How does war become a legitimate undertaking? Re-engaging the post-structuralist foundation of securitization theory

Publisert: 18. mai 2016

Abstract How does war become a legitimate undertaking? This article challenges the interpretation of securitization as a narrow, linear and intentional event by re-engaging the post-structuralist roots of Copenhagen School securitization theory. To uncover the social process that makes war acceptable, the framework presented in this article is informed by securitization theory but foregrounds the web of meaning and representation between a myriad of actors in society to unearth the contents – and changes – in how war is articulated and carried out with public consent. This matters not only for the question of how war becomes a legitimate undertaking, but also for the very practices through which the war is fought: the emergency measures that are enabled in a discourse of existential threat. The article re-visits the Second Chechen War to illustrate how war is made logical and legitimate to leaders and their publics.