In search of security: Migrant agency, narrative and performativity

Alexandria Innes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
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This article explores a performative conceptualization of security, foregrounding the experiences of an asylum seeker from Ghana in Greece, named Sonny. This article follows Sonny’s search for security, analyzing both his journey to Greece and to refugee status (something that he was still waiting for) and the narrative through which he told his story to me. I argue that Sonny’s search for security illustrates how security might be produced by security seeking actions performed by an agent other than the state. It accesses security on an ontological level that is performative in that security is constituted through actions, and is known through attending to experience. This security allows for incorporation of intersectional identities, subaltern identities and diverse experiences. The argument is situated in the context of migration and the migrant journey as offering unique scope for analysis in international relations that is capable of moving beyond the state. It briefly surveys the human security and feminist security literatures to elaborate on the value of conceptualizing security as a practice and as an experience of everyday life, rather than an object to be obtained. To offer purchase on the performative conceptualization of security narrative analysis foregrounds Sonny’s agency to seek security, juxtaposing his feeling of security and process of security with the material security that was provided to him as an asylum seeker in Greece.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-283
Number of pages21
Issue number2
Early online date25 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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