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(University of Klagenfurt)
Paper short abstract:
The paper traces the concept of urgency in various security-related areas and argues that urgency is a "controlling process" (Nader). Invoking urgency in the present is a performative practice that projects a threatening future scenario and creates a permanently imminent crisis that prompts action.
Paper long abstract:
Urgency is a leitmotif in the current conjuncture, from climate change debates and migration policies to even management literature. For security scholars, the concept of urgency is pivotal yet so far underresearched, because it is in the notion of urgency where temporality and emergency are condensed and mutually reinforce each other. The urgency of an issue is formulated in the present but holds projections for a potentially apocalyptic future scenario. Therefore, unsurprisingly, urgency is an important part of securitization processes and affective populist politics that present imagined threats as imminent. Urgency as a political practice is central in creating insecurity and stirring up fears. The paper links the concepts of urgency and the state of exception to the study of emotions. It seeks to trace the concept of urgency in various security-related domains and argues that urgency is a "controlling process" (Nader 1994, 1997) in late modernity that shapes the actors' habitus and (re)produces a social order. It is an emotional and political practice which pervades many domains of social and political life. The dogma of urgency creates a permanently imminent crisis that prompts action. It is the opposite of deliberation, the ultimate affective politics.
The Future in Security: ethnographies of security at the edge of tomorrow [Anthropology of Security Network, ASN]