OVERHEATED SECURITY? The Securitisation of Climate Change and the Governmentalisation of Security

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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10900/84633
Dokumentart: PhDThesis
Date: 2020-05-15
Language: English
Faculty: 6 Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Politikwissenschaft
Advisor: Diez, Thomas (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2018-05-16
DDC Classifikation: 300 - Social sciences, sociology and anthropology
320 - Political science
333.7 - Natural resources and energy
Keywords: Klima , Klimaänderung , Sicherheit , Umwelt , Politik
Other Keywords: Umweltpolitik
kritische Sicherheitsforschung
environmental studies
Climate change
global warming
critical security studies
environmental studies
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Since the mid-2000s, climate change has become one of the defining security issues in political as well as academic debates and amongst others has repeatedly been discussed in the UN Security Council and countless high level government reports in various countries. Beyond the question whether the characterisation as ‘security issue’ is backed up by any robust empirical findings, this begs the question whether the ‘securitisation’ of climate change itself has had tangible political consequences. Moreover, within this research area there is still a lively discussion about which security conceptions apply, how to conceptualise (successful) securitisation and whether it is a (politically and normatively) desirable approach to deal with climate change. The aim of this dissertation is to shed light on these issues and particularly to contribute to a more thorough understanding of different forms or ‘discourses’ of securitisation and their political effects on a theoretical and empirical level. Theoretically, it conceptualises securitisation as resting on different forms of power, which are derived from Michel Foucault’s governmentality lectures. The main argument is that this framework allows me to better capture the ambiguous and diverse variants of securitisation and the ever-changing concept of security as well as to come to a more thorough understanding of the political consequences and powerful effects of constructing issues in terms of security. Empirically, the thesis looks at three country cases, namely the United States, Germany and Mexico. This comparative angle allows me to go beyond the existing literature on the securitisation of climate change that mostly looks at the global level, and to come to a more comprehensive and detailed understanding of different climate security discourses and their political consequences. Concerning the main results, the thesis finds that climate change has indeed been securitised very differently in the three countries and thus has facilitated diverse political consequences. These range from an incorporation of climate change into the defence sector in the US, the legitimisation of far-reaching climate policies in Germany, to the integration of climate change into several civil protection and agricultural insurance schemes in Mexico. Moreover, resting on different forms of power, the securitisation of climate change has played a key role in constructing specific actors and forms of knowledge as legitimate as well as in shaping certain identities in the face of the dangers of climate change. From a normative perspective, neither of these political consequences is purely good or bad but highly ambiguous and necessitates a careful, contextual assessment.

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