Social Science Research Council Research AMP Mediawell

Security Regimes: Transnational and Imperial Entanglements

Grewal, Inderpal; Ghosh, Sahana; Al-Bulushi,
Annual Review of Anthropology

This article reviews key theoretical and methodological contributions that anthropologists have made to the study of what we call security regimes. While anthropologists have been instrumental in denaturalizing discourses of security, much of the existing literature on who security actors are or where their work and force are to be found remains focused on the masculinist frontlines and visibly spectacular instances of security state power. We adopt a transnational feminist lens to rethink what we understand security regimes to be and where they are to be found by drawing attention to the multiscalar sites (e.g., home, family, kinship, intimacy) and technologies of rule (e.g., affect, aesthetics, discourse) through which security regimes are constituted, expanded, and challenged. The final section of the review examines methodological and ethical challenges, which are made more complex by the changing profile of the multiply racialized, gendered, nationalized, and classed researchers of security regimes.