For real people in real places: the Copenhagen school and the other “little security nothings”

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Series Details Volume 28, Number 4, Pages 413-430
Publication Date December 2019
ISSN 0966-2839 (print) | 1746-1545 (online)
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This article builds on most recent scholarship, increasingly critical of the uncritical, or non-critical in critical security studies. Through the empirical context of migration and the theoretical structure of the Copenhagen School, this inquiry draws attention to the hegemonic dominance of securitisation’s negative logic.

With Germany as its case study, this article unpacks why and how the securitisation of migration is already always of a distinctly linear, segregating, violent, hence, negative and undesirable security determinism. More simply put: for decades, security and securitisation in critical security studies scholarship remain conflated into the same conditions and practices, reiterating the same meanings, namely: insecurity.

By exploring a more inclusive, progressive type of securitisation framing through the subject rather than the referent object locus, this inquiry directs attention to a different kind of what Jef Huysmans initially termed in 2011 “little security nothings.” These other security “nothings,” also so profoundly infused with power, are found embedded in everyday meso-level practices performed and exercised by pro-migration, non-elite, fringe grassroots securitisation actors and audiences such as Germany’s Green Party and many non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This everyday advocacy on-the-ground in Germany animates and sustains inclusive registers of meanings, which make “real people in real places” feel safe and secure.

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