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Christopher Leite (email@example.com)
University of Ottawa, School of Political Studies Faculty of Social Sciences 55 Laurier Avenue East Desmarais Building Room 9101 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 6N5
Abstract This paper argues that the focus of security has shifted from the protection of one set of individuals from another, to an emphasis on how the act of rendering secure constructs a particular presentation of what individuals are. As such, the central argument of this paper has three premises. First, security itself is defined by the practices of identity-formation in which it engages. Second, identity-formation cannot be taken as a passive set of events, but ones that are deeply engaged with the emotional register of those whose identities are being created. Finally, recognizing the emotional or affective responses present in identity-formation enables security to be understood as co-productive of the resistance to its very practices. The paper will examine the Paris banlieues riots of 2005, focusing on how the riots can be seen as a method of resistance to the constructions of a securitized reality through counter identity-formation practices.
Leite: Battle of the Banlieues ―They'll try to, push drugs that keep us all dumbed down And hope that, we will never see the truth around Another promise, another seed Another packaged lie to keep us trapped in greed [...] We should never be afraid to die, Rise up and take the power back‖ - Muse, ‗Uprising‘ The lyrics of this popular rock song by the band Muse highlights the particular poignancy with which practices of governance have been met with instances of social upheaval and resistance to those practices. Since the attacks of 9/11, 3/11, and 7/7, the tools of rendering society secure for governance have become increasingly-extreme. In some cases, they have resulted in often radically-illiberal practices in the name of maintaining a secure liberal order, for example the restriction of citizenship and immigration laws for the purpose of maintaining a clearly-distinct idea of who deserves security – ‗us‘ – and who does not – ‗them‘ (Jabri 2006, Neocleous 2008, Varadarajan 2004). As such, situations arise that challenge this order, often present as riots, uprisings, or other instances of civil disobedience. The use of riot police or paramilitary units to quell such instances of civil unrest is not a novel occurrence, nor is it of principle interest here. The present focus, instead, is the mechanisms that allow society to be ‗secured‘, and resistance to these mechanisms, as being productive of a specific type of identity-formation process, drastically shifting the way in which these instances of resistance are understood. In late October, 2005, two teenagers named Zyed Benna and Bouna Traoré were allegedly chased by police officers in their Paris-area banlieue, Clichy-sous-Bois, and while hiding in a power substation, were accidentally electrocuted and died. By the end of that night, in response to the deaths, gangs and youth groups from Clichy-sous-Bois and other surrounding banlieues took to the streets against riot police, where Molotov cocktails and tear gas shots were exchanged. By the time riot police and military personnel quelled the revolt in late-November through the use of the so-called ‗Miami model‘1 of riot policing, the violence had spread to
Leite: Battle of the Banlieues almost all of the area surrounding Paris, and had resulted in various other skirmishes and minirevolts throughout most of the country. The events were called either a rebellion or a riot, depending on which press outlet was reporting it, and referred to the combatants as guerrillas, rebels, or hoodlums, again depending on who was doing the reporting (Balibar 2007, Schneider 2008). What this type of labelling issue highlights is the question of ascription of identity and how this process functions as a discursive process. This paper begins by asking: how can one resist the identity-formation that comes as a result of living in a securitized, hyperreal society? To answer this, I conceive of security in terms of its relation to identity-formation, and the responses that come from this relationship. The argument made here is that the process of securitizing something from something else becomes productive of a particular type of identity of the individuals both being secured and being secured against (Campbell 1998). However, in creating ‗us-them‘ or ‗self-other‘ dichotomies, the act of securitizing relies on a constant self-manipulation to consistently be able to reify these distinctions. In doing so, the focus of security itself shifts from protection of one set of individuals from another, to a framing and construction of what those two sets of individuals are: what constitutes a ‗self‘ and what entails an ‗other‘. In doing so, I argue that the actual act of rendering secure constructs a certain particular presentation of what individuals are, by creating specific identity-formation practices, lending to the notion of the simulacra or the hyperreal (Baudrillard 2006), the constructed reality (Der Derian 2009), the image of real (Burke 2002), or dromocracy (Virilio 2006). The common thread through these different but overlapping concepts is creating a ‗secure‘ environment through the illusion of approaching disaster and safety simultaneously, the very visual-ness of being aware of both birth and death, creation and destruction.
