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Message posted on 27/11/2019

CfP "Researching security communities of practice" EWIS Brussels, 1-4 July 2020

Dear all,
please find below a Call for Papers that might be of interest for those
working at the intersections of STS, anthropology and security studies.
Deadline is January 13.


Researching security communities of practice: Ethical concerns,
challenges and coping strategies

European Workshops in International Studies, Brussels, 1-4 July 2020

_Conveners: Nina Klimburg-Witjes (University of Vienna) & Matthias Leese
(ETH Zurich)

More recently, debates have proliferated about the ethical and
methodological challenges that come with ethnographies of security and
engagement with security professionals (de Goede et al 2019; Leese et al
2019; Rappert & Gould 2017). Building on these debates, this workshop is
interested in concrete obstacles and ethical conflicts that arise when
doing research on and with “security communities of practice” (Adler
2008; Bueger 2017) as well as the coping strategies that researchers
have developed in their fieldwork.

Challenges can appear in mundane and multiple forms. For instance, what
about the informal dinner conversation that was never supposed to end up
as research data, and yet has produced important insights into the
politics behind security legislation? Can it be justified to approach
industry representatives at a trade show under the false pretense of
being a possible client for their surveillance system, so that they
would elaborate in detail on the technical capacities of their product?
Or what about deliberately using gender or class stereotypes that we, as
researchers, might be opposed to but that still seem useful in talking
to informants?

We invite contributions that, building on field work experiences and
drawing on critical security studies and STS, discuss the multiple ways
in which how knowing about security and engaging with security milieus
are co-productive of each other by focusing on one or more of the
following themes:

(1) investigating the contingent relations of researchers’ identities
during various engagements with security professionals, the discourses
they contribute to (unknowingly, strategically, or even by rejecting
them), the representations of scientific ideals and requirements of
confidentiality, as well as the different ways in which researchers are
supported, mentored or hindered to conduct ethically sound but
individually and politically challenging research in the field of

(2) focusing on ethical concerns in security studies, such as procedural
ethics (e.g. how is informed consent dealt with as a requirement in
social science?), situational ethics (e.g. the relationships between
researchers and their informants; the situatedness of the researcher in
a particular context that requires different forms of openness and
engagement), or relational ethics (e.g. the responsibility of the
researcher to decide which information to publish and to navigate the
conflicting logics of valuations in science and security, for instance
publication output and confidential information)

(3) exploring the productive overlaps between IR/critical security
studies and other fields, in particular STS and anthropology, and
addressing the different ways and strategies of dealing with the messy
and often secluded field of security during empirical work by exploring
novel forms of collaboration and engagement with practitioners

Please submit your abstract of max. 250 words here: and select
“Workshop U”

The deadline for submissions is 13 January 2020

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Nina
Klimburg-Witjes ( and Matthias Leese
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