An increasing number of scholars in Critical Security Studies is taking up concepts, themes and methods broadly associated with Science-and-Technology Studies (STS) and Actor-Network-Theory (ANT).
|Date||25 June 2018|
|Time||09:30 - 19:00|
These approaches help us grasp the socio-material fabric of international politics. They have increasingly proved inspirational for research focusing on security practices. This includes vibrant analyses of – for example – the political controversies surrounding security operations;1 the material-becoming of weaponry deemed to be legally acceptable2; and the space of the border as a site of socio-technical experimentation.3 These and other works are inspired by the ways in which STS-type approaches “[attend] to multiplicity” and offer new “conceptualizations of what it might be
to hold together”4 (Law and Mol 2002: 10). They explore power as continuously in the making.
STS approaches ask, as Nisha Shah has put it, ‘how matter comes to matter’ in relation to practices of warfare, weaponry, violence and securing. They appropriate, deploy and develop concepts like, controversies, chains of reference, symmetry, translation, mediation and classification, to new ends. They offer novel approaches to thinking security politics, for example by analyzing how human and nonhuman actors are enrolled and associated to normalize or to contest particular political projects or security technologies,6 and how publics re constituted around security practices.
This fruitful redeployment of STS concepts and tools to sites of security, however, also raises considerable questions. How do we translate STS to be useful in new domains? What are the stakes and challenges when we bring insights drawn from STS to bear on the study of security sites? How
can we retrace continuities and discontinuities between security and other practices, thus fostering and broadening the conversation with STS? How can we redefine and rethink the conceptual terminologies of STS to make them attuned to researching controversies in de-bounded, secretive, and profoundly political environments?
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