Tracing the political history of the concept of ‘security’ through a variety of global, national and regional inflections, this paper argues for the analytical usefulness of the concept of ‘vernacular security’. Entailed by this concept is a proposal to treat ‘security’ as a socially situated and discursively defined practice open to comparison and to politically contextualised explication rather than as an analytical category that needs refined definition and consistent use. While the ideas and politics of security associated with the rise of global governance are built on late-modern ideas about what it means to be safe, global governance is not seamless in its extension. The apparent universalism of the ontology and politics of global security therefore breaks down into a more complex pattern upon closer inspection. Based on material from Indonesia, the paper suggests that the ‘onto-politics’ of security have global, national and local inflections, the interplay of which requires re-examination.
Security Dialogue, 2005, Vol 36, Issue 3, p. 275-296
Globalization; Security; Political Imagination; Ontological Uncertainty