E3: How can we make room for a different kind of security discourse?

In part two of our series on the politics of security, Calvin and Alex analyze two recent “artifacts” of national security discourse – General John Kelly’s October 2017 press conference addressing why the U.S. has troops in Niger (and elsewhere), and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Office’s January 2017 report on Russian “activities and intentions” in U.S. elections. The ensuing conversation explores how national security figures establish an authoritative, dominating narrative and close off the possibility of dissent through their language, and ends with a meditation on a radically different way of thinking about “security.” Plus, Ryan Mitchell solicits people’s associations with the term “national security” in a new edition of re:verberations.


Works and concepts mentioned in this episode:

Chilton, P. A. (1996). Security metaphors: Cold war discourse from containment to common house (Vol. 2). Peter Lang Pub Incorporated.

Chilton, P. A. (1996). The meaning of security. In R. Hariman (Ed), Post-realism: The rhetorical turn in international relations, 193-216. East, Lansing, MI: MSU Press.

The DNI report on “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”:

Full report: https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf

John Kelly’s press conference:

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BxsCyS6Y8U (question on Niger comes @ 11:53)


Further reading on security discourse, particularly the "container" metaphor:

Brown, W. (2017). Walled states, waning sovereignty. Boston, MA: MIT Press.

Campbell, D. (1992). Writing security: United States foreign policy and the politics of identity. Minneapolis, MN: U of Minnesota Press.