Handbook on Migration and Security
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Handbook on Migration and Security

Edited by Philippe Bourbeau

This Handbook provides a state-of-the-art analysis of the critically important links between migration and security in a globalising world, and presents original contributions suggesting innovative and emerging frontiers in the study of the securitization of migration. Experts from different fields reflect on their respective conceptualisations of the migration-security nexus, and consider how an interdisciplinary and multifaceted dialogue can stimulate and enrich our understanding of the securitisation of migration in the contemporary world.
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Chapter 5: Migration, exceptionalist security discourses, and practices

Philippe Bourbeau


In its current configuration, the literature on securitization – the process of integrating an issue into a security framework that emphasizes policing and defence – relies mainly on two logics: the logic of exception and the logic of routine. For some scholars, these two approaches to the study of securitization frame a battleground on which a conflict among various structural, critical, cultural and sociological standpoints is waged. Although many graduate students cut their theoretical teeth on these debates, little has been gained thus far in the battle for possession of the field. By questioning the literature’s underlying understanding of these two logics as opposing and competing, I pursue two aims in this chapter. First, I caution scholars against overdrawing distinctions between the two logics, for it is not clear that they are mutually exclusive. Second, I seek to recognize and harness the strengths of both logics, and to identify the fruitful theoretical ‘bricks’ each framework contributes to our understanding of securitization. To do so, the chapter lays out two main conceptual elements – performance and path dependence – and proposes a contiguum approach.

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