The Securitization Theory and Migration: The Case of Russia's Securitization of Europe's Migration Crisis

The Securitization Theory and Migration: The Case of Russia's Securitization of Europe's Migration Crisis

Oktay F. Tanrısever (Middle East Technical University (METU), Turkey) and Hasan Selçuk Türkmen (Middle East Technical University (METU), Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3322-1.ch001
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This chapter aims to provide a theoretical juxtaposition of the case of Russian military involvement in Syrian civil war and its connections with Europe's recent migration crisis. Securitization theories of Copenhagen and Paris schools provide useful tools for contextualizing Russia's efforts to justify its military involvement in the Syrian conflict. This chapter also purports to answer the question of how did Russia manage to facilitate its military involvement through securitization and speech acts despite its diminished international reputation due to the Ukrainian crisis.
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Securitization Theory: Conceptual Tools

Copenhagen school’s conceptualization of “securitization” (Buzan etal, 1998) along with Ole Wæver’s concept of “speech act” that holds “insecurity not as an environmental condition upon which one acts but as the discursive rendition of insecurities through security practice” (Huysmans, 2011) are linchpins of current security studies literature. Yet, questions remain on the processes of securitization (Mcdonald, 2008) and implementation of speech acts (Stritzel, 2007). As we aim to employ these conceptualizations in our analysis, it is essential to provide an overview of relevant debates. For Buzan, Wæver and Wilde, an issue can be that of security as far as it is designated as an existential threat for a referent object (1998, p. 21). As one of the main lines of debates in this literature, the referent object is not limited to state but can be widened and diversified, producing both new “sectors” of security as well as new takes on the traditional sector of military/political sphere. In the second part of this chapter, we argue that in our case the referent object is international public opinion rather than individual states. At this juncture, the issue of audience is crucial. The distinction between the referent object and the audience must be neatly made as these two can easily become intertwined. As it is in our case study, the referent object of security can well be the audience itself.

The model on the process of securitization delineated by Buzan (1998) provides a fitting conceptual framework vis-à-vis our case study. In this model, Buzan argued that securitization means an issue is taken beyond the sphere of politicizing, “fram[ing] the issue either as a special kind of politics or as above politics” (1998, p. 44). Surely, drawing poignant lines between normal or “established” kind of politics and “special/extraordinary kind of politics”, and for that matter between politicizing and securitizing, is a tricky endeavor. Yet, this distinction helps us to track the evolution of the implementation of speech acts in our case study.

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