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Governmentality and counterterrorism – Appropriating international security projects in Kenya

Journal article
Authors Jan Bachmann
Published in Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding
Volume 6
Issue 1
Pages 41-56
ISSN 1750-2977
Publication year 2012
Published at Gothenburg Centre for Globalization and Development (GCGD)
School of Global Studies
Pages 41-56
Language en
Keywords governmentality, security-development nexus, counterterrorism, appropriation, translation, Kenya
Subject categories Peace and development research


Amidst a growing influence of studies of governmentality within international relations, the article proposes a stronger engagement with the dynamics that happen in the arenas where dominant rationales are put into practices – in the interstices between programme and its realization. Conceptual tools discussed in the anthropology of development have provided useful insights on how discursive and material interventions are negotiated, translated and appropriated by the actors involved. The case of international counterterrorism engagement in Kenya, in particular the Danish ‘Peace, Security and Development Programme’, illustrates how local mobilisation against controversial counterterrorism practices in Kenya has influenced the Danish counterterrorism agenda. However, the project’s subsequent focus on ownership and empowerment remained entangled with more disciplinary forms of engagement.

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