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Rejection of securitization causes the state to become more interventionist—turns the K

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Rejection of securitization causes the state to become more interventionist—turns the K

Tara McCormack, ’10, is Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Leicester and has a PhD in International Relations from the University of Westminster. 2010, (Critique, Security and Power: The political limits to emancipatory approaches, page 127-129)

The following section will briefly raise some questions about the rejection of the old security framework as it has been taken up by the most powerful institutions and states. Here we can begin to see the political limits to critical and emancipatory frameworks. In an international system which is marked by great power inequalities between states, the rejection of the old narrow national interest-based security framework by major international institutions, and the adoption of ostensibly emancipatory policies and policy rhetoric, has the consequence of problematising weak or unstable states and allowing international institutions or major states a more interventionary role, yet without establishing mechanisms by which the citizens of states being intervened in might have any control over the agents or agencies of their emancipation. Whatever the problems associated with the pluralist security framework there were at least formal and clear demarcations. This has the consequence of entrenching international power inequalities and allowing for a shift towards a hierarchical international order in which the citizens in weak or unstable states may arguably have even less freedom or power than before. Radical critics of contemporary security policies, such as human security and humanitarian intervention, argue that we see an assertion of Western power and the creation of liberal subjectivities in the developing world. For example, see Mark Duffield’s important and insightful contribution to the ongoing debates about contemporary international security and development. Duffield attempts to provide a coherent empirical engagement with, and theoretical explanation of, these shifts. Whilst these shifts, away from a focus on state security, and the so-called merging of security and development are often portrayed as positive and progressive shifts that have come about because of the end of the Cold War, Duffield argues convincingly that these shifts are highly problematic and unprogressive. For example, the rejection of sovereignty as formal international equality and a presumption of nonintervention has eroded the division between the international and domestic spheres and led to an international environment in which Western NGOs and powerful states have a major role in the governance of third world states. Whilst for supporters of humanitarian intervention this is a good development, Duffield points out the depoliticising implications, drawing on examples in Mozambique and Afghanistan. Duffield also draws out the problems of the retreat from modernisation that is represented by sustainable development. The Western world has moved away from the development policies of the Cold War, which aimed to develop third world states industrially. Duffield describes this in terms of a new division of human life into uninsured and insured life. Whilst we in the West are ‘insured’ – that is we no longer have to be entirely self-reliant, we have welfare systems, a modern division of labour and so on – sustainable development aims to teach populations in poor states how to survive in the absence of any of this. Third world populations must be taught to be self-reliant, they will remain uninsured. Self-reliance of course means the condemnation of millions to a barbarous life of inhuman bare survival. Ironically, although sustainable development is celebrated by many on the left today, by leaving people to fend for themselves rather than developing a society wide system which can support people, sustainable development actually leads to a less human and humane system than that developed in modern capitalist states. Duffield also describes how many of these problematic shifts are embodied in the contemporary concept of human security. For Duffield, we can understand these shifts in terms of Foucauldian biopolitical framework, which can be understood as a regulatory power that seeks to support life through intervening in the biological, social and economic processes that constitute a human population (2007: 16). Sustainable development and human security are for Duffield technologies of security which aim to create self-managing and self-reliant subjectivities in the third world, which can then survive in a situation of serious underdevelopment (or being uninsured as Duffield terms it) without causing security problems for the developed world. For Duffield this is all driven by a neoliberal project which seeks to control and manage uninsured populations globally. Radical critic Costas Douzinas (2007) also criticises new forms of cosmopolitanism such as human rights and interventions for human rights as a triumph of American hegemony. Whilst we are in agreement with critics such as Douzinas and Duffield that these new security frameworks cannot be empowering, and ultimately lead to more power for powerful states, we need to understand why these frameworks have the effect that they do. We can understand that these frameworks have political limitations without having to look for a specific plan on the part of current powerful states. In new security frameworks such as human security we can see the political limits of the framework proposed by critical and emancipatory theoretical approaches.

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