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Security, Technologies of Risk, and the Political COST ACTION A24: The evolving social construction

Date: 23 November 2006 Time: 9.00 am

COST ACTION A24: The evolving social construction of threats23- 24 November 2006London, UK


While risk has permeated current security practices, from migration to terrorism, from the environment to society, theoretical reflection in International Relations has lagged behind. Moreover, cross-disciplinary work on the concept of risk and practices of risk management, as well as their political implications, has been restricted. The objective of this seminar is to set up a network to discuss the emerging relationships between security, technologies of risk and the political. It aims at beginning a sustained discussion on what the risk agenda means for security studies, the implications of its perspectives of study, the political implications of governing and imagining the political in terms of risk.

Risk is far from a uniform concept. Different approaches to risk are predicated over different approaches to the meaning of 'the political' and '(in)security'. The workshop plans to bring together multi-disciplinary perspectives that tackle the question of risk from the perspective of different sociological approaches (Ulrich Beck, Nikolas Luhmann, Anthony Giddens), governmentality (Michel Foucault, Francois Ewald, Nikolas Rose, Ian Hacking, Robert Castel), criminology (Pat O'Malley, Jonathan Simon), political theory (Jean-Pierre Dupuy), accountancy (Power, Miller), as well as others.

The project has emerged out of an already established network of Security and International Security scholars facilitated by the COST Doctoral Training School on 'Critical Approaches to Security in Europe' funded through Action A24 in Paris (June 2005), and a panel on Risk and Security held at the 48th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association in San Diego, Ca. (March 2006).

Specific aims and objectives:

•Analyse different intersections of the concepts of risk and security in contemporary security policies•Focus on the applications of such intersections within contemporary security discourse, specifically within the European Union•Research epistemological changes in Security Studies that result from the intersection of risk and security •Explore social, political, economic and ethical implications of security discourses premised on the intersection of security and risk

Papers in the following areas are welcome, although other areas could be considered and we remain open to suggestions:

•Insurance, life assurance, and security•Terrorism and insurance•European security policy and risk•Risk, security and development•The governance of insured vs. uninsured populations •Risk, international organisations, NGOs, and development aid agencies•Health, risk and security: biopolitical approaches to security through the promotion of health and the development of biomedical sciences•Risk, diplomacy, and defence•Risk in relation to the calculability/incalculability of life•Risk, the political and the international

How to apply?

A one-page abstract, including e-mail address and institutional affiliation, should be submitted before September 15 as an attachment (word/rtf file) to the following addresses:,, and

Participants will be notified before September 19 and at that time a draft program will be published. The housing and travel expenses of paper presenters will be funded by COST according to standard rates. Others might need to find additional funding.Guest Speakers and discussants:Michael Dillon (Lancaster)Michael Power (London School of Economics) tbcMikkel Vedby Rasmussen (University of Copenhagen)

Jef Huysmans (Open University, UK)Ole Wæver (University of Copenhagen)


Claudia Aradau (The Open University,

Luis Lobo-Guerrero (Lancaster University,

Rens Van Munster (University of Southern Denmark,



Who can attend:


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Politics and International Relations


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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