Smooth security. Creative adaptation, mimicry and deception in everyday securityscapes

Release date: 2019-07

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The article traces the everyday securityscapes of marginalized groups in Kyrgyzstan. It finds that they are as much about the crossing as the drawing of boundaries. To seek security is to become invisible, deceive, withdraw, seize momentary opportunities and continuously adapt one’s body and appearance to fit different times and places. Such activities are somewhat at odds with established apprehensions of security practice in both orthodox and critical writings, which foreground visibility and boundary-making. With a view to theoretical concepts put forward by Michel de Certeau and Gilles Deleuze, they can be understood as smooth and tactical - as opposed to striated and strategic - ways of dealing with existential insecurities of life. The acknowledgement of these smooth security practices has both analytical as well as normative implications for larger debates in (Critical) Security Studies.