CFP: Securitization of non-human lives and spaces

CFP: Securitization of non-human lives and spaces

2019 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers

Washington, DC, April 3-7

Hannah G. Dickinson, University of Sheffield
Laszlo Cseke, Polytechnic University of Turin/University of Turin


Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, Durham University


Sponsored by the Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group


This session welcomes papers that explore the notion of ‘security’ and ‘securitization’ from the perspectives of animal/more-than-human geographies.

The study of security in its myriad forms has to-date been deeply anthropocentric. However it is increasingly recognised that ‘security’ is not solely about the practice of ‘securing’ human lives and bodies, but is concurrently about the security of non-human lives (Mitchell, 2017).

Although ‘environmental security’ approaches in the 1990s highlighted that domains other than humanity are important elements in the security landscape (Dalby, 2002), these approaches actually served to re-inscribe the separation of humans from other non-human beings and spaces, thereby securitizing ‘humanity’ as a category of beings that threaten and are threatened by the rest of ‘nature’ (Cudworth & Hobden, 2017).

Since then geographers and other environmental social scientists have attempted to radically de-centre the human as the single ‘bottom line’ of security. In the development of ‘worldly’ approaches (Mitchell, 2014) which emphasize the interconnectedness and relational nature of security threats, scholars have considered the ‘more-than-human’ security dimensions of issues such as: climate change (McDonald, 2018); infectious disease control (Braun, 2013); the intensification of livestock farming; human-wildlife contact/conflict; and biodiversity conservation (Massé & Lunstrum, 2016).

Despite the growing body of ‘post-human’ or ‘more-than-human’ engagements with security, the dominant focus of security/securitization continues to be the human (Cudworth & Hobden, 2017). Only recently geographers have started to push the ‘discourse and practice of securitization into new spaces and into the bodies of nonhuman organisms’ (Johnson, 2016:61).

Therefore, this session is interested in expanding the ways in which geographers engage with security and securitization, advocating for less anthropocentric perspectives. We ask if, and how, posthumanist and other more-than-human theoretical lenses can help us to reimagine security/securitization in an alternative way, and how these alternative viewpoints on security can affect our relations with non-human beings.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • More-than-human relational approaches to security

  • Securitization of wildlife conservation

  • Intensive farming practices and security

  • Fear and the securitization of human–non-human relations

  • Immunological/Biological perspectives on the securitization of non-human lives and spaces

If you are interested in participating in this session, please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words, your name, affiliation, and e-mail address, to and by 20th October. All accepted participants will be required to register and submit their abstract to the AAG by 25th October and provide us with their PIN number by 26th October.



Braun, B. (2013) Power over life: biosecurity as biopolitics. In: Dobson, A., Barker, K. & Taylor, S. L. (eds) Biosecurity: The Socio-Politics of Invasive Species and Infectious Diseases. Abingdon and New York: Routledge. pp. 45–58.


Cudworth E. & Hobden S. (2017) Post-human Security. In: Burke A., Parker R. (eds) Global Insecurity. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 65–81.

Dalby, S. (2002) Security and ecology in the age of globalization. Environmental Change and Security Report. 8: 95–108.

Johnson, E. R. (2016) Governing Jellyfish: Eco-Security and Planetary ‘Life’ in the Anthropocene, In: Braverman, I. (ed) Animals, Biopolitics, Law: Lively Legalities. Abingdon and New York: Routledge. pp. 59–76.

Massé, F. & Lunstrum, E. (2016) ‘Accumulation by Securitization Commercial poaching, neoliberal conservation, and the creation of new wildlife frontiers. Geoforum. 69: 227–237.

McDonald, M. (2018) Climate Change and Security: Towards Ecological Security? International Theory. 10 (2): 153–180.

Mitchell, A. (2017) Post-human security: Reflections from an Open-Ended Conversation. In: Eroukhmanoff, C., Harker, M. (eds) Reflections on the Posthuman in International Relations: Anthropocene, Security and Ecology. Bristol: E-International Relations Publishing. pp. 10–18.

Mitchell, A. (2014) Only human? A worldly approach to security. Security Dialogue. 45 (1): 5–21

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