Seduced and Surrounded by Security: A Post-Structuralist Take on Norwegian High North Securitizing Discourses

Cooperation and Conflict, Vol 48, No 1, 2013, pp. 80-99.

Combining elements of the Copenhagen School’s securitization theory with a Foucauldian discourse analysis, this article examines certain discursive processes that emerged in the wake of Norway’s 2005 High North Initiative. The Norwegian government’s explicit politicization of energy issues appears to have acted as door opener, letting ‘security’ in to colonize the High North discourses once more. Russia is again firmly positioned as the ‘radical other’, leaving the discursive field open to various forms of securitizing discourses.  The post-2005 discursive field of the Northern areas is, in many ways, more open-ended, complex and confusing than ever. The opening up and expansion of the concept of High North security means that ‘everything’ is seen as having a security potential. What does seem clear is the increasing presence of security in primary texts and the media debate: entry to and credibility in the discourse depends on ‘security speak’ across an ever-widening array of thematic contexts. The article also argues that a combination of securitization theory and discourse analysis seems a fruitful way forward in shifting more focus towards the active and important role of the audience in securitizing processes.