Enacting Multiple Publics: Searching for the Public in International Security Practices

Linda Monsees

Laufzeit des Forschungsprojekts 12/2017 – 12/2019

Contemporary security practices are often characterised by its dispersed characters. Security is not confined to high-politics but can be found in everyday practices. Airport security, CCTV or the collection of meta-data are all examples of how security practices shape the everyday life of citizens. While these practices are often taken for granted, we can also observe some resistance against these security practices. Especially the effects of surveillance and data-retention are contested. But these contestations occur often in more remote places: among specialized activist groups, within bureaucracies or other expert circles. A concept of a static public-sphere that is bounded to the nation state does not seem to be adequate in this context.
The question is thus how can these contestations be understood as constituting a specific form of 'publicness'? The aim of the project is to develop a vocabulary that can grasp the enactment of multiple publics in the context of security practices. I therefore bring together literature from democratic theory (especially John Dewey's concept of multiple publics) and Science and Technology Studies. These literatures are useful for advancing the debate within Critical Security Studies on the relation between security and democracy.
The project is conducted in embedded in the research field 3 and supported by Prof. Hellmann.


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