Location: Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer Street
*** Please note the time change to 4:30pm ***
William E. Connolly teaches political theory and global politics at Johns Hopkins University where he is the Krieger-Eisenhower Professor in the political science department. His earlier Terms of Political Discourse received the Lippincott Award in 1999 given to an "outstanding work" still important "at least fifteen years after publication". His recent books include Neuropolitics: Thinking, Culture, Speed (2002); Pluralism, (2005), which includes a chapter on sovereignty and global politics; and Capitalism and Christianity, American Style (2008). He is currently completing a book project entitled A World of Becoming. In 2008, David Campbell and Morton Schoolman edited a book on Connolly's work, entitled The New Pluralism: William Connolly and the Contemporary Global Condition.
Video from this event:
The Global Antagonism Machine
Eminent political theorist William Connolly, Johns Hopkins University, commenced the Watson Institute’s “Global Security Regimes in the Making?” conference with a keynote speech adapted from the final chapters of his forthcoming book, A World of Becoming. He provided a framework for the next day’s discussion of new directions in security studies with the introduction of the concept of the “machine.”
Connolly described the machine as a complex, abstract, mobile, and unpredictable structure that unites disparate, but related political and social phenomena in a self-reinforcing network, the parts of which are in constant dialogue. The machine has “no central agent in control,” and as the ties within the machine fortify one another it becomes “self-organizing.” Its myriad components parts “infiltrate each other or are ‘interpenetrated.’”
In his conceptualization of the global resonance machine, he draws on Georg Hegel and Immanuel Wallerstein, especially the Hegelian conception of the “rabble”- a state related to poverty, that in the words of Hegel, “is created only when there is joined to poverty a disposition of mind, an inner indignation against the rich, against society, against the government.” In Wallerstein, unequal exchange and “cross regional modes of antagonism recall the rabble,” although Wallerstein believed that the idea of the “rabble” itself was inexorably linked to Hegel’s early 19th century Europe. With the machine, Connolly both lifts the framework of relationships that Hegel created in the “rabble” out of its specific historical context and also generalizes the structure of relationship to be applied to international political theory more broadly.
Currently, what Connolly calls a global antagonism machine is the dominant mechanism determining interaction in international politics. Connolly identified components of the global antagonism machine as wide ranging as “rabble” energy, the loose energy and rebellion of resistance, patterns of unequal exchange, dependence of the hegemonic states on oil, and the derivatives system. Underpinning the development of the global antagonism machine and all of its part is a high-speed, global media, accelerating and accentuating global trends, “like hot sea lifting a hurricane.” This machine is of particular interest to security studies since although it is destabilizing it also reinforces mechanisms of control used by powerful states and organizations.
The global antagonism machine may at first seem like a fairly distant, abstract concept, but much of the mainstream is already quietly aware of it. For example, the relationship between modern industrial practices and climate change, now a common topic of discussion, demonstrates the relationship between capitalism and climate in the global antagonism machine.
Yet the power of machines does not necessarily have exacerbated existing global dilemmas. Indeed, Connolly presents a “positive resonance machine” through “interventions.” He sees potential in a more acute consumer conscience, especially with regard to food and oil, as an “intervention.” Such interventions also must be accompanied by “changes in roles.” Connolly rejects the Hegelian notion that the modern world is divided into the familiar categories like states and organizations. Rather it is composed of individuals who have a variety of roles. Only by mobilizing individuals to be more aware of the roles they play, as for example a consumer or a citizen, can they participates in a machine that creates “new cross state movements that put pressure on both internal and external oppression.”
First Session: The Mechanisms of Global Security Regimes
The question of how does a global security regime express itself in practice was the starting point for the first panel of the Global Security Regimes Workshop. Moderator Catherine Lutz, Watson Institute, began the conversation, describing the goal of the panel to provide a “more textured” examination of security, looking at specific actors and their language practices.
Gilles Favarel-Garrigues, Sciences-Po-CERI, examined what happens when global security regimes are applied at a very local level, especially when they cross the public/private divide. In his paper “Toward a Global Model of Intelligence-Led Policing?,” he explored his research on counter-laundering compliance officers in French Banks. Money laundering is one of the oldest targets of global security regimes, and the attention it receives has only been amplified in under the international state system’s attempts to control “terrorism” and drug trafficking. It is then an area where the global security regime requires involvement of the private sector. Compliance officers, those actually putting the global security regime into practice, rely on two methods: computer monitoring of financial transactions and collaboration with law enforcement- neither of which entirely efficient. Financial monitoring software yields plentiful data, but begs the question of how to use this information effectively. Whereas before, banks would approach law enforcement for information involving fraud, the reverse is now true. The result is that “an interdependent private-public partnership exists only from the government’s point of view.” The challenges that actors in a monitory role face and the complex relationship between public and private security mechanism with in global security regimes anticipated many of the broader themes discussed during the conference.
