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Double games: success, failure and the relocation of risk in fighting terror, drugs and migration

Keen, David and Andersson, Ruben (2018) Double games: success, failure and the relocation of risk in fighting terror, drugs and migration. Political Geography, 67. pp. 100-110. ISSN 0962-6298

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2018.09.008


This paper compares the security paradigms for combating terrorism, drugs and irregular migration and argues that while these have largely failed on their own terms, they have also proven rather successful for the actors shaping them. Through a spatial political economy analysis of systems of intervention, the paper shows how vested interests have helped perpetuate counterproductive approaches, while risks (including that of human suffering) have routinely been ‘exported’ into geographical ‘buffer zones’. In analysing the stakes in such systems, we deploy the metaphor of games. This term allows us to highlight divergences between ‘official’ goals, such as ‘winning the war,’ and unstated aims, such as perpetuating security investments, relocating risk or stoking fear for political gain. Equally important, game terminology helps us highlight the spatial and social dynamics of collaboration, conflict and rule-manipulation within the system. In exploring these dynamics, the paper puts focus empirically on the complex collaborations between Western states instigating intervention and poorer ‘partner states,’ showing how a skewed geopolitical distribution of risk may tilt security interventions in the instigators’ favour while maintaining ‘skin in the game’ for less powerful actors.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2018 Elsevier Ltd.
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2018 13:58
Last Modified: 24 May 2024 21:06

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