security or the act of ‗rendering secure‘ itself is defined primarily by the practices of identity-formation in which it engages. and the government responses to quell them. Finally. or apolitical.Leite: Battle of the Banlieues Using. illustrating how the secure political order. amongst others. in a more guided way. and resistance to it. the central argument of this paper has three premises. and Virilio. These three premises then allow this paper to develop a cohesive theory of resistance that is rooted in security and political philosophy 4 . In short. in that the processes that form the identities of the ‗secured order‘ are the same processes that form the resistance to these identities. are co-produced. By attempting to resist being made ‗apolitical‘. which in turn defines the shifting conceptual terrain of what is ‗political‘ and what is ―outside of the public domain regulated by the laws and institutions that define public or political life‖. From here the research will ask. identity-formation cannot be taken as a passive set of events. Baudrillard. (Pin-Fat and Stern 2005). This presentation defines who counts as a viable ‗secure‘ and thus ‗political‘ actor. participants in resistance undertake their own acts of identity securitization. how the Paris banlieues riots of 2005 illustrate the possibility for resisting the various identity-formation practices created through different presentations of ‗the secure society‘. First. co-produces its own accident in the form of resistance and counter-identity-formations. I argue that presenting a hyperreal image of the secure society constitutes a technology that. in its framing of what it means to be secure and the identity-formations that come from this meaning. Riots. Hansen. Second. take this notion of constructed reality and demonstrate the inherent tensions present in the construction of ‗real‘ and ‗secure‘. recognizing the emotional or affective responses present in identity-formation enables the practice of security to be understood as coproductive. but ones that are deeply engaged with the emotional register of those whose identities are being created.
The Second. but sovereignty as well. and how these links can be pushed and further contemplated. as such a discussion has taken place elsewhere (Baudrillard 2006. Third. Waddington 2000). Williams 1998). identity-formations.Leite: Battle of the Banlieues literature. the remainder of the paper will be organized as follows. Hansen 2006. and Fourth sections will then each begin with a look at a specific aspect of the Paris banlieues riots of 2005. and can be applied generally through its conception of what resistance means in the citizen-sovereign relationship. and resistance. Ceyhan 2005. isolating the construction of secured societies and versions of realities from the resistance to these constructions. the conclusion will suggest four contributions that this paper aims to make. it should be made clear that this paper does not seek to develop a systematic theory of riot or antiprotest policing methods. as it is again outside the present scope (Bonelli 2001. a few methodological elements need to be clarified. First. Likewise. Instead. I take as given that there is a hyperreality that is secured and 5 . affect. Burke 2002. casting ‗security‘ as a coproductive concept. there will be a brief outline of the methodological approach of the paper. specifically focusing on how the riots themselves can be seen as an instance of resistance to the hyperreal presentation of reality through counter identity-formation practices. The goal here is not to develop a tight and cohesive theory of how hyperreality is constructed and what it means. Finally. Campbell 1998. before attempting to outline the importance of resistance for understandings of not only security. In order to argue this. specifically by outlining how it can be used as the basis for further research into the relationship between security practices. Methodological Approach Before diving into the denser meat of the paper. before introducing a new element of a theoretical conception of each event by examining the act of security and how it produces identity-formations. Der Derian 1995. and looking at the emotional and affective results of these identityformations.
To fully grasp the security climate of France in 2005. To do so. Creating a French Security System and Identities therein: for whom. in order to concentrate the largest part of my argument on how resistance to this hyperreality and these imposed identities operates as a product of internally-produced affective responses. we first need to understand the very thing being resisted. and again likewise that political acts are in some way informed by internal processes. This aim here is not to outline all of the numerous transgressions. the approach here focuses on the ability of multiple phenomena to resonate together. real or perceived. by whom? The Social Technology of a ‘French security order’ In order to establish how exactly the riot can be seen as an instance of resistance. but not necessarily be linked causally in a linear sense (Connolly 2005. instead of attempting to develop a clear line of causality or causation between a political act and the internal response to that act. that those living in the banlieues felt were levelled against them by the rest of French society. or to exist relationally. just nine months 6 . whatever the nature of that impact. Moreover. the approach here is to highlight that political acts have some sort of internal impact. Finally. one must look back to two developments at the EU level that took place two and three years prior. highlighting the difference between these constructed identities and the status-quo notion of the ‗citizen‘ in relation to its sovereign.Leite: Battle of the Banlieues engages in identity-formation practices. to occur in tandem. Deleuze and Guattari 1994. the police. or the federal government. the section will briefly paint a picture of what the practices that entail a ‗secured society‘ mean in the context of France before the riots. First. Massumi 1996). or likewise an internal event as necessarily causing an external political act. Instead. regardless of what specific processes this includes. and from there illustrate how these practices entailed identity-formations for French citizens. this section will introduce the relationship between the broader EU security environment with that of the practices of the French government.
