Call for papers/panels for the 2021 BISA conference, and for future PPWG virtual events

The PPWG invites submissions for our allocation at the 2021 conference, and for future PPWG virtual events.

The admissions systems for the conference will open at 11am on Monday 16 November, and close at midnight on Friday 15 January 2021. As this will be entirely online, the number of panels is less than in previous years, meaning that the PPWG has been allocated up to two slots. We will be able to submit additional panels, but these will only be allocated if space becomes available.

We are open to all panel and paper submissions that fall within general outlines of the PPWG ethos.

We also welcome submissions that respond to the specific calls listed below: Poststructuralist approaches to everyday security practices, convened by Kodili; and Rethinking critique in divided societies, convened by Patrick.

We aim to reserve at least half the slots for papers from PhD researchers.

While this may lead to more submissions than are available for the conference, BISA will continue supporting working group virtual events until March 2021. We would therefore seek to host any panels that cannot fit in the June 2021 conference as a PPWG Virtual Event, sometime before the end of March 2021.

If you would like to make an open panel or paper submission, please do so online via the conference management system, Indico. The link, along with all other information, will be available on the BISA conference website from Monday 16 November – Please make sure you link your submission to the PPWG!

If you would like to submit a paper under the panel suggestions below, please get in touch with the named co-convenor by Wednesday 6th January 2021.

We look forward to your submissions!


Panel suggestions:


Poststructuralist approaches to everyday security practices. Contact Kodili Chukwuma

Attempts to think about the contested concept of security from the banal, daily, and quotidian practices of people and groups has contributed to dismantling state/military discourses about security. The distinction between ‘the everyday’ as a ‘realm of practice’ in which security imaginaries emerge, as opposed to the everyday as a concept employed, mostly, in elite security discourses to describe ‘normality,’ is useful. Nonetheless, the discussion around everyday security practices is often mired in entangled propositions which may ultimately recalibrate state-centrism and/or essentialist binaries of elite vs minority, state vs society, and dominant vs repressed.

The literature on everyday security can be summarised in three tableaus. First, it seeks to centre the anxieties, fears, experiences, and understandings of security of people and groups. Second, it looks at the techniques, practices, and technologies across daily life, focusing attention on how security governance is understood and experienced by different people (that is, from below/bottom-up). A third, and related, concern is how people, through everyday activities, reproduces and subvert elitist discourses of security. Indeed, while all three problematise the straightforward distinction between elite politics and the everyday, , two limitations can be identified. On the one hand, it may lead to the homogenisation of certain groups and their security logics. On the other hand, it may reproduce the division between hegemonic or dominant discourses and those of minority groups, whether through practices of subverting, remaking, and/or undoing elitist discourse.

In light of the above, this panel invites papers that  grapple with these issues, in a range of geographical and political environments. In particular, papers may address some of the following, and related, questions: what, if any, poststructural tools are capable of addressing (and avoiding) the homogenisation of the understandings and experiences of different groups in security contexts? How can we generate forms of analysis that treat ‘the everyday’ as unstable, flexible, and incomplete? How can we move beyond the binaries of elite vs minority, state vs society, and so on?


Rethinking critique in divided societies. Contact Patrick Pinkerton 

The critical tools developed by scholars within poststructuralism, such as resistance, postcolonialism, decoloniality, and genealogy, have been productively employed to challenge unequal power dynamics, to give voice and agency to the dispossessed, and to highlight the desubjectifying and depoliticising effects of governing practices. Innovative work on scandal and silence is also currently challenging the elisions and omissions that often accompany violent practices, in order to refocus attention on what is all too often marginalised, discredited or erased. 

When analysing situations such as state-led colonial violence, rampant militarism, repressive security measures, or destructive economic practices, such critique, and the political activism it engenders, can readily appear as the most appropriate response. In other words, such critical tools seem best placed to challenge the hegemonic violence of state agents, security professionals, and powerful capitalist enterprises, and to empower marginalised groups so they can take meaningful roles in political processes.

But what happens when we seek to apply such critique in situations where conflicts do not so clearly follow hegemonic/counter-hegemonic, state/non-state, or powerful/marginalised dynamics? In situations where societal divisions are keenly felt, but the power dynamics between divided groups are messy or unclear, can the critical tools developed by poststructural scholars respond in a manner which does more than ‘pick sides’, and thus risk replicating the lines of division? 

This panel invites papers that grapple with these, and related, questions, through engagement with cases of societal division from around the world. Papers could look for new ways to utilise poststructural thinking to develop critical tools to engage with such conflictual situations; they could argue that such situations show the limits of poststructural critique, thus calling for new ideas to be forged; they could reject the idea of ‘taking sides’; or they could argue that we must always ‘take sides’, with the key ethical-political question being: what comes after we ‘take sides’?





This article was published on