Plenarveranstaltung I / Plenary session I: Power and security in times of precarity

"Domesticating security in precarious times: Securityscapes, surveillanceand affective infrastructures"

Sprecherin / Speaker:

Setha Low (City University of New York, USA)

Precarity  is  a  state  of  existential  and  physical  vulnerability  accompanied  by  invisibility  from  the social and political institutions that are supposed to mitigate these risks creating forgotten corners of human fragility.  Whether facing civil war, human made disasters, crumbling governments or forced  migration  people  in  the  twenty-first  century  are  experiencing  a  world  full  of  instability, vulnerability  and  fear.    This  fear  of  everything  from  terrorism  and  violence  to  the  lack  of  work, shelter, water or food is producing a world in which “security” is central to everyday practices as well as national discourse and affective climate. The  pressure  of  the  increasing  precarityhas  had  an  impact  both  on  elites  and  on  the  growing number of informal workers.  Both groups are demanding more security but in very different ways.  Elite strategies  emphasize  the  domestication  of  security  through  the  architecture,  urban  design and  management of private residential communities.  These gated communities “protect” homeowners’  sense  of  social  and  financial  insecurity  through  socioeconomic  segregation, controlled  physical  environments  and  racist  discourses.    Informal  workers,  especially  in  Latin America, attempt to gain some kind of security through mobilization in public space or through hidden activities that reduce their visibility.  Yet these two strategies are related to one another in   contradictory   ways.      These   very   different   securitization   practices   and   the   resulting securityscapes are uncovered through an ethnographic analysis of both gated communities and public spaces in the U.S. and Latin America.

Datum: Sonntag, 29. September 2019