'Vigilantism and Intentional Everyday Security acts: The Golden Dawn and the Demand for Security

Open to the Public
Nador u. 9, Faculty Tower
Room 309
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 3:30pm
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Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 3:30pm to 5:10pm

In critical security studies, the recent focus on everyday acts and non-acts of security has been motivated by a desire to conceive of an alternative to exceptionalism. Looking at quotidian and mundane ‘little security nothings’ is meant to break with the elitist project of exceptionalism and focus instead on dispersed, contingent, routinal everyday practices, in which acts and decisions are no longer crucial. The corollary of this move is an emphasis on non-intentionality of everyday practices: the strategic acts of the exceptionalist view are replaced with habits and taken-for-granted routines. I argue that such a move retains an elitist moment, in that it places the observer of these practices in a superior position vis-a-vis the actant. In contrast to this, I look at the practices of vigilantism, and more concretely, of the Golden Dawn group in Greece. The patrols of the Golden Dawn are enacting practices of security that can be considered to be at the same time autonomous from the state, and scope-oriented. I thus pose the possibility of security practices that are both non-elitist and intentional. The acts of security that vigilante groups like the Golden Dawn perform are not exceptionalist decisions of rupture, they do not have the potential to break with an existing order, as the acts of a sovereign would do. At the same time, they are practices that have specific goals with a clear defined ideology behind them. In the case of the Golden Dawn, this is a right-wing ideology, which articulates a vision of security that implies a series of violent exclusions. I focus on how this vision is part of the demand for security voiced by certain segments of society. I highlight a number of implications of this demand, which are related to its status of being distinct from the security practices and discourses of the state.

Manuel Mireanu is a PhD student in the Doctoral School of Political Science, IR track. His doctoral project is concerned with vigilante security practices in Italy, Hungary and Greece. His research interests revolve around Critical Security Studies, and he is also interested in International political sociology and the nexus between security studies and criminology.