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A Tempest in European Security Studies

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The University of Copenhagen Library (the founders of Securitization Theory are sometimes referred to as “The Copenhagen School”) by kimyeti / CC BY-SA 4.0, from wikimedia commons

This will be of interest to very few of our readers, but one of the things that I’ve been doing while AWOL – in addition to what passes for book promotion, grading, and discovering my very small administrative role has become a lot more intense because pandemic – is running a niche podcast called “Whiskey and International Relations Theory.”

The typical episode runs for over an hour and consists of me and my long-time collaborator, Patrick Thaddeus Jackson (Google Scholar), getting progressively drunker as we discuss some dense work of IR theory. So let’s just say that it’s designed for a pretty specialized audience.

This month I was forced to upgrade the hosting plan because we posted a panel discussion on “race and securitization theory”. You might recall a post that I wrote for LGM on securitization – in this context, the framing of an issue as a security threat, like declaring a “war” on drugs or arguing that we must address climate change to protect American security – and progressive politics.

We provide more context in the podcast itself, but the gist of things is that Security Dialogue published an article accusing ‘classic’ manifestations of the framework – that is, basically the work of its two most important ‘founding’ scholars – of being underpinned by racist and imperialist assumptions. The article prompted two replies, one by Lene Hansen and one by Barry Buzan and Ole Wæver. The latter came out last week and was accompanied by an online supplement running ninety-eight pages and a tweet storm.

Naturally, there are lots of things going on, including accusations of professional misconduct, libelous behavior, editorial misconduct, the incitement of Twitter mobs, and the weaponization of an academic dispute by the “grievance studies are destroying scholarship” crowd.

If this is the kind of thing that interests you, I can actually recommend the episode – in large part, because Patrick and I mostly get out of the way and let the panelists talk. It was recorded in the afternoon, so no one got drunk and Patrick didn’t provide his usual whiskey selection. That might be a good or bad thing, depending on your point of view.

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