Deep securitization and Israel's "Demographic Demon"

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Abstract

Securitization theory's core contention-the social construction of security as a "speech-act"-is perceptive and productive, yet insufficiently attentive to societies engulfed in profound existential uncertainty about their own survival. Such societies are immersed in what I call "deep securitization," whereby widespread public discourses explicitly frame threats as probable, protracted, and endangering the very existence of the nation/state. Under deep securitization, to politicize is to securitize, sectors intensely intertwine, political legitimacy's object is the polity/identity itself, and securitization steps are typically nonbinary and nonlinear. Empirically, if some securitizations are deeper than others, Israel's is one of the deepest. In this study, I examine this exceptionally apt, though little-examined, case for securitization theory. Israeli public discourse abounds with "existential threats," invariably depicting the Jewish people and polity as endangered. The article analyzes the securitization of demography and its linkage to geography and democracy in the Israeli-Jewish discourse and praxis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-415
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Political Sociology
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014

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