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Durham University

Department of English Studies


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Publication details for Dr Marc Botha

Botha, Marc (2016). Toward a Critical Poetics of Securitization: A response to Anker, Castronovo, Harkins, Masterson, and Williams. American Literary History 28(4): 779-786.

Author(s) from Durham


In this brief set of responses to the five challenging and insightful articles gathered above under the banner, Security Studies and American Literary History, I draw attention to a particularly pressing area for future research on the relation between security and literary studies: the distinction of security from securitization and the implications this has for the constitution and lived experience of contemporary subjectivity. My contention is that there is a diminishing relation between the secure subject and the securitized subject. A critical poetics of securitization capable of exposing this growing rift with greater clarity thus constitutes a significant program for the broad field of literary studies. It also potentially provides the means for contesting the internal logic and relations between concepts such as vulnerability, fragility, and precarity on the one hand, and of adaptation, resilience, and robustness on the other. A critical poetics of securitization further promises to shed light on the techniques and technologies of neoliberalism as dominant paradigm, drawing particular attention to its implications for the constitution of contemporary political subjectivity and the tensions which persist between virtual and visceral subjects, and between the biopolitical abstraction of bodies and the politics of viscerality that witnesses their return.

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