How to do things with silence: Rethinking the centrality of speech to the securitization framework

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    This contribution offers the first steps in a novel conceptualization of how international relations and security studies can provide an analytics of silence. Starting with an analysis of a paradigmatic use of silence in the field, Lene Hansen’s ‘Little Mermaid’, the contribution shows the limitations and issues with an analytics that concentrates on the meaning behind silences. Silence as meaning is problematic because analytically what is offered solely is the overinvestment of the analyst’s ‘horizon of expectation’ upon a sign that is not generally meant to be one. Mobilizing a feminist reading of pornography as speech act, the contribution shows how silence may also be performative, in the sense that it does something to a specific logocentric order at the heart of our analysis of the international or security. The contribution finally offers a possible way of thinking about silence as doing rather than meaning and shows how this can be a possible analytical path to invert our analytics of the international and security from the perspective of the state/the powerful to that of the subaltern.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)476–492
    Number of pages17
    JournalSecurity dialogue
    Issue number6
    Early online date23-Aug-2018
    Publication statusPublished - Dec-2018


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