“Third Generation Military-Civil Relations and the ‘New Revolution in Military Affairs,” the second paper presentation by Frederik Rosen, Watson Institute, investigated the day-to-day affairs of UN Blue Helmets in Afghanistan their relationship to the U.S.-led attempts at maintaining peace in and rebuilding the country. The third generation military-civil relationships of the title refer to “a product of military organizations embarking on civil governance areas and the creation of higher level partnerships between military and civil agencies.” Afghanistan is an unusual case in international relations and perhaps an indication of things to come in post-combat situations, since “the American military is working deep in civilian areas, influencing the ministry of the interior and the police force.” Such untraditional actions on the part of the military imply a broad re-conceptualization of the term “security” and the role of the military.
Peter Andreas, Watson Institute, in “International Crime Control after September 11th,” challenged the idea that “everything changed on September 11th” and that September 11th brought into existence “new forms of a trans-Atlantic security alliance based on policing non-state actors.” He argued that in fact, many of the “new” security mechanism to emerge in response to September 11th actually have their roots in old security policies, most noticeably U.S. counter-narcotics strategy, which was the “driving force in the internationalization of policing pre-September 11th.” The relationship between the War on Drugs and War on Terror show how notions of security are “cyclical and evolutionary.”
Second Session: Sovereignty and Global Security Regimes
As legislatures and courts around the world try to adapt to the constantly changing needs of evolving security regimes, myriad political and governmental questions emerge. Government sanctioned extralegal procedures, ineffective responses to existential security threats, and a rhetoric of exceptionality have led panel Chair Michael Dillon, University of Lancaster, UK, to humorously suggest that perhaps there needs to be a move from discussions of freedom and security to discussions of “freedom from security.” Indeed, nowhere are the political problems of the global security apparatus as problematic as they are in attempts to evaluate the meaning of sovereignty after September 11, the topic of the second panel of Global Security Regimes in the Making.
Didier Bigo, Sciences-Po, challenged the relationships between freedom and movement and between speed and freedom in his paper “Speed as Freedom or Control: The Tension Between Mobility, Liberty, and Subjectivity”. He sought to undermine the widely held assumption that “if you are not stopped, not blocked, you are free. If you have speed in movement, you are free.” This very freedom for people, information and goods to move across borders and between regions has long been held as a cornerstone of liberal democracy. This relationship between freedom and movement is complicated by impositions on movement presented by “security” needs, as seen in heightened airport screenings and RFID technology. The result is a perception of freedom and mobility, when in fact travelers and migrants are subjected to unprecedented levels of surveillance.
Elspith Guild’s, Radboud University, “The CIA Extraordinary Rendition Program: Issues of Sovereignty and Human Rights” dissected a specific case that involved two of the day’s themes- competing claims of security and new challenges to sovereignty. In 2001, two asylum seeking Egyptians living in Sweden, Ahmed Agiza and Muhammed al-Zery, were deported back to Egypt by the CIA with the help of the Swedish security police service. The two men were opposition activists in Egypt and perceived as “terrorist threats” by the US and Sweden. Their deportation to Egypt is problematic in that their return meant almost certain torture, despite reassurances from the Egyptian government otherwise. Under international law, Sweden is obligated to not extradite anyone within its borders to another country where there is a significant risk that he or she will face torture. After the men were sent to Egypt, where they were tortured, the Swedish government report determined that the extradition was illegal under the Swedish constitution and a violation of Swedish sovereignty, since such actions are only legal if carried out by Swedish police by a court order or not at all. Likewise, the extradition attracted criticism under international human rights law, since the treatment of the two men during their detainment in Sweden could be considered degrading and there was no mechanism to substantiate Egypt’s claims of adhering to anti-torture conventions. This complicated case study is an example of “what we get when we look at security through sovereignty.” The important questions that arise are: In the interest of whose security did these events take place? Whose authority it is to decide?
The goal of Andrew Neal’s paper, University of Edinburgh “Contemporary Exceptionalism and Politics of Normalization” was “to study government’s consciousness of itself” with regard to antiterrorism and security policy. Since normally security practice is often decided upon and put into practice outside of the law, the relationship between law and security practices is problematic. The question then becomes how do legislators justify their involvement in security and how do they define their relationship to security practices already being carried out on the ground. What is seen then, as opposed to earlier periods of emergency rule, is that “in fact none of these laws have been temporary measures,“ and moreover have become regular over time. This begs the question: What is the lifespan of exceptionality?
