Forskning ved Københavns Universitet - Københavns Universitet


Who’s Calling the Emergency? The Black Panthers, Securitisation and the Question of Identity

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  • Peer Illner
This article intervenes in a debate in cultural disaster studies that interprets disasters
as objects, whose study opens up an understanding of societies’ fears, anxieties and
vulnerabilities. Widening the scope of disaster studies, it proposes to view disaster
not as an object but as an optics, a matrix that frames elements of social life as an
emergency. Presenting the case of the American Black Panther Party for Self-Defense
through a framework of security studies, the article explores the Black Panthers’
politics as a process of societal securitisation that allowed African Americans
to mobilise politically by proclaiming an emergency. It traces a political trajectory
that ranged from an early endorsement of revolutionary violence to the promotion
of community services and casts this journey as a negotiation of the question of
identity and ontological security in times of crisis. Drawing on Black studies and
on stigma theory, it suggests finally, that the Panthers’ abandonment of violence
represented a shift from identity-politics to an engagement with structural positionality.
TidsskriftCulture Unbound
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)479-495
StatusUdgivet - 2015

ID: 162157097