In the name of (de)securitization: speaking security to protect migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons?

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

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Abstract

A guiding concern of this article is to examine how the protection of migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) is being spoken about and framed. Today it is evident that the dominant responses of sovereign States to each of these groups issues is heavily reliant on the language of security and (de)securitization. Indeed, this article openly conceptualizes ongoing attempts to protect migrants, refugees and IDPs as a series of overlapping (de)securitized games. At least three arguments follow from this claim. First, adopting this approach serves as a reminder that the ways in which we speak about different groups of people are spoken about often constitutes a dividing line between life and death. A second point illustrated here is that the language games of (de)securitization are not identical vary when it comes to protecting different groups. Third, using securitization as the theoretical point of departure provides a timely reminder that none of the three categorizations listed above is guaranteed to apply. On the contrary, the adoption of each linguistic label – migrant, refugee, IDP – is subject to and dependent upon audience acceptance. Remembering the latter dimension is imperative to fully comprehend the ongoing contestations and countermoves currently underway to respond to people moving in search of security. By way of conclusion, this article contends that far more attention must be paid to broader understandings of acceptance and love to ensure the protection of migrants, refugees and IDPs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages241-261
Volume99
No.904
Specialist publicationInternational Review of the Red Cross
PublisherInternational Review of the Red Cross
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2018

Keywords

  • Securitization
  • Migration
  • Refugees
  • Internally displaced persons
  • Language game
  • Acceptance
  • Love

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