in the midst of the Iraq Crisis.. the office of Javier Solana. as representative of the principles and values of France and French society. which while centred on the foreign policy changes necessary to combat terrorism. 2001 in New York and Washington. outlined that EU member states ―. democracy. The Framework Decision centralized the importance of managing or combating terrorism. In doing so. through arguments such as ―Terrorism constitutes one of the most serious violations of [the] principles.should be ready to act before a crisis occurs. that France as a major European country was able to dictate what EU security policy should look like. as will be further shown in this section. 7) The argument regarding the importance for French security practices here is not that this was a case of the EU dictating national security projects for its member states.. released the European Security Strategy. the EU released the Council Framework Decision of 13 June 2002 on combating terrorism. itself rooted in a policy of state security. the EU‘s High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy. or vice versa..Leite: Battle of the Banlieues after the terrorist attacks of September 11. the Decision was able to centralize the management of terrorism by linking it to the core principles upon which the EU and its member states stand. contestable politics and into the realm of the exceptional. These two elements.‖ (European Council Presidency 2002). serving to push the issue of terrorism into one of national security. to the free exercise of human rights and to economic and social development. 7 . thereby placing it outside the realm of everyday. Conflict prevention and threat prevention cannot start too early. ―A Secure Europe in a Better World‖..‖ (Solana 2003. Instead there is an interplay between the two levels that allowed these EU positions to fit very easily into the French context because of two very specific elements of French society: the guiding mantra of French governmental institutions of a Republican Ideal. and the already-established use of national identity cards as justifiable means by which to manage the French citizenry. Roughly a year later.
‖ (Zauberman and Levy 2003. informs a large part of the way in which the security order can be said to construct a particular identity-formation. First. entailed its own identity-formation practices. law and order is the ultimate priority of the state. illustrates that understanding the type of resistance seen in the banlieues riots must come through an understanding of the space in which this resistance happened. and others disallowed. this means that French laws concerning civil protection. and not the citizens they are protecting. In French society. the banlieues are often thought of incorrectly simply as a suburb. but not usually geographically found in 8 . not the citizens. something the banlieues do not usually epitomise. and the establishment of internal order – the mechanisms that create a presentation of a secured reality – have very little to do with securing the citizenry directly. For a nonFrench observer. the aim of security itself. certain identities are constructed. They outline that because French policing institutions are accountable to the French state. Second. This second focus. a term that is by definition linked with the idea of wealth. and this order is ―easier to maintain where there is little proximity between police and the public. but instead are geared towards securing the societal institutions that allow the citizenry to be secured. it points to a trend in French securing practices that places an emphasis on geographic spatiality when securing those institutions. and as the construction of this space. they are the equivalent of an inner-city. thus. The work by Renée Zauberman and Rene Levy is telling for illustrating this point. for French citizens.Leite: Battle of the Banlieues provided fertile ground for the climate of security in Europe to play out in an inherently French way. 1068) Two conclusions can be drawn from this. as part of the larger construction of French security-through-institutions. the spatial element of French securitizing practices. They argue that because of the way in which internal security is established through policies on policing. The idea of the banlieues.
to reiterate. Often. However.. a border-area and a frontline. and are often characterised – to much-deserved contestation – in French media as being predominantly-Muslim. ‗ghetto‘ might be the closest thing to the type of banlieues that were the centre of the uprisings in 2005. in this case upholding the French doctrine of more space – physical and conceptual – between the police and the citizens resulting in ‗more security‘. and thus ―a frontier. Listing the different ways in which such specific 9 . we begin to understand what living in the banlieues does by looking at how. by having ―little proximity between police and the public. a set of internally-facing ―lawless frontiers‖ (Zauberman and Levy 2003. but also with large populations of Eastern Europeans and second-generation Portuguese (Balibar 2007). although they do tend to be of Arab or North African descent. being in the banlieues means having your identity constructed for you according the geographic space you inhabit. as problematic as these terms may be. Additionally. the banlieues are where the largest population of immigrants and new French citizens tend to live. 1066). their very physical removal from the rest of society and the police institutions in that are part of that society are justified as the maintenance of order. there is a distinction that needs to be made between banlieue and banlieues.. through the securitization of this space in order to maintain a secured presentation of reality. the first being the general name of a neighbourhood that may or may not be affluent. these geographic descriptions do little to describe the productive elements of these spaces as being part of the ‗secured order‘. If this research were to take the explicit historical definition of the term. 48) or very simply. For example. 1068) Thus.‖ (Zauberman and Levy 2003. but not always. and the second being the term used for what the research is discussing here.It materializes what I have elsewhere called the displacement of frontiers toward the center‖ (Balibar 2007. from the perspective of the French state.Leite: Battle of the Banlieues the inner-city itself.
this creates categorical binaries. This ‗Republican Ideal‘ in France then ―prevents any recognition of personal identity as defined by race. However. ethnic. or that they can occur independently from each other. where an individual in France is either a French citizen or an alien. not French. or religious lines (Schneider 2008. this is not to say that the two are wholly-separate. This combination is key to understanding the intimate relationship between the the EU‘s ESS and anti-terror legislation. which attempt to eliminate individual identity-formations for citizens. multiculturalism. Continuing with this logic presented by the French state. far from opening the door to either diversity. France is illustrative of how the combination of previously-existing historical conditions in France. as the EU adoption and member state adoptions tend to be one and the same.Leite: Battle of the Banlieues identities have been constructed is far outside of the present discussion. but the very fact that mechanisms of securing the state aimed to construct identity-formations for the residents of the banlieues itself highlights its importance. gender. religion. or coerced assimilation. Instead. Balibar 2007). religion. based on the framework of the EU itself. Therefore. or ethnicity (Zauberman and Levy 2003). and the way they were implemented or adopted in France. and so on‖ (Zauberman and Levy 2003. 1068). narrowly-defines what these processes can include. the reliance on institutions to provide this secure environment stems from clear ideas of Republican citizenship. regardless of whether these formations were along racial. French Republicanism. Further. not only does the French state‘s reliance on institutional mechanisms for maintaining security entail identity-formation practices. meaning that any identityformation not defined by the nation is necessarily then. but the driving logic of those institutions. in particular its type of institutions and the 10 . in place of national-based ones. However. there are laws that prohibit official categorization of race.
