Securitization Theory and the Canadian Construction of Omar Khadr

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While the provision of security and protection to its citizens is one way in which sovereign states have historically claimed legitimacy (Nyers, 2004: 204), critical security analysts point to security at the level of the individual and how governance of a nation’s security underscores the state’s inherently paradoxical relationship to its citizens. Just as the state may signify the legal and institutional structures that delimit a certain territory and provide and enforce the obligations and prerogatives of citizenship, the state can equally serve to expel and suspend modes of legal protection and obligation for some (Butler and Spivak, 2007). This dissertation presents the case of Omar Khadr as a means of highlighting the discursive dynamics by which some threats - and some people - come to be understood under the rubric of ‘security’ and the significance of this naming as an act of national identity construction (Fierke, 2007: 103-104). Demonstrating the insights of new avenues of securitization theory research and the continued real-world relevance of the case, my research looks to the constitutive role of security discourses and constituent acquiescence in determining security realities within the context of a politically unsettled period in Canadian history: 2001 to 2005. The adoption of a securitization theory lens points to key social, historical and political discourses contributing to and challenging Omar Khadr’s nomination for ‘jettisonship’. It also leads me to find his expulsion from Canadian protections and belonging as an emergent phenomenon articulated through discourses of Canadian national identity imposed by both the Canadian state and an acquiescing citizenry. The tracing of these discourses, processes of threat construction and identity contestation present in relief an evolving security dynamic inherent to ideations of citizenship and what it means to be Canadian during a time of national and global insecurity.
securitization theory, Security, Discourse Analysis, Omar Khadr, national identity, citizenship, newspaper analysis, post-9/11 Canada/US relations, Canadian identity, anti-Muslim racism
Pirnie, E. I. (2018). Securitization Theory and the Canadian Construction of Omar Khadr (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/31940