Revolutionary Securitization: An Anthropological Extension of Securitization Theory

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Martin Holbraad, Morten Axel Pedersen

This article proposes an anthropological extension of the so-called Copenhagen
School theory of securitization in International Relations. In contrast to existing
attempts to show how, suitably elaborated, this model can be ‘applied’ to
various non-Western contexts, our anthropological strategy is to use the
contingency of empirical materials (namely the Cuban Revolution and the
political forms it instantiates) as a means for transforming the basic coordinates
of the model itself. The argument involves two main steps. First we relativize
the Copenhagen School model, showing the contingency of its premises. In its
paradigmatic form, we argue, the model is liberal in that its abiding concern with
states of emergency turns on an ontological distinction between political subjects
(e.g. people) and political structures (e.g. state). By contrast, revolutionary politics
in Cuba concertedly rescinds just this distinction, to bring about an alternative,
non-liberal political ontology. We then go on to use the Cuban case to construct an
alternative model of securitization, which we call revolutionary. On this model, the
move of securitization pertains, not to a passage from ordinary politics into a realm
of emergency, but to a deliberate ontological fusion of the two, such that rule and exception also become coterminous.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Theory
Volume4
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)165-197
Number of pages33
ISSN1752-9719
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ID: 38066693