RCIR reports: SOURCE Small seminar series on societal security, inequality, and development

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In March and April 2015, the SOURCE project team at KCL RCIR, led by Didier Bigo and Mederic Martin Mazé is convening a series of seminars to investigate the relations between societal security, international development and social policies from an international and European perspective. In these short pieces, Mederic briefly reports the debates and research expounded in the three seminars. Please note the third seminar in the series will be held on Thursday 2nd of april, all are welcome. Continue reading

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First SOURCE Roundtable: Methods and the international

The Research Centre in International Relations will hold the 1st SOURCE roundtable on Wednesday 5th November 2014, 10 :00 – 12 :00. at the War studies meeting room, 6th Floor King’s Building, Strand Campus, King’s college London.

SOURCE is a European Community funded project dealing with societal security in Europe. Within this framework, a team of researchers at KCL is currently designing methodological principles to map out the professions and institutions in charge of securing society in Europe. The first roundtable will discuss how methods construct different understandings of the international. It will link the concrete aspects of contacting actors and collecting observations with the challenge of restoring the sociological and anthropological dimensions of international practice. Anna Leander will open the debate with a short presentation of her own experience in researching the public-private nexus of security. She is a Professor at the Copenhagen Business School (Department for Management, Politics and Philosophy), a Visiting Professor at Institute of International Relations, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro and a Core team member of CRIC (Centre for the Resolution of International Conflict, http://cric.ku.dk/).

Roundtable participants are: Claudia Aradau, Didier Bigo, Vivienne Jabri, Anna Leander, Médéric Martin-Mazé.

All are welcome to attend. For more details please email kclrcir@kcl.ac.uk

The Politics of (In)visibility: Governance-­‐Resistance of Refugees

by Leonie Ansems de Vries

Migrants and refugees are in the spotlight across the globe. To give only a snapshot of recent news coverage: Millions of people are fleeing Syria; two overcrowded boats carrying refugees capsized near Lampedusa earlier this month; the Australian government sends asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea under a new ‘offshore resettlement policy’; the UK government is under fire for its controversial ‘Go Home’ campaign, urging ‘illegal migrants’ to ‘go home or face arrest’. These events and policies bring to light the importance and urgency of responding to both the plight of refugees and the securitisation of migration in very practical ways. It also prompts the need to conceptualise these issues in ways other than through discourses of threat, (in)security and/or victimisation. I would like to throw a different light on the issue of refugees and migration by focusing on the affirmative political practices of refugees in Malaysia. What I call the politics of (in)visibility, plays out at the intersection of theory and practice as well as at the juncture of governance and resistance.

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Theory and Practice: The Ethics and Politics of Security

by Vivienne Jabri

I often come across the assertion that theorists, especially those working in ‘critical’ International Relations, are reluctant to engage with questions of policy. In other words, we might have a great deal to say about theory, concepts, and methods, and we might use these to critique particular policies and actions, but our language is so deep in the so-called ‘ivory tower’ that it tends to bypass the non-specialist, the policy-maker, or indeed the public sphere. The charge tends to be thrown at theorists generally, so one function we hope the Forum will serve is to show that theorists in International Relations have a great deal to say and to contribute to debates around the policy arena and wider issues that concern the public sphere.

Primarily, we would want to challenge the idea that ‘theory’ is somehow divorced from ‘practice’. I would want to argue that ‘practice’ is always imbued with a theoretical background that is often left hidden; as if the discourses and positions expressed in the area of policy are self-evident or can be taken for granted. Continue reading