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
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
There is much agreement that urban security dispositives acquired new qualities in recent years. But do the dominant diagnoses hold up to detailed empirical verification? This forthcoming piece in International Political Sociology re-engages the pertinent security studies literature. In the age of globalisation and urbanisation, technological innovation and liberal policy ideals, how are urban security apparatuses reorganised, and in what relations do they stand to local societal and political orders? Describing the evolving security handling of three urban spaces – a site of mobility (HB Zürich), a public square (Bundesplatz Bern) and a place of mass commerce (St. Jakob Park Basel) –, the article makes the case for more nuanced engagements with urban security ensembles, their technological evolution, relations with democratic ideals, globalisation and de-territorialisation both in and beyond Western polities.
Securing public space in Switzerland – Bundesplatz Bern
Hagmann, Jonas (forthcoming). Security in the society of control: The politics and practices of securing urban spaces. International Political Sociology. PDF
The emergence of a transnational field of security in Europe constitutes a stimulating new observation to security studies research. However, the operationalization of such research is challenging. Notably, time-consuming data collection and data analysis is required to fully comprehend the complex characteristics and resources of a security field’s manifold actors. Drawing on a research project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), this article offers a substantive analysis of the contemporary dynamics of the Swiss national security field, and it presents some practical ‘tools’ for researchers interested in producing empirical studies of transnational fields of security in Europe. To do so, the article mobilises multiple correspondence analysis, principal component analysis, network analysis and other statistical or statistics-based methods to assess the europeanisation of the Swiss security field.
Davidshofer, Stephan; Tawfik, Amal; Hagmann, Jonas (2016). Analyse du champ de la sécurité en Suisse : vers une hypertrophie de la sécurité intérieure et autres réflexions méthodologiques. Cultures & Conflits 102 (2016/2): 59-93. PDF
How does the organization of social scientific fields, education policies, and related institutional transformations condition the production and diffusion of scholarly knowledge about world politics? In the latest International Studies Review forum, Félix Grenier and I promote a more dedicated engagement with the disciplines’ institutional sociology. The ambition of the forum, which brings together contributions from Inanna Hamati-Ataya, Tom Biersteker, Thierry Balzacq, Marina Lebedeva, Jason Lane and Martin Müller, is to highlight the diversity of sites and settings where specialized knowledge about international relations is produced, shaped and re-instantiated.
Hagmann, Jonas; Lebedeva, Marina (2016). Teaching (as) statist practice: Diplomatic schools as sites of international education. International Studies Review 18(2): 349-353. PDF
Grenier, Félix; Hagmann, Jonas (2016). Sites of knowledge (re-)production: Towards an institutional sociology of International Relations scholarship. International Studies Review 18(2): 333-336. PDF
How does the organization of social scientific fields, education policies, and related institutional transformations condition the production and diffusion of scholarly knowledge about world politics? In an upcoming International Studies Review forum, Félix Grenier and I seek to promote a more dedicated engagement with the disciplines’ institutional sociology. The ambition of the forum, which brings together contributions from Inanna Hamati-Ataya, Tom Biersteker, Thierry Balzacq, Marina Lebedeva, Jason Lane and Martin Müller, is to highlight the diversity of sites and settings where specialized knowledge about international relations is produced, shaped and re-instantiated.
Hagmann, Jonas; Lebedeva, Marina (forthcoming). Teaching (as) statist practice: Diplomatic schools as sites of international education. International Studies Review. PDF
Grenier, Félix; Hagmann, Jonas (forthcoming). Sites of knowledge (re-)production: Towards an institutional sociology of International Relations scholarship. International Studies Review. PDF
What happens to foreign politics when actors, things or processes are presented as threats? My first 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.
Hagmann, Jonas (2015). (In-)security and the production of international relations: The politics of securitisation in Europe. London/New York: Routledge, 244p. URL