June 2, 2017 (9:00 AM-5:30 PM)
Invited Workshop: Friends, foes, or accomplices? Civil-military relations in spaces of surveillance across Asia
(Organizer: Sahana Gosh, PhD Candidate)
There has been an increasing deployment of security forces and law enforcement agencies – police, military, paramilitary, special forces – at various sites in the geo-body of the nation under the sign of ‘national security’. In multiple borderlands, in post-conflict and post-revolution cities, in places under political occupation, along routes and in bazars, the presence of security forces has become a daily reality in the lives of many. The presence of policing transforms spaces, reconfiguring social relations, in visible and invisible ways. While violence hangs heavy, it is not the only register of encounter in spaces of surveillance. This workshop proposes to take a sustained ethnographic look at the kinds of relations that emerge on the ground, in such a variety of spaces of surveillance, from encounters between security forces and others to within the security forces themselves. Negotiations, organized resistance, patronage, embedded informers, friendships, partners in corruption – these may be some of the many scripts for civil-military relations. The participants in this workshop hope to use ethnography as an ethically engaged point of entry into the range of complex, ambivalent, and even surprising relationships that may constitute the everyday reality of the security state for many.
The workshop gathers anthropologists working at the intersections of political, legal, and feminist anthropology to combine their situated understandings of (1) the ambivalent and intimate social relations that may take shape in militarized spaces of policing and surveillance; (2) to consider inter-regional and transnational connections, historically and geo-politically, particularly in Asia; and (3) to collaboratively think through and forward an agenda for an ethnographically informed critical security studies.