Dr Gilbert Caluya presented the eight ‘First Fridays’ seminar on ‘Theorising Intimate Security: Affect and Post-Racial Politics’ at Deakin Downtown on 5 October 2018.
Theorising Intimate Security: Affect and Post-Racial Politics
The rise of Trump and the Alt-Right in the US, UKIP and Brexit in the UK, and the return of Pauline Hanson and the emergence of UPF and Reclaim in Australia are symptoms of the resurgence of a racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic right whose growing success has shocked Western mainstream media over the last few years. This has resulted in leftist hand-wringing in op-eds blaming ‘identity politics’ for single-handedly sidelining the real victims of neoliberalism: white working-class men. Yet if we look at the backlash against so-called ‘identity politics’, it is shaped in a decidedly two-pronged form: the resurgence of a conservative intimacy surrounding notions of traditional family values and the bolstering of national security under the rhetoric of counter-terrorism. Along these battlelines, ‘intimacy’ and ‘security’ are continuously co-mingling and clashing, forming new knots and reconfiguring new conundrums in the contemporary political landscape in what I refer to as ‘intimate security’. In this paper I draw on Lauren Berlant, Ann Laura Stoler, David Theo Goldberg, Raymond Williams and Elspeth Probyn among others to theorise intimate security as a structure of feeling that draws upon a number of different social, cultural and political developments in the intimate logics of security and the securitisation of intimacy. I contend that one of the main drivers for this structure of feeling is the survival of racism under the post-racial state. The logics of racism survives through the protection of the private via liberal freedom and security via notions emergency. Intimate security emerges through these two sites of exception, entraining a certain affective, sensory response to the world and events that ironically justifies the unequal distribution of security and intimacy.
About the Series
Deakin University Gender and Sexuality Studies holds a public monthly seminar series on the first Friday of each month at Deakin Downtown in Melbourne’s CBD.
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Monthly postgraduate masterclasses are also open to Deakin University students.