and visual actions that can be seen as speech acts (Buzan. Hansen 2006). in doing so creating levels or spectrums of ‗selves‘ and ‗others‘ (Butler 1990. 17) This imposition of an identity through the act of securitization is only enabled through the processes of linking and differentiation. but ―constructed through the discursive juxtaposition between a privileged sign on the one hand and a devalued one on the other [which] leads to a conceptualization of identity in relational terms. enabled not through just the imposition of a construction of ‗self‘ by one group to another. first outlining areas of ‗sameness‘ before juxtaposing these areas with realms of ‗difference‘. These acts of security can then be understood by drawing most prominently from the work of the Copenhagen School of security studies to argue that the process of rendering this construction of reality into existence is through both speech acts. From the Copenhagen School. In this light. In discussing identity-formations. with a productive power of its own: the power to instil identity-formation (Burke 2002). collective 2006). Williams 2003.‖ (Hansen 2006.Leite: Battle of the Banlieues presence of a Republican Ideal.a. Lene Hansen draws on David Campbell (1998) to create a framework through which the practice of securitization is productive of relational identities. However. Waever and de Wilde 1998. or set of images.s. the importance of these details for the present argument is how they allow us to discuss the role of ‗security‘ as a practice by which to order society.e. c. the speech act renders into existence ‗security‘ by combating insecurity through the very utterance of the word ‗security‘ (Buzan. this argument is extended by Michael Williams who argues that thanks to the nature of 11 . ‗security‘ comes to be seen as an image. Waever and de Wilde 1998). created a good staging ground for active use of ESS and antiterror legislation. Security/Identity-formation While merely outlining the historically specific ways in which France was able to create a security environment alone does not present much fruitful discussion.
Leite: Battle of the Banlieues the media‘s use of the internet and television. What can be seen is that by claiming alternative centres of authority or expertise. instances of re-securitization or counteridentity formations are enabled to any group of actors that claim such a construction. the space has been created that can ―challenge available possibilities for being. 22) 12 . We build from this point to to argue that the practice – in this case visual – is itself the utterance. that is any acts that can be witnessed by an audience. namely that those able to perform the act of security are backed by the ‗knowledge‘ of how to achieve that security (Bigo 2000). The speech act of securitization itself is acknowledged to be a negotiation between a ‗discourse‘ and a ‗practice‘. Waever and de Wilde 1998). and cracks appear in the presentation of reality. in that not every actor simply can claim the authority needed to construct a presentation. no longer having a stable object of security. visual practices. Didier Bigo‘s insight offers the best example of the way in which the practices of security enable identity-formations for both the actors claiming security and the actors being secured against. via securitization. Once these claims of universality are questioned. the claims of universality by these security experts are thus undermined. By questioning the logic of the very expertise itself. where the utterance is itself the act (Buzan.‖ (Burke 2002. a ‗speech act‘ is also performed through the visual representation of something as a security threat. the original experts are forced to reconfigure what exactly entails the ‗expertise‘ needed to claim security. themselves become capable of performing the speech act of securitization as well (Williams 2003). drawing back to the socially-constructed nature of any presentation of security. In this light. However. with counter-presentations thus gaining relevance so long as they can be presented as coming from a source of authority. There is a caveat to this argument.
The Technologies of Security Systems: locating the root of rioting and resistance The Accident of Rioting in the banlieues Having then outlined how French security practices created specific identity-formations of French and non-French. in order to show that they represent political acts themselves. When looking at the types of acts that the riots actually entailed. and the historical specificity of France‘s formal – policing – and informal – Republicanism – institutions. which will be explored in relation to how these counter-formations could only come as a result of the identities that were imposed in the first place. As Etienne Balibar describes: Contrary to what television coverage suggested. understanding both France‘s ability to keep in step with the central themes of the ESS and EU anti-terror legislation. ‗non-French‘. and so simultaneously. through specific depictions of what entailed security threats and what was considered ‗French‘. To do so. as a political act. the physical performance of rioting was able to re-securitize the construction of identityformations in the banlieues. the French state succeeded in its construction of a climate of security. the very acts of the riots of the banlieues will be explained. this highly spectacular violence remained relatively limited in terms of its destruction and victims: three dead (including the two youths whose indirect murder by the police lit the powder). The next section will illustrate how this climate itself also served to create an apparent divide amongst its own citizenry. thereby drawing on the link between security and identity-formation presented in this section. Then. by having the practices that created the secured environment also create distinctions of who had access to security – the ‗regular‘ family of white French descendent – and who did not – the highly-segregated residents of the banlieues.Leite: Battle of the Banlieues These conceptual tools help to make clear that. we can look at the form of resistance to these practices that creates counter identity-formations. the apparent desire to destabilize without recreating becomes apparent. but 13 .
