Security and Morality

An open conference on the nexus of morality and security.  

Hvitt datasenter

Security is omnipresent in today’s politics and media; we are bombarded with images and narratives of proliferating internal and external security threats, conflicts, destabilization of international relations, chaos, and disorder.

Many of these striking cultural products of the current politics of fear serve to legitimize new modes of surveillance, expansions of military and other policies in the name of security.

Moral discourses are often mobilized to justify new security measures or legitimize increased spending on defense, while themselves predicated upon on implicit moral judgements.

And yet, questions of morality have been conspicuously left out as a clear object of analysis in respect to the study of security and securitization by anthropologists, despite the strong tradition of ‘anthropology of moralities'. 

This conference sets out to investigate:

  1. The significance of diverse moral legitimizations and constructions of moral authority in security discourses and practices over time.
  2. The lived experiences of morality and ethics related to security (Feldman 2016).
  3. Different forms of ‘securitization of moral values’ (Østbø 2017)
  4. The ethical problems related to anthropologists’ and historians’ own involvement in security institutions and to the larger structures of funding of research for security.


Conference Program

Full conference program (PDF)

March 28.

09:30 Registration & Coffee

10:00 Welcome by organizers

Session 1

10:15 -10:45

Moral and Ethical Challenges in Ethnographic Observation in Prison Settings.
Catarina Frois

10:45 -11:15

Staging Sovereignty: Punitivity, Xenophobia, and the Frail Society
Victor L. Shammas

11:15 - 11:30 Coffee Break

Session 2

11:30 - 12:00

Security State, Honor, and Anti-Establishment Resentment
Tereza Kuldova

12:00 -12:30

Honor as the Moral Culture of Russia’s Security Establishment

Jardar Østbø

12:30 -13:00

‘Securing the Island’: Paradoxes of Fear and Moral Regeneration in Vanuatu

Tom Bratrud

13:00 -14:30 Lunch Break

Session 3

14:30 -15:00

A State of Suspicion: Countering ‘radicalization’ into ‘violent extremism’ in Norway.
Sindre Bangstad

15:00 -15:30

‘How to Prevent Radicalization: Narratives and Logics in the Policy of Preventing Islamist Radicalization of Adolescents in Germany.
Leonie Thal

15:30 - 16:00 Coffee Break

16:00 - 17:00 Keynote Lecture.

Constructing the ‘Crimmigrant Other’: Towards the Moral Economy of Migration Control.
Katja Franko

17:00 -18:00

Refreshments & Socializing

March 29

09:30 Coffee & snacks

Session 1

10:00 - 10:30
Humanitarianism, Security and the Resilience Agenda: The Ethical Quandaries of Aid in Jordan and Lebanon.
Malay Firoz

10:30 - 11:00
Contesting the Moral Frames of Aid Work: Humanitarian Ideology on Trial.
Kristin Bergtora Sandvik

11:00 - 11:15 Coffee Break

Session 2

11:15 -11:45
Knowledge Makes You Safe: Risk Management Workshops and Production of (in)Security. Kamila Grześkowiak

11:45 -12:15
Self-protective Practices of Crime Victims and the Discourse on Security.
Ulf Borelius & Stig Grundvall

12:15 - 13:30

Lunch break & EASA Anthropology of Security Network Meeting

Session 3

13:30 - 14:00

The Morality of Studying Security: Divergent Perspectives and the Dilemmas of the Anthropologist-expert.
Tessa G. Diphoorn & Erella Grassiani

14:00 - 14:30

‘We Defend Healthy Moral Values’: Theorizing the Nexus Between Security and Morality
Ana Ivasiuc

14:30 – 15:00 Coffee Break

Session 4

15:00 - 15:30

Claims on Community: Moral Authority and Racialized Security Logics in U.S. Community Policing.
Jessica Katzenstein

15:30 - 16:00

Internal Affairs: Family Expectations and Entanglements for Mexican Police Officers.
Adina Radosh Sverdlin

16:00 - 16:15 Coffee Break

16:15 - 17:00

Book Launch of Security Blurs: The Politics of Plural Security Provision ed. by Tessa Diphoorn and Erella Grassiani

17:00 - 18:00

Refreshments & Discussion about possible publication venues

The conference is jointly funded by EASA (European Association of Social Anthropologists), University of Oslo, and LMU Munich.



Tereza Kuldova, Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History, Alexandra Schwell, LMU and Monika Weissensteiner, University of Kent
Published Feb. 28, 2019 11:25 AM - Last modified Nov. 8, 2019 2:50 PM