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Spaces of SecurityEthnographies of Securityscapes, Surveillance, and Control$
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Setha Low and Mark Maguire

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479863013

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479863013.001.0001

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Securing Security

Securing Security

Recursive Security Assemblages in South Africa

(p.122) 5 Securing Security
Spaces of Security

Thomas G. Kirsch

NYU Press

There is presently no shortage of conceptual models to account for the fact that security have begun to play an increasingly important role in more and more spheres of life. However, most of these explanations rely on a figure of thought in which security is freshly brought to bear on something which has not previously been a target of security. This chapter develops an alternative approach. Drawing on my ethnographic findings from South Africa, I start out from the observation that, once it has been established, security needs to be secured if is to be maintained in the face of potentially adversarial forces. Thus, what is explored is a particular logic of security in which security becomes its own reference object. It is argued that this logic gives rise to security linkages of a particular kind, linkages that are not based on a forward-driving expansion of security agendas but, rather, on protectively and recursively backing up already existing measures. By attending to security’s recursiveness we can address some of the ways in which the “rooting” of security assemblages occurs in sociocultural contexts.

Keywords:   Security, Assemblage, Recursiveness, South Africa

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