[...] Castel draws the conclusion that 'to be protected is also to be threatened', it is to live in the penumbra of systems of securitization that raise expectations as to the levels of security possible while themselves being prone to failure. The following discussion redresses this oversight by incorporating recognition of the extent to which human subjects necessarily form identifications and passionate attachments to the persons, institutions and social imaginarles that they draw upon to be produced and to produce themselves.3 Of course, individualisation is liberating, it frees people from the constraints of authority, custom and convention.
NEGOTIATING INSECURITY: LAW, PSYCHOANALYTIC SOCIAL THEORY AND THE DILEMMAS OF THE WORLD RISK SOCIETY John D. Cash* –—…Yet in these societies surrounded and traversed by forms of protection, preoccupations over security remain omnipresent. It is impossible to evade the troubling character of this fact by pretending that the sense of insecurity is only a delusion of the rich who have forgotten the price of blood and of tears, and the time when life was harsh and cruel. It bears such social and political effects that it has well and truly become a part of our reality, even playing a large role in structuring our social experience. Let us agree: though the greatest forms of violence and social decline have been to a great extent repressed, concern over security is very much a popular preoccupation, in the strongest sense of that term. How can we make sense of this paradox? It leads to the hypothesis that it would be wrong to think of insecurity and the forms of protection as opposites, as if they belong to two contrary registers of collective experience. Modern insecurity stems not from the absence of protection, but almost from its opposite, it emerges from the unclarity of the scope of protection in a social universe that has been organized around the endless pursuit of protection and a frantic search for security. What does it mean to be protected in these conditions? It is not to be installed in the certainty of power, with absolute mastery over the risks of existence, but rather to live surrounded by systems of securitization that are complex and fragile constructions, and carry within them the risk of failing in their task and deceiving us by not living up to the expectations which their construction brought with them. The search for protections will itself create insecurity. The reason being that the sense of insecurity is not an immediate given of human consciousness. On the contrary, it is wedded to different historical configurations, because security and insecurity are used to indicate attitudes towards types of protection that a society assures, or does not assure, in an adequate manner. In other words, today to be protected is also to be threatened. The challenge to be raised will be to better * Dr. John Cash is an honorary Fellow in the School of Philosophy, Anthropology and Social Inquiry at the University of Melbourne. He is also an editor of the Journal of Postcolonial Studies. His publications include Identity, Ideology and Conflict; the structuration of politics in Northern Ireland, Cambridge University Press, and a series of articles and chapters that draw critically on social and psychoanalytic theory in order to develop novel approaches to the analysis of social relations, subjectivity and entrenched political and ethnic conflict. The most recent of these is ‘Squaring some vicious circles: transforming the political in Northern Ireland’ in Consociational Theory, Routledge, 2009. His forthcoming book, co-authored with Joy Damousi, is titled Footy Passions and will be published by UNSW Press later this year. He is also co-editing, with Gabriele Schwab, a book titled The Postcolonial Unconscious. A longer-term project focuses on ‘Insecurity’. Mailing address: School of Philosophy, Anthropology and Social Inquiry, University of Melbou
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