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Securitization and Desecuritization in International Trusteeship Administrations

T. Bonacker

The subproject compares dynamics of security in cases of external administrations instituted by the UN (Kamerun, Togo, Papua Neuguinea, Timor-Leste, Kosovo). Comprehensive as well as specific conditions for the emergence and application of repertoires of desecuritization and securitization are analysed as part of statehood building. Furthermore, the aim is to scrutinize their impact on the consolidation and challenges of domination through trusteeship.

Third funding period (2021 - 2025)
In the third funding period, the sub-project aims to analyse the dynamics of securitisation and de-securitisation in the context of the negotiation of fiduciary governance in the United Nations since the Second World War. The aim is to trace continuities and changes in the concept and practice of international external governance and to show to what extent securitisation and de-securitisation lead to the emergence of fiduciary administration as a specific repertoire of governance. The historisation of trusteeship ranges from the negotiation of trusteeship in the 1940s, to the first approaches of territorial UN direct administrations, to UN administrations of the 1990s.
In a first project, we examine the securitisation and de-securitisation of selected conflictual negotiation processes of trusteeship in UN bodies since the 1940s (e.g. Trusteeship Council, UN Security Council, UN General Assembly).
A second project focuses explicitly on the Soviet Union, whose central, but also changeable role in the conflicts over the scope, duration and authority of trusteeship has so far been little researched.
A third project is dedicated to the constitutive importance of security-related knowledge for fiduciary governance and asks how this knowledge about territories and their populations is generated and translated into the language of international administrative practice. In doing so, the project also contributes to research on the emergence and transformation of UN reporting.

First and second funding phase (2014 - 2021)
In the first funding phase (2014-2017), we were able to show in a comparison of trusteeship (the French administrations of Cameroon, as well as the Australian administration of Papua New Guinea) and UN administrations (UNMIK in Kosovo and UNTAET in East Timor) that securitisation and de-securitisation are primarily strategic practices, the meanings of which only become apparent in the context of contested statebuilding, in which actors want to consolidate their rule or articulate resistance.
In the second funding phase (2018 - 2021), we have - on the basis of previous findings and in addition to our previous case selection with the case of Togo (French / British Trust Administration) - looked for possible conditions for the (de-)mobilisation of a security discourse. The project in the second phase pursues three goals: First, we want to find context-specific and cross-contextual conditions under which repertoires of securitisation or de-securitisation are mobilised in the course of building a new statehood. Secondly, we want to show to what extent fiduciary administration was consolidated via strategies of securitisation and de-securitisation, but also challenged - for example in the context of anti-colonial resistance. This should lead to a better and more theory-based understanding of the dynamics of fiduciary rule. Third, in the context of the methodological debate between constitutive and causal readings of securitisation in securitisation studies, we want to show that both can be combined via an analysis of strategic practices.

This project is part of the Collaborative Research Cluster 138 "Dynamics of Security"

Duration: 2014-2025
Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Teilprojekt SFB 138
Coordination: Prof. Dr. Thorsten Bonacker
Team: Prof. Dr. Thorsten Bonacker, Dr. Aidan Gnoth, Dr. Philipp Lottholz, Emma Fahr, Karoline Möller.  
Former team members: Dr. Werner Distler, Julius Heise, Dr. Maria Ketzmerick; Theresa Bachmann, Miriam Bach, Leonie Disselkamp, Laura Kotzur, Ronja Schicke, Lea Stromowksi, Luisa Siemens, Miriam Tekath.  

  • Publications

    Bonacker, Thorsten & Denis Liebetanz. 2017. How Dynamics of Security Contribute to Illiberal Statebuilding: the Case of Tajikistan. In: Thorsten Bonacker, Werner Distler & Maria Ketzmerick (eds.) 2017. Securitization in Statebuilding and Intervention. Baden-Baden: Nomos. DOI: 10.5771/9783845285825

    Bonacker, Thorsten & Maria Ketzmerick 2017. How Security Dynamics Shaped Trusteeship Statebuilding: The French Adminstration of Cameroon. In: Thorsten Bonacker, Werner Distler & Maria Ketzmerick (eds.) 2017. Securitization in Statebuilding and Intervention. Baden-Baden: Nomos. DOI: 10.5771/9783845285825

