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PPR422: Security and Modernity
This course examines how modernity has problematised security and how, in the process, modern thought excites its own insecurities, and so teaches us what to fear. It will also examine how modern discourses of security are changing in response to the ways in which information, communication and bio-technologies are changing our understandings of what it is to be human and of the complexity of the relation between humans, machines and ecologies.
The assumption underlying the aims of the course is this: the history of security is a history of changing problematisations not the persistence of a universal value guiding the interests and practices of pre-formed subjects (individual or collective). We therefore think security in the way that we do because of the way we think and problematise existence, and subjects themselves are a function of such discourses. A discourse of security is simultaneously also a discourse of danger and insecurity.
To pursue its aim the course therefore draws upon ways of thinking - so-called post-structural and post-modern - that challenge modernist thought, notes the priority modern thought gives to securing and alerts us to ways in which securing endangers existence. It explores the thesis that the modern problematic of security amounts to a war against alterity; a self-defeating programme of mastery and violation of otherness whose processes of amplification and intensification have materially contributed to the production and globalisation of absolute endangeredness.
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Virillio, P, Pure War (Semiotext, 1998)
Virillio, P, Speed and Politics (Semiotext, 1991)
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|Department of Politics, Philos ophy and Religion County South, Lancaster University,
LA1 4YL, UK
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