and how it is met or understood by those involved. and one-hundred and twenty-five police officers were wounded (Schneider 2008. Instead.Leite: Battle of the Banlieues no or very few attacks on persons. 51) The fact that only three people died2 in these riots becomes even more impressive when looking at some of the other acts that took place: in all. the riot created the mechanisms for ―these modalities of passion [to be] overdetermined by the feeling that it is not a matter of an isolable danger. in that ―what should be taken from this ‗virtual violence‘ is that it transforms 14 . (Balibar 2007. torched. then. becomes a negotiation of its own between the actual act of resistance. Thus the rioters used ―means proper to the experience of reality in contemporary society (there is no recognized existence other than that which can be represented)‖ (Balibar 2007. and the way in which they were presented points back to the initial premise here: the presentation of the resistance to a secured construction of reality matters more than the actual act of resistance itself. hundreds of public and commercial buildings were levelled. or otherwise destroyed.‖ (Balibar 2007. Then. four thousand rioters were arrested. Instead of the violence inspiring feelings of hate or fear for those in the banlieues. the act of rioting turned this presentation on its head. 136). consumer items and symbolic places were destroyed. 51) While both the state and civil society institutions of the French Republic – which as explained above are the focus of the secured presentation of reality – attempted to dictate the way in which civil unrest or violence is understood and ‗felt‘. an expression of the becoming or the manifestation of what we ‗ourselves‘ are. over three hundred towns throughout France directly experienced the riots. to the contrary. but. 53) in order to frame their act as an overtly political one. nine thousand vehicles were overturned. The resistance to a presentation of secured reality. the fact that there exists a discrepancy between the way in which the riots took place.
into spectacle. security is seen as a system of knowledge. 2) James Der Derian‘s idea of ‗constructed reality‘. and flows in certain ways. an unattainable dream. Co-production.Leite: Battle of the Banlieues real. Baudrillard‘s ‗hyperreality‘. to which it responds. endemic social violence. security is an enabling form of state power which aims to imagine and police the self and society in very specific ways. but one that is presented as materialized nonetheless through the concept of the Aporia. spaces. In this light. Through this understanding. From Anthony Burke. which is the very act of constructing a reality based on security (Burke 2002). Order.‖ (Balibar 2007. Der Derian 2009. representations.. 52) This then reinforces the argument made above that the act of resistance itself is not necessarily the most important component of resistance at all. but instead the defining feature of it is the way it leads to the re-articulation of the limits of that presentation.‖ (Burke 2002.. the idea of being secure itself is. [it is] a political technology. Baudrillard 2006. Resistance In order to account for these roots of resistance and rioting in France. define. this section will draw on the work of Paul Virilio (2007) and his accident-technology-accident paradigm to discuss the origins of these counter identity-formations and how these interactions are embedded in the various acts of security that construct the presentation of secured reality in the first place. and Virilio‘s ‗dromocracy‘ all speak to the power of the state and its related systems of power to create and reinforce multiple notions of security and reality. thus engaging with the political process that creates and re-creates that presentation. and practices that ―imagine. Virilio 2006). resulting in a new technology and the accident it 15 . According to Virilio. the dialectic creation of a technology itself entails the creation of the accident that will destroy that technology. in short. and act upon bodies. and in doing so establish a social order by which the images that dictate what it means to be secured are reified and mediated as ‗real‘ (Der Derian 1995.
For this logic. The discourse of hyper-securitizing against all forms of threat. resistance through the formation of a counter-identity is the instant co-production of the establishment of identityformations by an order in authority. as ‗social‘ technology. and so on. Just as the accident is the instant co-produced result of technology. Thus. the ―invention of the substance is equally invention of the accident. thus shifting Baudrillard‘s focus slightly from the presentation of reality in general. and perhaps more importantly for the argument here. a form of social ordering rooted and supported by state and societal institutions. which he calls the simulacra (Baudrillard 2006). where the constitution of one is simultaneously the constitution of the other and vice versa (Virilio 2007).Leite: Battle of the Banlieues creates to destroy itself. The internal discourse of the technology that created this particular conception of constructed reality itself creates the accident that calls that construction of reality into question. then. The shipwreck is consequently the futurist invention of the ship and the air crash is the invention of the supersonic airliner‖ (Virilio 2007. Accounting for the conflicting conceptions of reality that are both co-produced comes by drawing on the work of Jean Baudrillard. ‗technology‘ can be understood as both ‗technological‘ technology of the scientific-engineering sense. the technology of the construction of reality through security itself inherently produces the accident by which this technology is destabilized and forced to reconfigure itself in the form of a new technology. but also. who argues that any notion of ‗real‘ in the social realm has now been blurred into the ‗presentation of real‘. resistance itself is not ‗refusing security‘ as-such. pre-determines the radical response to insecurity that is present in resistance itself. and thus the aim is not to ‗escape‘ the discursive 16 . both processes thus being what can be understood as co-productions of each other. In this sense. but refusing a particular construction of security. 5). In this light. to the presentation of a ‗secure reality‘.
