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(De)securitisation dilemmas: Theorising the simultaneous enaction of securitisation and desecuritisation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 November 2017

Jonathan Luke Austin*
Affiliation:
The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
Philippe Beaulieu-Brossard*
Affiliation:
Canadian Forces College, Toronto
*
* Correspondence to: Jonathan Luke Austin, CCDP, IHEID, Case Postale 1672, 1211, Geneva, Switzerland. Author’s email: jonathan.austin@graduateinstitute.ch
** Correspondence to: Philippe Beaulieu-Brossard, Canadian Forces College, Toronto, 215 Yonge Blvd, North York, ON M5M 3H9, Canada. Author’s email: pbeaulieub@gmail.com

Abstract

This article theorises the simultaneous enaction of securitising and desecuritising moves. It argues that the frequent simultaneity of these two processes, which are normally considered mutually exclusive within Securitisation Theory (ST), has previously gone unnoticed given a set of methodological, temporal, and ontological biases that have developed within ST. Demonstrating how these biases can be overcome – and even reconciled with the seminal texts of ST – by drawing on work from within social theory and elsewhere, we argue that the frequent simultaneity of (de)securitising moves most urgently requires us to reconsider the normative status of desecuritisation within ST. Although desecuritisation has traditionally been viewed as normatively positive, we argue that its temporally immanent enaction alongside securitising moves might introduce more violence into security politics and, in fact, exacerbate protracted conflicts. Ultimately, we make the normative ambitions of some within ST more opaque. Desecuritisation is not a shortcut to the ethical-political good within ST.

Type
Articles
Copyright
© British International Studies Association 2017 

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