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Just securitization, what is it and why does it matter?

Friday, April 22, 2022, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Real and perceived security threats are everywhere. Even if the world were to become more democratic (a development that seems unlikely now) and the likelihood of state-based agent-intended threats thus reduced, intent-lacking threat - including climate change, infectious disease and antimicrobial resistance - are unlikely to disappear. This means securitization, which is to say the use of threat dependent emergency measures, is inevitable.

The specific nature of securitization is threat-dependent, and yet, all securitizations share that they are deviations from the normal, usually in terms of the harm or violence they entail or threaten to entail (including, for example, that civil liberties of those protected are often severely compromised. All of this means that decisions on the when, and if so how, to securitize, is, or ought to be, of central importance to decision makers and security practitioners everywhere. Not only because the use of emergency politics produces winners and losers, but also because – especially in democracies – security practitioners ought to be interested in having moral legitimacy in the eyes of those they serve: the people. Otherwise, they risk rebellion (Stichwort: Corona Diktatur).

To be sure, when threats are real and sufficiently harmful, not securitizing (or else desecuritization) is not always a feasible option. In this presentation Dr Rita Floyd, University of Birmingham, will set out her Just Securitization Theory as a solution – at least at the theoretical level - to the question whether, when and how to securitize.