175 research outputs found

    Making Digital Surveillance Unacceptable? Security, Democracy, and the Political Sociology of Disputes

    Get PDF
    Despite extensive criticisms of mass surveillance and mobilization by civil liberties and digital rights activists, surveillance has paradoxically been extended and legalized in the name of security. How do some democratic claims against surveillance appear to be normal and common-sense, whereas others are deemed unacceptable, even outlandish? Instead of starting from particular “logics” of either security or democracy, this paper proposes to develop a political sociology of disputes to trace how the relation between security and democracy is shaped by critique in practice. Disputes entail critique and demands for justification. They allow us to account for the constraints which govern whether an argument is deemed acceptable or improper; commonsensical or peculiar. We mobilize disputes in conjunction with Arjun Appadurai’s reflections on “small numbers” in democracies in order to understand how justifications of surveillance for security enact a “rise in generality,” whereas critiques of digital surveillance that mobilize democratic claims enact a “descent into singularity.” To this purpose, we analyze public mobilizations against mass surveillance and challenges brought before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). We draw on interviews with a range of actors involved in the disputes, the parties’ submissions, oral hearings, judgments, and public reports

    From abuse to trust and back again

    Get PDF
    oai:westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk:w7qv

    Technology, agency, critique:An interview with Claudia Aradau

    Get PDF
    info:eu-repo/semantics/publishe

    Assembling credibility: knowledge, method and critique in times of 'post-truth'

    Get PDF
    Critical approaches in security studies have been increasingly turning to methods and standards internal to knowledge practice to validate their knowledge claims. This quest for scientific standards now also operates against the background of debates on post-truth, which raise pressing and perplexing questions for critical lines of thought. We propose a different approach by conceptualizing validity as practices of assembling credibility in which the transversal formation and circulation of credits and credentials combine with disputes over credence and credulity. This conceptualization of the validity of (critical) security knowledge shifts the focus from epistemic and methodological standards to transepistemic practices and relations. It allows us to mediate validity critically as a sociopolitical rather than strictly scientific accomplishment. Developing such an understanding of validity makes it possible for critical security studies and international relations to displace epistemic disputes about ‘post-truth’ with transversal practices of knowledge creation, circulation and accreditation

    Towards democratic intelligence oversight: Limits, practices, struggles

    Get PDF
    Despite its common usage, The meaning of 'democratic' in democratic intelligence oversight has rarely been spelled out. In this paper, we situate questions regarding intelligence oversight within broader debates about the meanings and practices of democracy. We argue that the literature on intelligence oversight has tended to implicitly or explicitly follow liberal and technocratic ideas of democracy, which have limited the understanding of oversight both in academia and in practice. Thus, oversight is mostly understood as an expert, institutional and partially exclusive arrangement that is supposed to strike a balance between individual freedom and collective security with the goal of establishing the legitimacy of, and trust in intelligence work in a national setting. ‘Healthy’ or ‘efficient’ democratic oversight then becomes a matter of technical expertise, non-partisanship, and the ability to guard secrets. By analysing three moments of struggle around what counts as intelligence oversight across Germany, the UK, and the USA, this paper elucidates their democratic stakes. Through a practice-based approach, we argue that oversight takes much more agonistic, contentious, transnational, and public forms. However, these democratic practices reconfiguring oversight remain contested or contained by dominant views on what constitutes legitimate and effective intelligence oversight

    Security (studies) and the limits of critique: why we should think through struggle

    Get PDF
    This paper addresses the political and epistemological stakes of knowledge production in post-structuralist Critical Security Studies. It opens a research agenda in which struggles against dominant regimes of power/knowledge are entry-points for analysis. Despite attempts to gain distance from the word ‘security’, through interrogation of wider practices and schemes of knowledge in which security practices are embedded, post-structuralist CSS too quickly reads security logics as determinative of modern/liberal forms of power and rule. At play is an unacknowledged ontological investment in ‘security’, structured by disciplinary commitments and policy discourse putatively critiqued. Through previous ethnographic research, we highlight how struggles over dispossession and oppression call the very frame of security into question, exposing violences inadmissible within that frame. Through the lens of security, the violence of wider strategies of containing and normalizing politics are rendered invisible, or a neutral backdrop against which security practices take place. Building on recent debates on critical security methods, we set out an agenda where struggle provokes an alternative mode of onto political investment in critical examination of power and order

    The maintenance of urban circulation: An operational logic of infrastructural control

    Get PDF
    This paper examines the increased visibility of urban infrastructures occurring through a close coupling of information technologies and the selective integration of urban services. It asks how circulatory flow is managed in the contemporary city, by focusing on the emergence of new forms of governmentality associated with “smart” technologies. Drawing on Foucault’s governmentality, and based on a case study of Rio de Janeiro’s Operations Centre (COR), the paper argues that new understandings of the city are being developed, representing a new mode of urban infrastructure based on the partial and selective rebundling of splintered networks and fragmented urban space. The COR operates through a “un-black boxing” of urban infrastructures, where the extension of control room logics to the totality of the city points to their fragility and the continuous effort involved in their operational accomplishment. It also functions through a collapse in relations of control—of the everyday and the emergency—, which, enabled by the incorporation of the public in operational control, further raise public awareness of urban infrastructures. These characteristics point to a specific form of urban governmentality based on the operationalisation of infrastructural flows and the development of novel ways of seeing and engaging with the city

    Critical methods in international relations: the politics of techniques, devices and acts

    Get PDF
    Methods have increasingly been placed at the heart of theoretical and empirical research in IR and social sciences more generally. This article explores the role of methods in International Relations and argues that methods can be part of a critical project if reconceptualised away from neutral techniques of organising empirical material and research design. It proposes a two-pronged reconceptualisation of critical methods as devices which enact worlds and acts which disrupt particular worlds. Developing this conceptualisation allows us to foreground questions of knowledge and politics as stakes of method and methodology rather than exclusively of ontology, epistemology or theory. It also allows us to move away from the dominance of scientificity (and its weaker versions of systematicity and rigour) to understand methods as less pure, less formal, messier and more experimental, carrying substantive political visions

    Deconstructing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender victim of sex trafficking: Harm, exceptionality and religion–sexuality tensions

    Get PDF
    Contrary to widespread belief, sex trafficking also targets lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) communities. Contemporary social and political constructions of victimhood lie at the heart of regulatory policies on sex trafficking. Led by the US Department of State, knowledge about LGBT victims of trafficking constitutes the newest frontier in the expansion of criminalization measures. These measures represent a crucial shift. From a burgeoning range of preemptive measures enacted to protect an amorphous class of ‘all potential victims’, now policies are heavily premised on the risk posed by traffickers to ‘victims of special interest’. These constructed identities, however, are at odds with established structures. Drawing on a range of literatures, the core task of this article is to confront some of the complexities and tensions surrounding constructions of LGBT trafficking victims. Specifically, the article argues that discourses of ‘exceptional vulnerability’ and the polarized notions of ‘innocence’ and ‘guilt’ inform hierarchies of victimhood. Based on these insights, the article argues for the need to move beyond monolithic understandings of victims, by reframing the politics of harm accordingly
    corecore