Concept group 3: Securitization and Representation
second funding stage (2018-2021)
During the SFB’s first funding phase, the problem of representation, which is as yet only referred to on the sidelines of critical security studies, was cross-cuttingly identified. Representation in a general sense means the realisation of something that is not present (Pitkin 1967, 8f.). Thus, the referential character is pivotal (Carl 2010). The complexity of representation stems from its semantic breadth, which allows for very different theoretical conceptualizations and can include very different phenomena: They span from personal substitution, whose conditions have been intensively and theoretically reflected since the Middle Ages (Stollberg-Rilinger 2010), to general, communication scientific conceptions of representation in form of knowledge, which enables people to understand the meanings of the world (Cassirer 1964/1923-1929; Carl 2010). Both dimensions are present in the SFB’s subprojects be it, that hostages are substitutionally held in order to securitize a collective, or be it, that security policy rests on representation since the definition of security at some point inevitably refers to something which is characterized as insecure. Subsequently, it is the concept group’s duty to clarify the different conceptions of representation in the context of securitization, to structure the different references and layers of representation and to make our research fruitful for dynamics of security.
Since many subproject deal with conceptions of representation in historical contexts, this aspect does not only bear importance for the SFB’s conceptual work, but also because it has to be determined under which circumstances securitization heuristics and according social reactions thereupon (repertoires) are created and envisioned. Concomitantly, everything that is not in the focus of attention, and thus hidden, is up for discussion. No goal-directed course of development for representation concepts can be presupposed for the study of the interdependence of security and representation. Instead, changes in the perception and usage of representation shall be linked to changing security conceptions and practices.
Particularly in case of personal representation, the activities of specific representatives in relation to social, epistemological and power political preconditions have to be discussed. The SFB/TRR provides the appropriate framework for theoretical and conceptual contemplation which is epoch-spanning and interdisciplinary in character and analyzes the perceptions of representation in security discourse from the Early Middle Ages up to the present day. That way, different representations of security may be traced through the centuries and transversely to disciplinary embeddedness in order to to discern how they relate to each other. Subsequently, the factors which are decisive for changes in perception of representation in the context of securitization heuristics and security repertoires can be determined. Whereas conceptions of representation figure differently into the respective subprojects, the concept group’s work aims to adopt a systematically comparing perspective in order to gain understanding about the relation of securitization and representation in view of law and policy concepts as well as knowledge, image and media systems.