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School of Politics and International Relations

Workshop on Political Economy, State Transformation and the New Security Agenda

7 March 2013 - 8 March 2013

Time: 9:30am - 2:00pm
Venue: The Colette Bowe Room, Queens' Building, Queen Mary's Mile End campus

Centre for the Study of Global Security and Development, Queen Mary, University of London

Since the Cold War, ‘non-traditional’ security threats have increasingly occupied policymakers, scholars and the public. These challenges - which include terrorism, environmental degradation and transnational crime - typically traverse state boundaries, leading many to claim that traditional, state-based governance is no longer adequate and to promote new forms of transnational security governance. However, the governance of non-traditional security varies considerably across time, space and issue area. This workshop explores specifically how political economy relations shape the politics and governance of new security threats.

Governments often highlight the growing vulnerability of societies, fostered by the intensification of economic flows across borders, to problems such as terrorism, crime and climate change, referring to such challenges as the ‘dark side of globalisation’. Furthermore, identifying an issue as a security threat and seeking to rescale its governance naturally touches – directly or indirectly – on the interests of particular industries. Seeking to interdict transnational terrorist financing affects banking and financial institutions; containing the spread of animal-to-human diseases affects agricultural interests; tackling pollution threatens the operations of polluting industries. Correspondingly, business interests frequently shape the political processes by which new forms of security governance emerge and their efficacy. The political economy context is also likely to shape the position and power of other actors involved in these processes.

Despite these apparent links, here has been surprisingly little systematic exploration of the political economy of security governance. Therefore, key questions to be addressed in the workshop include:

  • How does the relationship between particular economic sectors and transnational security issues affect whether these issues become ‘securitised’?
  • What is the role of private actors, including businesses and nongovernmental organisations, in political efforts to create or resist transnational forms of security governance?
  • In the process, what new relationships are being forged between these private actors and state institutions?
  • How are such changes affecting the overall shape, size and legitimacy of states and broader state-society relations?
  • How are broad transformations in the global political economy enabling or constraining changes in security agendas and governance?
  • Are economic flows themselves increasingly generating transnational security problems and/or being threatened by them?

A limited number of spaces are available for non-presenters to attend and contribute to the discussion. Please email Helen Blockley to register your interest. Refreshments and lunch will be provided both days. The workshop will be held at Queen Mary's Mile End campus. The full agenda is below.

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