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The International Collaboratory on Critical Methods in Security Studies project ran between 2009 and 2011. The content of this website is an archive for reference only.


Visuality as a method of studying visual security

When studying different aspects of the visuality of security I have lonk been frustrated by the need to translate anything visual into verbal forms and subjugate it to the verbal mode of thinking and reasoning.

On participatory research and the 'third space'

Today I just read again the draft that Lara sent us some months ago. There she makes an argument against participatory observation – which is becoming so popular now in IR and Security studies – saying that this method draws a line between the observer and the observed. Yet more important, participatory observation means that the observer can afford not to be always connected with those observed – she can always leave the site, unlike the people for which the ‘site’ is a daily struggle.

UK Emergency Services Show

Today I attended the ‘Emergency Services Show’ in Coventry.  The show provides a forum for in which emergency services personnel (from front-line services and local resilience teams to the Cabinet Office) can network with other and, more significantly, purchase from the many vendors selling a range of equipment and products geared to the needs of emergency responders.  The show is interesting in many respects, not least insofar as it quite clearly displays the relation between commerce and the production of ‘insec

Visuality and IR [coming back from the SGIR conference in Stockholm]

The 7th conference of the Standing Group in International Relations was held in Stockholm, Sweden. Entitled with “Politics in Hard Time: International Relations Responses to the Financial Crisis” it consisted of a variety of sections addressing not only economic and political issues, but also questions of popular culture and visuality.

What is 'critical' about 'critical security studies' ? [thoughts for Stockholm roundtable]

 For a long time, in International Relations and Security Studies at least, to be ‘critical’ is almost entirely congruent to being against the established Realist and Positivist tradition. This is associated with the end of the Cold War, and with the drastic changes that were made possible or enabled in our way of thinking by that moment. Twenty years after, critical IR theory (and a great part of Security thinking as well) seems to be still blocked in a perceived necessity to provide arguments against the pre-1990 tradition.

Working across clusters

How can we work across our clusters on methodological questions?
During one of the discussions at the Medialab on Monday I thought that one ways of doing this would be to start from the kind of data and their representation we look at:

At the Medialab in Paris: Expertise and de-professionalisation

I am in the space-crafty medialab in Paris. Hidden in the basement of Science Po Paris, a workshop on digital methods and social traceability is taking place. It is organised by the Medialab, the CERI (Centre d?etudes internationals), and CRESC (Centre for Research in Socio-Cultural Change). One of the issues is how the digital is changing who can claim expertise as well as the methodologies through which this can be claimed.

Visuality and War - reporting on a workshop

The Research Programme Securities at the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance ( organized a two day workshop on visuality and war. It brought together scholars from art history, film analysis, international relations, sociology, and archeology to discuss the visualization of war.

Objects of security

Securitisation has been seen as largely part of the linguistic and social constructivist turn in international relations. Risk, security, disaster and war have been unpacked as discursive and institutional practices that constitute both that which is to be secured and the threat. As a performative and intersubjective practice, securitisation has largely ignored the role of ‘things’ in the articulation of insecurities.