In-secure identities: On the securitization of abnormality

Merav Amir, Hagar Kotef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
403 Downloads (Pure)


Highly-securitized sites, such as airports, are increasingly using screening methods designed to purge racial profiling from their practices. In these contexts, profiling methods are not only seen as unlawful, but are also perceived as ineffective from a security perspective. Instead of basing security screenings on a perceived ‘dangerousness’ of social categories, these new screening methods aim to rely on automatic and objective criteria. This paper examines the shaping and effects of these security procedures, claiming that this redesigning of security technologies in accordance with practices which pertain to be scientific, measurable and objective, resulted in the creation of new categories of ‘threatening’ persons. Specifically, we show how the category of ‘normal’ became central to security sorting, and how therefore—unintentionally yet necessarily—these procedures and technologies became apparatuses of social normalization. People who deviate from given norms are then singled out as potential security threats, and are subjected to extended security probing, if not to outright violence. Tracing the effects of the increasing centrality of normalization processes to the management of securitized sites, this paper examines this reconfiguration of (ab)normality, and explores the consequences of the securitization of social deviance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-254
JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2018


  • critical security studies
  • Queer Theory
  • normalisation
  • security technologies
  • Transgender
  • Border management


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