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'"I choose to feel threatened": Performing In/Security in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"'
Unformatted Document Text:  ROUGH DRAFT: NOT FOR CITATION, PLEASE “I choose to feel threatened”: Performing In/Security in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Christina Rowley and Jutta Weldes University of Bristol (UK) Abstract In recent decades, the meaning and nature of security and insecurity have been problematised, first with the end of the cold war and then with the ‘war on terror’. In this paper we argue that in/securities are discursively and performatively constituted in relation to identity. To investigate these processes of constitution one might seek out these discourses in what is considered their natural habitat, within the discussions of high politics that preoccupy both policy-making circles and much of the academic study of world politics. But these constitutive processes are also evident, if generally neglected by most IR scholars, in popular culture. In this paper, we therefore investigate discourses of in/security in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Buffy). The ‘Buffyverse’ offers a rich text through which to investigate competing discourses of in/security. It is particularly useful for our purposes because it encompasses, within a single universe, a host of competing, contesting, but also mutually constituting discourses of in/security. For example, several positivist discourses of in/security are prominent in Buffy, including the realist problematic of anarchy, self-help and ‘problems of cooperation’, the liberal counter-discourse of collective security; a discourse of ‘human security’ – the need to have circumstances permissive of human dignity, freedom and livelihood, and ongoing food in/security. At the same time, Buffy encompasses post-positivist discourses of in/security, notably the in/security of identity. The juxtaposition of these various discourses of in/security highlights their discursive and performative nature. The Buffyverse, then, itself performs a post-structural understanding of identity and in [allows for a critique of mainstream, common sense notions of in/security.] 1

Authors: Weldes, Jutta. and Rowley, Christina.
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ROUGH DRAFT: NOT FOR CITATION, PLEASE
“I choose to feel threatened”:
Performing In/Security in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Christina Rowley and Jutta Weldes
University of Bristol (UK)
Abstract
In recent decades, the meaning and nature of security and insecurity have been problematised, first
with the end of the cold war and then with the ‘war on terror’. In this paper we argue that
in/securities are discursively and performatively constituted in relation to identity. To investigate
these processes of constitution one might seek out these discourses in what is considered their
natural habitat, within the discussions of high politics that preoccupy both policy-making circles
and much of the academic study of world politics. But these constitutive processes are also evident,
if generally neglected by most IR scholars, in popular culture. In this paper, we therefore investigate
discourses of in/security in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Buffy).
The ‘Buffyverse’ offers a rich text through which to investigate competing discourses of in/security.
It is particularly useful for our purposes because it encompasses, within a single universe, a host of
competing, contesting, but also mutually constituting discourses of in/security. For example, several
positivist discourses of in/security are prominent in Buffy, including the realist problematic of
anarchy, self-help and ‘problems of cooperation’, the liberal counter-discourse of collective
security; a discourse of ‘human security’ – the need to have circumstances permissive of human
dignity, freedom and livelihood, and ongoing food in/security. At the same time, Buffy
encompasses post-positivist discourses of in/security, notably the in/security of identity. The
juxtaposition of these various discourses of in/security highlights their discursive and performative
nature. The Buffyverse, then, itself performs a post-structural understanding of identity and in
[allows for a critique of mainstream, common sense notions of in/security.]
1


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