    Bonacker, Thorsten & Werner Distler 2021. Securitisation in World Politics: the Conflict on the Self-Determination of East Timor at the United Nations. In: International Quarterly for Asian Studies 52, 1-2. DOI: 10.11588/iqas.2021.1-2.14301

    Bonacker, Thorsten 2016. Internationales Statebuilding und die liberale Politik des Schutzes. In: Gabriele Abels (Hg.). Vorsicht Sicherheit! Legitimationsprobleme der Ordnung von Freiheit. Baden-Baden: Nomos. DOI: 10.5771/9783845266039

    Bonacker, Thorsten 2018. Security Practices and the Production of Center–Periphery Figurations in Statebuilding. In: Alternatives 43, 4. DOI: 10.1177/0304375418821479

    Bonacker, Thorsten 2019. The Militarization of Security: a Systems Theory Perspective. In: Critical Military Studies 5, 2. DOI: 10.1080/23337486.2018.1505383

    Bonacker, Thorsten 2021. Reporting Security: Postcolonial Governmentality in the United Nations’ Trusteeship System. In: International Political Sociology. DOI: 10.1093/ips/olab030

    Bonacker, Thorsten 2021. Situierte Sicherheit; Für einen methodologischen Situationismus in den Critical Security Studies. In: ZIB Zeitschrift für internationale Beziehungen 28. DOI: 10.5771/0946-7165-2021-1-5

    Bonacker, Thorsten, Werner Distler & Maria Ketzmerick (eds.) 2017. Securitization in Statebuilding and Intervention. Baden-Baden: Nomos. DOI: 10.5771/9783845285825

    Bonacker, Thorsten, Werner Distler & Maria Ketzmerick 2018. Securitisation and Desecuritisation of Violence in Trusteeship Statebuilding. In: Civil Wars 20, 4. DOI: 10.1080/13698249.2018.1525675

    Distler, Werner & Julius Heise 2021. Secessionist Conflicts: Unresolved Legacies of United Nations Trusteeship. In: Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding. DOI: 10.1080/17502977.2021.1890935

    Distler, Werner & Maria Ketzmerick 2017. The ‘Politics of Protection’ and Elections in Trusteeship and International Administration: the Cases of Cameroun and Kosovo. In: Thorsten Bonacker, Werner Distler & Maria Ketzmerick (eds). Securitization in Statebuilding and Intervention. Baden-Baden: Nomos. DOI: 10.5771/9783845285825

    Distler, Werner 2018. Gewaltakteure und Versicherheitlichung im internationalen Peacebuilding. In: Carola Westermeier & Horst Carl (Hg.) Sicherheitsakteure: Epochenübergreifende Perspektiven zu Praxisformen und Versicherheitlichung. Baden-Baden: Nomos. DOI: 10.5771/9783845286532

    Distler, Werner 2019. Dangerised Youth: the Politics of Security and Development in Timor-Leste. Third World Quarterly 40, 4. DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2017.1401924

    Distler, Werner 2020. Political Crisis and the Corona: ‘State Of Emergency’ in Kosovo. Zeitschrift für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung 9, 2. DOI: 10.1007/s42597-020-00046-w

    Distler, Werner 2022. Governing the Inner ‘Periphery’: Spatial Security Governance of the Highlands in Papua New Guinea since the Colonial Period. In: Political Geography 93. DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2021.102552

    Heise, Julius 2021. United Nations Colonial Complicity in Decolonization Referenda: Un-supervision of the 1956 Referendum in Western Togoland.  In: Topos: Journal for Philosophy and Cultural Studies 1. DOI: 10.24412/1815-0047-2021-1-107-124

    Ketzmerick, Maria 2019. Securitized State Building? The Camerounian Decolonization in Conflict. In: Regina Kreide & Andreas Langenohl (eds.) Conceptualizing Power in Dynamics of Securitization: Beyond State and International System. Baden-Baden: Nomos. DOI: 10.5771/9783845293547

    Ketzmerick, Maria. 2019. Staat, Sicherheit und Gewalt in Kamerun: Postkoloniale Perspektiven auf den Dekolonisierungsprozess unter französischer UN-Treuhandverwaltung. Bielefeld: transcript. DOI: 10.14361/9783839449042

    Lottholz, Philipp & Thorsten Bonacker 2022. Understanding the Post-Imperial Politics of Security, Stability and Ordering in Central Asia: an Introduction. Europe-Asia Studies. DOI: 10.1080/09668136.2021.2020492