and identity re-formation. the rioting that was resisting identityformation processes raised the idea that contradictions to these processes exist. when looking at those individuals involved. all but 120 of the 4000 arrested were born and raised in France. Through this.Leite: Battle of the Banlieues order of hyperreality. but to shift the boundaries of that order by engaging in differentlysecuritized constructions than those offered by the existing presentation of reality. differing only in that they are instances when identity constructions. In this light. the riots were said to have begun with reasons ranging from the de-politicization of young Muslims. then. Therefore instances of resistance are part of an internal discussion of growth and self revaluation.‖ (Schneider 2008. despite the fact this ideal is what created the issues in the first place. and Imams from the major mosques pleaded…for calm. one going so far as to declare a fatwa against those who engaged in violence and vandalism. ―only one-third of the rioters were of Arab or North African origin. reaction. specifically imposed identity constructions. 137) Therefore. or the radical violence endorsed by Islam (Schneider 2008). or reconstruction. the aim of resistance assumes its primary role of the re-assertion. but that originates internally. through a process of ‗becoming‘ or ‗emergence‘ (Connolly 2002). 17 . However. Openly having contradiction itself falls outside of the French ‗Republican Ideal‘ outlined above. of an identity that is not imposed upon it. the polygamous nature of North Africans. Emotional Cries of Rage: outlining the affective presence in resistance The Role of Emotion in Rioting When presented by the French state media outlets. resistance to these identity constructions is not just a 'mega-event' or sudden rupture that essentializes identity but is the result of the process of essentializing identity as part of an ongoing cycle of identity-formation. are pushed to their absolute limits and forced to confront themselves to renegotiate those limits (Deleuze and Guattari 2004).
The visual act of rioting in this case became an act of politicization. thereby othering themselves from those French authorities that created such impositions. the very epitome of ―becoming political‖ (Balibar 2007. the riots were inherently engaging in political discourse. which also created specific identity-formation practices by those involved. speaking out. 55) This can be understood in terms of the universal claims of national identity that do not allow for race or religion to play any role in identity-formation. and refusing to accept the claims to universality of French citizenship. By taking a stand. The act of rioting. the riots inadvertently recreated a new presentation of security by creating counter identity-formations.‖ (Balibar 2007. became the practice of rearticulating identity-formations of their selves. or claim to ‗authority‘. in merely doing so. 61). However. They become seen as political acts with their own identity-formation practices because they were ―a will to affirm not so much a ‗cause‘ or a ‗project‘ as an existence that is constantly forgotten or denied by the surrounding society. The riots were a statement that first called attention to ―the blindness and deafness of the French establishment (including the larger part of its intellectuals) to the postcolonial critique of the ideological functions of universalism. the resecuritizing and counter-identity is only in relation to the presentation of security. as dictated by the affective responses the presentation triggers. This is seen in that as opposed to merely trying 18 . despite their apparent lack of access to the ‗official‘ language. enjoyed by those creating the presentation of security. and resistance to which trying to open room for contradiction without a singular replacement identity-formation formula. by resisting the imposition of identity-formations.Leite: Battle of the Banlieues Just as the political acts of the French state created a particular secured order. 53) Given the political articulation of counter identity-formations that the riots entail. the riots-as-political-acts created their own counter identity-formation practices.‖ (Balibar 2007.
Thus. thereby pre-ordaining its own destabilization. and that these interactions are manifested in socially-regulated modes of expression of emotion. 61). or has acted. the aim of resistance and the riots was to criticize the existing presentation. this paper will explicitly use the terms affect and emotion in subtlydifferent ways. on the other hand. in which sense the riot ―‗has no aims‘ aside from a cry of rage‖ (Balibar 2007. in a certain way in a certain situation quickly devolves into a situation where a highly problematic ‗reading-in‘ of intentionality is required. However. this cry of rage or discontent embodies recognition that the existing claims of universality produced by the French security presentation lacked the very legitimacy needed to claim this universality. Thus. there is a clear hindrance in systematizing analysis. Further. the interest here does not lie in the nature of the affective interaction. Identity-formation and Affect/Emotion Discussion of affect and emotion is best begun by the way in which they are often linked and differentiated. the attempt in this paper is to side-step such an issue by not looking for a link of causality 19 . the way in which they are understood for this argument is with regards to their role in examining identity-formation. only that there is an interaction at all. any attempt to generalize and make claims that an individual should or might act. Where affect is a physiological intensity found throughout the brain and presenting itself through the body. emotion. As such.Leite: Battle of the Banlieues to produce an alternative presentation. Short of literally strapping electrodes on to the heads of the subjects being examined and conducting brain scans. it becomes very difficult to speak with any authority that any event triggers any type of psychological reaction. and thus social. Despite the differences between the two terms. Saurette and Trevenen 2009). presentation. is the cultural-norm-influenced manner in which such an intensity is articulated or displayed (Massumi 1996. the very articulation of an affective response manifesting itself in an emotional. When approaching this type of research.
