Confronting the colonial: the (re)production of ‘African’ exceptionalism in critical security and military studies

Eriksson Baaz, Maria and Verweijen, Judith (2018) Confronting the colonial: the (re)production of ‘African’ exceptionalism in critical security and military studies. Security Dialogue, 49 (1-2). pp. 57-69. ISSN 0967-0106

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Drawing on postcolonial theory, this article queries into the ways in which the concepts of militarism/militarization and securitization are applied to ‘African’ contexts. We highlight the selective nature of such application and probe into the potential reasons for and effects of this selectiveness, focusing on its signifying work. As we argue, the current selective uses of securitization and militarism/militarization in ‘Africa’ scholarship tend to recreate troublesome distinctions between ‘developed’ versus ‘underdeveloped’ spaces within theory and methodology. In particular, they contribute to the reproduction of familiar colonially scripted imagery of a passive and traditional ‘Africa’, ruled by crude force and somehow devoid of ‘liberal’ ideas and modes of governing. Yet we do not suggest simply discarding ‘selectiveness’ or believe that there are any other easy remedies to the tensions between universalism and particularism in theory application. Recognizing the ambivalent workings of colonial discourse, we rather contend that any attempts to trace the colonial into the present use of the concepts of securitization and militarism/militarization need to acknowledge the problematic nature of both discourses of ‘African’ Otherness and those of universalism and sameness.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Depositing User: Judith Verweijen
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2018 08:52
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2023 10:43

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