Subproject C01 — Advanced security:
Changes in Statehood since 1970 (‘After the Boom’)
first funding stage (2014-2017)
Bild: Waldsterben durch den Borkenkäfer in Bayern
The subproject investigates changes in the Federal Republic of Germany’s statehood since the 1970s. We understand “statehood” to mean the historically changeable forms of the ruling entity of the state, which makes collectively binding rules and decisions within a certain territory based on its monopoly of force.
The modern state expanded its control activities continuously from the 18th century, assuming ultimate responsibility for the regulation of social, natural and economic uncertainties by the early 20th century at the latest.
In the course of this, knowledge of the population and perceived threats gained central importance. The subproject proceeds from the basis that the various processes of change that were initiated after the end of the post-war boom in around 1970 also affected statehood - forms of control, institutional characteristics and constellations of actors. On entry into the “after the boom” phase, the previously dominant national administrative and interventionist state was increasingly criticised and felt challenged by new uncertainty. Such phenomena occasionally strained its previous capacities and evoked specific adjustments.
Grafik: HI-Virus in Blutbahn
The subproject investigates securitisation and desecuritisation processes of three distinct phenomena representing a perceived need for advancing security. In the 1970s and 1980s, all three became part of West German society’s collective awareness: Information technology, HIV/AIDS and the environment. The subproject asks which security problems were discussed in the communicative processes surrounding these new objects of knowledge (depiction of security) and which forms of control relating to these security problems were institutionalised (creation of security). It also investigates how the de-dramatisation and mastery of the potential for uncertainty was possible (desecuritisation).
All the three studies focus on processes of knowledge generation and on the dissemination of knowledge. We analyse security semantics (terms, metaphors), the materiality and visuality of security (objects, media, images), security spaces (borders, circulation) and the security actors involved in the securitisation and desecuritisation processes (their interests and practices).
In our studies, we investigate the institutionalisation of how new security regimes (data protection, safer sex and environmental protection) altered statehood in the Federal Republic in the 1970s and 1980s. In this way, we would like to help understand the emergence of modern statehood in that period.