This represents an area of potential criticism to security discourse in that it seemingly-relies on a passive acceptance of not only the imposition of a set of identities. but the mutual co-production of identities for those imposing identities in the first place. Linking back to the act of imposing an identity-formation then. with neither causing nor creating the other (Connolly 2005). the approach assumed by Hille Koskela. Massumi 1996). He argues. analyzed and forgotten as ‗givens‘. forming an identity. and even having an identity are not passive acts. claiming authority. among others. in that there is a common vibration or resonance between the political act and affective stimuli engaging in that act. This is not to say that instances of power are necessarily linked causally with instances of emotions. whatever that response may be (Deleuze and Guattari 1994. or ones that can be attributed. in that it is constructed ―in relation to a series of differences that have become socially recognized. but part of a deep interaction between culture. These differences are essential to its being. She argues that the emotional and the political are fundamentally intertwined through power relations. either explicit or conceptual (Koskela 2000). is particularly interesting. like Hansen.Leite: Battle of the Banlieues or causation. This approach stresses that political actions have some sort of affective impact on the visceral level. as both are part of complex systems that are productive of certain ‗space‘. Given this distinction. but instead to focus on the ways in which political actions have some sort of affective impact on the visceral level. in that there is a common vibration or resonance between the political act and affective response to that act. body. but that they can at least be discussed in relation to one another based on their ability to have similar instances of resonance. that identity is relational. If they did not coexist as differences. in that they are occurring in tandem. it 20 . The work of Connolly becomes crucial here. and brain (Connolly 2002).
objects. the political implication of cultural stimuli interacting with the internal processes of the brain and the body. concentric circles of political fallout spread. Concisely. From this. or for society‘s larger informational network. Introduction 1998). drawing on Virilio. leaving in the vitrified rubble all responsibility for the other that forms the prior condition for truly intersubjective. the very articulation of difference cannot be done without first examining the ways in which difference is informed by the emotional practices of self-identification. including nets of social. This interplay is what Connolly calls ‗neuropolitics‘. Therefore. in that identity is a perpetual negotiation of what constitutes the limits of understanding a ‗self‘ in relation to either others. are ―capable of impacting and altering the content. all of which being forms of information (Virilio 1998. which would enable us here to then examine how broader events. exist only in relation to how we represent them as mental constructs (Virilio 1994). political.‖ (Der Derian. and the ‗objective world‘.‖ (Saurette and Trevenen 2009) The objects that participate. Introduction 1998. ethical. territorial. self-positioning. 64) As Connolly suggests. Adding Koskela‘s notion of the political and the emotional as being intertwined then allows for the 21 .Leite: Battle of the Banlieues would not exist. human relationship. are merely the sum of the information that we perceive of them at a given time and the information that we previously-perceived and impose on it. for Virilio. defined through links of similarities. the notion of a ‗self‘ is found in a larger network of information.‖ (Connolly 2002. cultural. or geographic. Der Derian.. then. self or identity becomes a form of ―virtually targeted ground-zero. in order to produce a complete picture of what exactly a political process does (Connolly 2002). and integration into a network of information. 6) The most inclusive conception of identity here can be achieved through the highly-related approaches of Connolly and Virilio. for Connolly. relevance and force of those emotions. such as the construction of a presentation of reality.. and vice versa.
as it does not point to the causal claim that the security order created identity-formations that in turn caused resistance to those formations.Leite: Battle of the Banlieues foundation of making the argument that the act of identity-formation itself is an emotional one by being a political one. and the subjects of those impositions. jealousy. when this renegotiation is not present and the contingencies that create these identities are sedimented. Connolly argues that the creation of these relational identities is part of a persistent redefinition and re-negotiation of this relation. and by extension the act of counter-identity-formation – resistance – is an emotional act simply by being a political one (Koskela 2000). So. which are necessarily-affective. through efforts to destabilize those contingencies which set and define the prevailing identities (Connolly 1993. In short. there is an internal affective response that triggers the need to counter these contingencies. such as the emotions anger. the fact that there was an act necessarily means that there was a visceral. or frustration. the emotional basis of resistance itself. Connolly 2002). It does allow that the security order created identityformations. then. then we can see that very act of rioting – of resisting something – is proof that an affective response is occurring. Resistance to these relational identity constructions then becomes a struggle to contest the contingencies that have become entrenched in the constructions of relational identities. amygdala-triggered affective response that caused this act. but one that is heavily-involved in the internal cognitive processes of those constructing and those being constructed. both by the ‗authorities‘ imposing identityformations. Most importantly. and there occurred overt and explicit resistance to 22 . This can be problematic of course. even if we cannot discern any single or uniform motivation for the act of rioting. if we are to look at riots as political action. This again points to the earlier discussion that having an identity-formation imposed is not a passive act. even if the exact nature of that response is not known.
