Plenary session I – Power and Security in Times of Precarity

Organised by:
Katharina Bodirsky (Universität Konstanz)

Speakers:
Setha Low (The Graduate Center, City University of New York)
Ursula Rao (Universität Leipzig)
Corinna di Stefano (Universität Konstanz)

Sonntag, 29.09., 18.00-19.30 Uhr, Audimax

Conditions of precarity are caused in today’s world not only by insecure employment, but are also consequence of – among others – political repression, war, environmental degradation, climate change, land grabs, debt, austerity, and various (other) forms of dispossession. The production of precarity entails distinct power asymmetries and can severely curtail capacities for individual and/or collective practice. It creates a fragmented landscape where people face starkly differential threats to their lives and livelihoods. Formal politics in turn, beyond taking an active part in the production and unequal distribution of precarity, responds often not with an attempt at restoring human security of precarious populations but with their securitization, that is, their construal and containment as potential threat. Thus, the securitization of precarious populations often works by invoking – actual or proclaimed – security demands of other groups.

This plenary examines the role of processes of social negotiation, and of their closure, in contemporary predicaments of in/security. It explores various forms of security that are made to stand against each other in contexts of precarity and the power dynamics at play here.