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Biopolitics of hope and security: governing the future through US counterterrorism communications

Journal article
Authors Claes Tängh Wrangel
Published in Globalizations
Volume 16
Issue 5
Pages 664-677
ISSN 1474-7731
Publication year 2019
Published at School of Global Studies, Peace and Development Research
Pages 664-677
Language en
Keywords Hope, security, Obama, biopolitics, Agamben, counterterrorism communications
Subject categories Peace and development research


This article probes the relationship between hope and security, looking at how hope is appropriated and used by the US security apparatus under President Obama to pre-empt radicalisation. It looks specifically at strategic narratives designed to infuse hope within the global Muslim population – identified in US security discourse as being particularly vulnerable to terrorist recruitment. While critical studies of security often articulate hope and security to be diametrically opposed concepts, this article shows that hope not only is an active and important part of contemporary technologies and logics of security, but also that hope can be productive of the insecurities, fear and exclusions that such politics often is assumed to entail. The use of hope within US counterterrorism communications further indicates that, rather than a subversive force, hope has come to legitimise some of the key facets of post 9/11 politics of security, namely the identification of human nature as a site of potential danger, the invocation of permanent intervention, the radical exclusion of the global Muslim population from political rights, and, not the least, the effective denial of our capacity to imagine another world, free from the insecurities of our political present.

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