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Beyond Copenhagen: The political economy of securitising “Outside Influences” in Bali

Scarpello, F. (2017) Beyond Copenhagen: The political economy of securitising “Outside Influences” in Bali. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 48 (1). pp. 1-22.

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Securitisation theory has contributed greatly to critical security studies. However, the Copenhagen School’s focus on discursive analysis fails to answer the “so what” question of why issues are securitised and for whose benefit. This article contends that more nuanced explanations can be provided by taking seriously the political economy context within which the process of securitisation is embedded. The article has two aims. First, it contributes to further refining securitisation theory by embedding Balzacq’s pragmatic act – which implies that securitising actors gain the assent of an audience based on a shared view of vulnerabilities – within a broad social conflict analysis. This latter can explain the socio-political struggles that create popular support for securitisation, and what social groups benefit from it. Second, it contributes to explanations of Bali’s contemporary political economy by operationalising the refined approach to explain how struggles over the spoils of tourism have created a receptive audience among a cross-class section of Balinese for the securitisation of “outside influences” – a euphemism for migrants, non-local investors and Western cultural influences. Securitisation has resulted in conservative elite groups marginalising progressive voices; “traditional” institutions being favoured in accessing state resources; and in a policing landscape in which migrants are harassed and exploited.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Asia Research Centre
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Copyright: © 2017 Journal of Contemporary Asia
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