Chapter

Security and Insecurity on a Global “War on Terrorism”

Samuel Martínez

in International Migration and Human Rights

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780520258211
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942578 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520258211.003.0007
Security and Insecurity on a Global “War on Terrorism”

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This chapter introduces an ethnographic approach to security that attends to the lived experience of being constituted as a target on the domestic front of the United States' “War on Terrorism.” It examines a set of core social and psychological processes through which “national security” functions and is maintained. Such discussion illustrates not only the effect of “national security” within a particular community but also the emotions, memories, and experiences that are necessary for its constitution. It shows how the state's manufacturing of fear in response to the events of 9/11 has brought back to life a host of insecurities and anxieties that many had experienced in their countries of origin and thought they had escaped by coming to the United States. By paying close attention to these experiences, and the ways that pasts and presents can come to resemble one another, this chapter develops a framework for thinking about the state's response to 9/11 as not merely an extraordinary or excessive response to a singular event. Rather, it takes this lived sense of resemblance and familiarity as a significant commentary on emerging and enduring patterns of political legitimation and state authority.

Keywords: national security; war on terrorism; Arab-muslim immigrant; psychological processes; political legitimation

Chapter.  6834 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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