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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Repositioning the front lines? Reflections on the ethnography of African securityscapes
Author:Hultin, NiklasISNI
Periodical:African security (ISSN 1939-2206)
Geographic terms:Africa
Subjects:national security
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19392206.2010.485856
Abstract:This article addresses Africa's absence in the ethnography of security and the methodological and analytical issues involved in filling this absence. It reviews writings by anthropologists and scholars in adjacent fields that take an ethnographic approach to political security and its institutions, and shows that this scholarship suggests two modes of critique beneficial to understanding security processes in Africa. One mode is contrastive and emphasizes vernacular conceptions of security, whereas the other is immanent and discursive (complementing 'securitization' and the Copenhagen School). The argument is that when it comes to African security, there is a significant body of work in the former vein but less in the latter vein. As a result, the conception of African 'otherness' is boosted to the detriment of a more nuanced understanding of formal African security actors. The essay ends with some methodological reflections on the ethnography of African security institutions, based on the author's research on small arms control in the Gambia. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]