It is widely known that national security fields changed considerably in the last decades. Different from the late Cold War years, when they focused on military threats, were closely orchestrated by Defence Ministries and contained few international contacts, national security ‘systems’ today handle wide sets of dangers, draw on complex casts of actors across levels of government, and often maintain working relations with multiple foreign partners. This comprehensive reconfiguration of national security fields is a central theme to security scholars and policymakers alike – but also difficult to pin down for methodological reasons. Written documentation on security agencies does not give precise indication of actual everyday inter-agency work practices, and assessments of nationwide security work across functions and levels of government are challenging by sheer questions of size. Adopting a practice-oriented approach to security research, this article draws on an unparalleled nationwide data collection effort to differentiate and map-out the Swiss security field’s programmatic and institutional evolution.
Figure 1: Ministerial threat management practice
Figure 11: Transnational inter-agency cooperation in Swiss national security
Hagmann, Jonas; Davidshofer, Stephan; Tawfik, Amal; Wenger, Andreas; Wildi, Lisa (2018). The programmatic and institutional (re-)configuration of the Swiss national security field. Swiss Political Science Review. PDF / Score tables / OpenAccess URL
From August – October 2018, I will be a visiting scholar at the Universidad de la Republica’s Department of Social Sciences. The research stay serves to connect to sociologists, criminologists and political scientists based at UdelaR – especially the research group of Professor Nico Trajtenberg – and to conduct field research on the reconfiguration of urban security management in the City of Montevideo.
From June – August 2018, I will be a visiting researcher at the University of Amsterdam’s Department of Political Science. The research stay serves to connect to UvA-based security studies scholars, especially Marieke de Goede’s ERC research program on the production/translation of ‘security knowledge’, as well as to local urban studies specialists, such as Rivke Jaffe and her ERC grant on urban security assemblages in cities of the global south.
How do notions of collective international insecurity come about, and what are their effects on foreign policy-making? The Copenhagen School’s securitization theory offers a powerful take on the political construction of threats. In its original variant, however, the theory focuses strongly on the deontic (norm-breaking) powers of ‘security talk’ – and not on the threat sceneries that the latter substantively describes. This article addresses this latter link by reworking securitization into a positional/relational argument. Seen its way, the framing of something as threatening comes with larger – often implicit – claims about threatening and threatened actors in world politics. The empirical cases on post-war France and West Germany show how securitization equals an epistemological systematization of international affairs, for the political construction of collective international danger becomes an ordering process that conditions foreign policy strategizing.
Hagmann, Jonas (2018). Securitisation and the production of international order(s). Journal of International Relations and Development 21(1): 194-222. PDF
Depuis la naissance de la Suisse moderne en 1848, sécurité a constamment rimé avec neutralité. De nos jours, cette dernière reste encore perçue par une large majorité de Suisses comme une garantie de protection face aux tumultes du monde. Cependant, dans la pratique, cette singularité est remise en question. Notre article dans Questions internationales démontre que dans un monde interdépendant, l’impératif de coopération, indispensable pour gérer les menaces avant tout globales et transnationales, s’accompagne d’une discrète mais profonde transformation du paysage sécuritaire du pays situé au cœur de l’Europe.
Davidshofer, Stephan; Tawfik, Amal; Hagmann, Jonas (2017). La sécurité suisse: entre neutralité et impératif de coopération. Questions internationales 87 (2017/5): 25-29. PDF
Who teaches whose and what kind of knowledge at leading US and European IR schools? In a chapter in the upcoming SAGE Handbook of the History, Philosophy and Sociology of International Relations, Tom Biersteker and I analyse the core IR courses of 23 universities. The chapter unpacks these courses’ paradigmatic penchants and the authorship on which they draw. By looking at the ‘instructed’ and not the ‘published discipline’, it seeks to draw another picture of International Relations scholarship. In doing so, the aim is to problematise the powerful ontologies of scholarly work that underpin existing mappings of the discipline.
Paradigmatic penchants in core IR courses
Sources of international knowledge
Hagmann, Jonas; Biersteker, Thomas (forth). Counter-mapping the discipline: The archipelago of Western International Relations teaching. In: Gofas, Andreas; Hamati-Ataya, Inanna; Onuf, Nick (eds.). The SAGE Handbook of the History, Philosophy and Sociology of International Relations. London/New York: SAGE. PDF
What happens to foreign politics when actors, things or processes are presented as threats? This book explains state’s international behavior based on a reflexive framework of insecurity politics. It argues that governments act on knowledge of international danger available in their societies, and that such knowledge is organized by varying ideas of who threatens whom and how. The book develops this argument and illustrates it by means of various European case studies (Germany, France, and Switzerland in particular). Moving across European history and space, these show how securitization projected abroad evolving – and often contested – local ideas of the organization of international insecurity, and how such knowledges of world politics conditioned foreign policymaking on their own terms. By moving the discipline from systemic theorizing to a theory of international systematization, the book seeks to show how world politics is, in practice, often conceived in a different way than that assumed by grand IR theory. Depicting national insecurity as a matter of political construction, the book also raises the challenging question of whether certain projections of insecurity may be considered more warranted than others.
* Paperback versions of the book can now be ordered through Routledge.
Hagmann, Jonas (2015). (In-)security and the production of international relations: The politics of securitisation in Europe. London/New York: Routledge, 244p. URL