Scholarship discusses security practices – or ways of identifying and dealing with perceived threats – primarily with reference to the doings of states and their associated organs (the military, the police, etc.). This is particularly so for Asia, where security-related questions usually revolve around issues such as inter-state rivalry, armament and arms races, regime stability, state fragility and the fight against organised crime and terrorism. Notwithstanding this prevailing focus, a number of recent publications have called for a stronger attention to how in/security plays out equally in the comparatively mundane, everyday lives of different people. All people, the argument goes, think about and theorise security as they go about their daily business, in turn devising their very own means for coming to terms with a variety of endangering contingencies.
Everyday security practices have been studied in Europe and North America, often with a view to how the “war on terror” and fears of terrorist attacks inform day-to-day activities and behaviours. Throughout many regions of Asia, moreover, a rich body of ethnographic work has traced the pro-active coping strategies and mechanisms of socially marginalised groups. We believe that much of this research can be fruitfully linked to ongoing debates in (Critical) Security Studies. At the very least, it emphasises the heterogeneity of security-making and thus expands and possibly even challenges the highly state-centric accounts dominating academic inquiries. This is not to say that local security practices necessarily persist in a distinct space of their own. Indeed, they may be interwoven with national or global scales in complex ways. The Special Issue wants to assemble a broad collection of scholarly works that highlight the diversity of how in/security concerns inform and structure everyday life in Asia.
We invite contributions with empirical findings on micro-level security/coping practices in Asia. These should be discussed and reflected in terms of their relevance for gaining a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of the meanings of in/security in the region. Whereas we welcome articles on the everyday security practices of any social group, we particularly encourage contributions on marginalised people – especially those who cannot rely on the state or police for protection and therefore have to come up with their own, creative ways for securing themselves. Possible questions include: How do people imagine in/security? What do they consider threatening, and what worth securing? How do they go about security in their daily routine and perhaps even unconscious activities? And how do these practices possibly differ from or, on the contrary, reflect either global or national security paradigms?
Prospective contributors to the Special Issue are invited to send a short 150-200 word proposal to Marc von Boemcken at boemcken [at] bicc.de by 20 November 2017.
The proposal should detail the empirical focus and main research questions addressed. Selected contributors will be invited to submit their full article for peer review by 31st January 2018 with a prospective publication in the journal in mid-2018.