Violencias and the Labors of Paralegality in the Era of Collapse
    (pp. 196-212)
    Rossana Reguillo Cruz

    It is the abysmal quality ofviolenciasthat endows them with their mystified and exterior quality, a quality with which a good part of the social sciences identify through an act of pure seduction.¹ In order to be “understood”—elevated to the rank of explanation both as common sense and as reason of a second order—they require a double movement. The first isolates their codes from the broader set of social codes, thus enabling the observer-analyst to situate him/herself in a position to qualify and attribute; and the second is that other movement which is constituted by the translation...

  13. CHAPTER NINE The Securitarian Society of the Spectacle
    (pp. 213-242)
    Nicholas De Genova

    Uncertainty, ambiguity, equivocation, dissimulation, intransigent secrecy, inconceivable enemies, falsehoods without reply, truths that cannot be verified, hypotheses that can never be demonstrated—these have truly become the hallmarks of our (global) political present.¹ An audacious confrontation with this same constellation of epistemic enigmas distinguishes the unique imaginative force of the social critique of Guy Debord (1967; 1988). Although it emerged as the articulation of a radical political project during the 1960s, and despite contemporary efforts to domesticate it by safely consigning it to the mausoleum of the past, Debord’s work, like that of his Situationist cothinker Raoul Vaneigem, remains “part...

  14. Contributors
    (pp. 243-246)
  15. Index
    (pp. 247-258)