Concept group 2: Difference and Intersectionality
second funding stage (2018-2021)
By singling out the eponymous aspects of difference and intersectionality the concept group seizes on theoretical discussions within the overall scope of security research which still lacks comprehensive historicization. Theories on intersectionality cover interdependency of experience of difference, lack of legal certainty and discrimination since the 1980s (cf. e.g. Crenshaw 1989, Hardmeier/ Vinz 2007, Purtschert/ Meyer 2010). Their approach to conceptualize social categories conjointly and analyse the entanglements and overlaps of e.g. sex, race, ethnicity, nation, class, religion, age or descent, serves as a starting point for the concept group’s work. In addition, the concept group aims to include feminist and post-colonial critique of security research, which demands for the subaltern to be heard; i.e. to pay heed to those individual and collective agents which are not enabled to voice their security concerns in current power structures (Spivak 2008, Barkawi et al. 2006).
With regard to the SFB’s interest in epoch-spanning applicability, the concept group wants to focus on the various mechanisms by means of which agents derive security-establishing action from categories of difference on multiple levels. These categories are understood as being susceptible to change throughout history and dependent on the respective position of speech. Taking this as a basis the concept group will consult the empirical subprojects on lines of difference (“Differenzlinien”, Klinger/ Knapp 2005): which of those lines did agents deem relevant in the context of security communication and was their action for security oriented towards heuristics and pursuant routines for the production, maintenance or even questioning of difference. Firstly, we will have to discuss which inspiration can be drawn from the feminist perspective on security research (Hudson 2005, Wibben 2010). Subsequently, the gathered insights should allow new conclusions for the analysis of different forms of social difference and exclusion phenomena (first in Narayan 1998, Yeğenoğlu 1998). The construction of male and female substantially contributes to the fact that depending on the national, cultural and socioeconomic conditions, women’s security needs strongly differ from those of men just as security needs of minorities do not correspond to those of the majority. This has been repeatedly suggested by literature in the field of societal security (cf. Waever 1995). Referencing sex as well as ethnic and socioeconomic affiliation has consistently formed part of comprehensive security strategies (Hoogensen/ Vigeland 2004).
Against this backdrop, the concept group seeks to comprehend security as a multilayered concept which, on the one hand, is dynamized by interpretations induced by difference and on the other hand leans on topographies of power which constitute and reproduce differences in turn. Therefore, in the process of securitization exclusionary logic may originate from the concept of security (Marhia 2013, 20). Subsequently, this allows to reconsider the production of social distance and indifference as well as ensuing policies for the securitization of ‘unwelcome population’ (Basaran 2015, 207). From the perspective of historical security research, it is mandatory to critically assess top-down perspectives by means of multilevel analysis and to record the point of view of groups and individuals concerned. Which consequences arise from gender- and culture-specific perceptions for thinking and action and which overlaps of categories of difference may emerge and become relevant for security (Knapp 2005). Accordingly, the desideratum described in the SFB’s first funding phase noting that specific heuristics are developed along the lines of difference
because securitization agendas are often subject to specific perceptual filters, is to be discussed in the context of linguistic and denominational diversity and difference (Haslinger 2016; cf. also Rindler Schjerve 2007). At this point, further considerations are deemed necessary since the majority of security and conflict research debates cultural aspects primarily as cause of conflict and ‘amount in dispute’. The concept group will focus on the simultaneous interaction of different security perceptions and address the dilemma that security for one group is often associated with uncertainties for (another) group(s). This, in turn, enables the concept group to contribute to the ongoing debate about the manner in which various categories of difference interact, especially stressing that securitization produces and solidifies correlating categories of difference.