The connections between the normalization of exceptionality and the most visible and disruptive manifestations of the global security regime mentioned by Bigo and Guild were the topic of Jef Huysmans’s, Open University, UK, “Insecurity and the Everyday.” Before, most perceptions of “everyday life” had to do with life as it happened outside of the security regime, but now everyday life has “been recaptured as part of security.” This generates a paradox, since contemporary security policy is often based on exceptionality. He suggests using the opportunity to “actively renegotiate citizenship and private citizens’ relationship to the state.” Otherwise, the rhetoric of security permeates the political system, and issues as wide ranging as welfare fraud and drug control are recast as security threats, often resulting in an “intensification of limitations on democracy.”
Session 3: Critical Investigations
The final panel of the Global Security Regimes Workshop consisted of what panel chair R.B.J. Walker, University of Victoria, called a series of “investigations of meaning and notions of security and the limits of historical methods of critique.“ Within this thematic, the panelists all touched on the questions of the lenses through which people approach global security regimes and challenges to security.
Presenting a paper called "From Imperial Policing to the Aporias of Post-Colonial Counterinsurgency", Christian Olsson, Sciences-Po-CERI, analyzed several of the military practices deployed in the post-intervention environments of Afghanistan and Iraq, using a framework highlighting the possible contributions of a relational theory of political legitimacy. Olsson delineated the importance of (de)legitimising processes in contemporary interventions. In a context of institutional change, in which the field of ordinary politics has been suspended by the very rationale of the intervention, this is indeed a crucial question. This presentation further also argued that the questionable approaches to legitimacy that are implicit in contemporary pacification doctrines could possibly explain some of the violent dynamics induced by the military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Olsson ‘s objective was not to discredit claims of success on the part of foreign forces, as is currently highlighted by developments in Iraq. Rather, Olsson argued that the contemporary form of interventionist counterinsurgency in Afghanistan and Iraq is inherently problematic. Indeed, the idea of using public force to contribute to pacification is , within the context of modernity, contingent up on the conditions through which the aporias of legitimate violence have historically been solved -- that is, within the state. As a consequence, the use of force as a means of pacification outside of the state is more likely to feed violence than to achieve its goal. Indeed, it is not locally endowed with the political legitimacy upon which it depends to succeed.
Representations of an ‘us’ and a ‘them’ in a series of novels and films that address the War on Terror rather than in the military or policy was the focus of Angharad Cross Stephens’s, Durham University, UK, presentation, “Beyond the Imaginary Geographies of the War on Terror?” She explored how depictions of September 11 and the political responses it created in literature and film have interacted with the global security regime. The focus of her paper was The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a novel by Moshin Hadid, a Pakistani born, American educated British author. Hadid tells the story of Changez, a Pakistani immigrant in New York, who falls in love with an American girl and the city itself, which pre-9/11 “celebrated the difference between ‘us’ and ‘them.’” Everything changes with September 11 though, and he soon becomes regarded with suspicion as a potential terrorist. Disillusioned by American xenophobia and no longer satisfied with his comfortable life in America, Changez returns to Pakistan. Although a best seller, the book has also attracted political condemnation. Of particular controversy is the opening scene, in which Changez watches the fall of the World Trade Center and smiles. From a literary perspective, the novel fits into the cannon of “minority” literature, where, the term is not about a percentage but more about not fitting the majority model, and in this case The Reluctant Fundamentalist undermines the majority security model of America’s global war on terror. Also, this book echoes other pieces of modern literature with alienated protagonists searching for their roots. Closs Stephens suggested that the book’s popularity can be in part explained, “because it of the alternatives it suggested, or because it followed European novels, which we can understand.” Also for British readers, part of the appeal is that the novel by “having a go at America but without implicating Britain.” More fundamentally, though, she claims that book overcomes the “imagined geography” of terrorism, immigration and foreignness after 9/11.
Francesco Ragazzi, Sciences Po-CERI and Stephan Davidshofer, PRIO, Norway, “The CASE Collective, a First Step Toward Collective Critique” explored what it means to be an intellectual and how new approaches to scholarship can overcome problems in security studies. Critical theory seeks to overcome the dogmatism of conventional approaches to academics. As a critique of the current state of (critical) security studies, Ragazzi and Davidshofer, along with 23 other scholars, formed the CASE (Critical Approaches to Security in Europe) Collective and issued a manifesto, as written by “a collective intellectual” in 2007. The manifesto “presents debates between schools as personal encounters,” and “shows that things do not happen in a vacuum,” but rather are the result of “specific scholars, specific times, and specific contexts.” The CASE Collective manifesto identified several major themes in security studies: the implications of expanding security into other fields, the question of exceptionalism, and the politics of belonging and identity. In the spirit of collaboration, it was released to other academics for critique, and did gain some criticism for its definition of critical studies and neglect of post-colonialism and feminism. In the end though, “the manifesto is not a strategy, but a counterstatement to resist the conventional and disciplinary structure of academic inquiry and writing.