Beyond securitization : a critical review of the Bush administration and Iraq
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This thesis responds to the longstanding call from constructivist and poststructuralist scholars for a turn to discourse. It focuses on the paradox of the ability of language to act as a constituting and constraining device within an agent-structure discussion. The Copenhagen School (CS), its attention to language and its concept of securitization is examined in terms of its strengths and weaknesses, including bringing discourse onto the security agenda to an unprecedented extent. This thesis seeks to speak security at a deeper level and move securitization beyond the moment of utterance and the notion of agents breaking free of rules that would otherwise bind, as well as beyond a singular definition of security. It is proposed that the CS framework can be theoretically complemented by Wittgenstein’s notion of language games on board. The analytical shift made by juxtaposing a speech act and a language game also foregrounds the link between language and rules. Wittgenstein’s idea of ‘acts of interpretation’ is also considered, and substantive questions are raised about what the language of security legitimates in principle and in practice. The Bush administration’s justifications for the 2003 Iraq war are taken as a point of departure, and covers how the Bush administration deployed the language of security to justify highly controversial moves. Their narrative about the use of the pre-emptive use of force without an imminent threat existing and ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ such as those seen in the Abu Ghraib photographs in the name of security exemplify that words matter. The arguments conclude that adjustments are needed in the way security is currently spoken in IR theory.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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