Waever and de Wilde 1998. rioting in the banlieues represents a counter-securitization.Leite: Battle of the Banlieues these formations. this network finds itself in a situation of perpetual securitization in order to meet the shifting nature of ‗what needs to be rendered secure‘. Agamben 1998). for example. This relationship is a clear articulation of one of resonance. As such. Conclusion Instead of merely explaining how a set of events can be explained through a theory. Thus. the process of non-authorized actors engaging in re-politicization or resecuritization along multiple lines and shifting out of the bare life becomes first act of resistance (Aradau 2004. resulting in instances of resistance to this construction that aim to re-politicize and re-identify along new lines. Understanding resistance through this lens. Agamben 1998). where the commonalities within the two. the present project did not allow for such a large digression or addition to the central argument being made here. in that the paper did not explore the implications of space or spatiality in either the construction of identity-formations. that of bare life (Buzan. or the emotional responses to these formations. The first contribution is in the form of a self-criticism. and forced into an apolitical one. while not causally-linked. 23 . it is pushed outside of politically-contested space. In attempting to establish a secured reality. the aim of this paper was to make four contributions made evident through this explanation. While regrettable. and so a practice of counter identity-formation. are still linked in so far as they co-exist as interactions of each other. This project could argue. the construction of this reality itself begins to spell its own demise. In order to cope with such instances of resistance. that when something is successfully securitized. which is also necessarily-affective. a contribution here would be to use the present argument as the basis to continue future research that deals explicitly with these spatial elements.
but ones that are deeply engaged in the individuals and institutions performing them.Leite: Battle of the Banlieues Such a future project can make a similar argument to the one here. This becomes the second contribution of this paper: if we assume that political actions are all necessarily productive of identity-formation practices. in that just as political acts create ‗political space‘. or areas of contestation. norms of acceptable social relations regarding personal expression (Koskela 2000). Finally. this allows for an examination not just of the linear imposition of a set of policies by one group onto another group. understanding the affective can serve to further security discourse by illuminating the types of identity-impositions that come as a result of the various mechanisms used to introduce security to ever-growing areas of governance and society. but the contribution that this paper makes is found in embracing this fact. the introduction of affect into the examination of these practices can explain them as not passive acts. From this. Claiming that resistance cannot exist outside of that being resisted is not a wholly-novel claim. understanding resistance as always necessarily being part of the order being resisted allows for a renaissance for the very act of resisting. but a relational interplay between those imposing and those receiving each negotiating how these impositions will 'work'. and reinforce old. the implication of taking into account the affective or otherwise internal responses in attempting to construct a 'secure society' is an increased awareness of the identity-formation practices that these constructions entail. understanding these impositions as not passive but highly-active events for all parties involved can highlight the tensions inherent in these impositions themselves. Methodologically. Third. based the specific power relations present in these acts – for example the imposition of identity-formation practices – emotional acts create intersubjective ‗emotional spaces‘ in that they point to new. If there cannot be any form of resistance that is 24 . Further.
the study of the riots in France are not important as a study of riots writlarge. reiterations of the limits. if even subtly. securitize against possibilities. yet securitised society. or the sovereign constructions that create them? Finally. not actualities. thereby shifting the limits of the thing being resisted. its co-produced nature. but instead this study becomes important in that resistance in any form raises questions about the duties of the citizen pitted against the duties of the sovereign. Moreover. and with it. of the sovereign‘s control. affective level with all those involved? In this regard. then is the aim of resistance these identities or eventualities themselves. This brings us full circle to our central question. and their ability to act as both cohesive and divisive forces or entities. and exceptions to these limits. Its essence is the fact that it does get silenced. and the affective register upon which it operates means for the security practices that create it. then the very fact that resistance itself gets silenced and coopted. cognitive. individual. at the personal. because the way in which this silencing occurs reveals a reshifting of the limits of the thing being resisted. the final issue that remains unresolved is what all of this interplay between resistance. is the point of resistance. as each are at their cores. raises subsequent questions for consideration about resistance and sovereignty: If one is aiming to resist again a hyper-real. and therefore interact at the base. Namely. changing its nature. intimate level. the discussion raises the final question about what this process means in terms of how we paint the ‗other‘ onto our ‗self‘. then are resistors merely resisting eventualities? If the security practices are now focused on constructing identities and eventualities. the presence of resistance becomes central to understanding what type of sovereignty is being created and negotiated through both practices of security and practices of resistance.Leite: Battle of the Banlieues ‗pure opposition‘ and destabilizing. if 25 . Having outlined the four potential contributions of this paper.
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