event details

Panel Title: High-Tech (In-)Security: The Rise of International Security Fairs

The civil security sector is a high-growth market with a current turnover of ca. EUR 100 Bn. More than 70 trade fairs are scheduled worldwide for 2013, many of them with a regional or global character, such as the biannual ‘Security Essen’ in Germany with over 1,000 exhibitors and 40,000 visitors from 115 countries, or the annual ‘CounterTerrorExpo’ in London which claims to be the “largest international event to mitigate threats, protect against terrorist attacks, and understand current modern day risks”. Those events bring together Government and European Commission officials, Intelligence and Military, public and private sector Critical Infrastructure operators, Police and Emergency Services. Parallel to the exhibitions, expert workshops “bring clarity to the most critical and topical” security issues, “deliver insight and perspective on the range of threats faced” and “define operational strategies to help shape future policy”.

This panel explores security fairs as novel organizational ecologies where diverse stakeholders, technological artefacts, and meaning production converge in order to construe a dangerous, hyper-securitized world along with its high-tech fix. Beyond being places of security commodification, such fairs are major loci for sense-making and agenda setting of threat diagnoses and therapies. The availability of cutting-edge technological gadgets promotes modernist fantasies of control along with a supply-driven market-economy ethics. What is more, it seems that it is the solutions which define the problem and not vice versa: Narrow, high-tech biased understandings of comprehensive societal problems normalize the application of surveillance and detection as appropriate and acceptable solutions.

The panel invites papers which reflect upon this trend, and its implications for the politics and policies of security.

Please contact us with paper proposals (150-200 words) by 23 February 2013!

Submission deadline 24 February 2013 under

Chair: Georgios Kolliarakis, University of Frankfurt

Discussant: Claudia Aradau, King’s College