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Conference on Identity and the Politics of Security, Sovereignty and the Challenges of World Politics

The International Conference on "Identity and the Politics of Security, Sovereignty and the Challenges of World Politics" is being organized by the Centre for Foreign Policy and Security Studies, Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar in collaboration with the Jadavpur Association of International Relations (JAIR).

Date: 15th - 16th September, 2018
Venue: The Centre for Foreign Policy & Security Studies, Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar

Concept Note:
The conference attempts to explore these controversies and to assess their implications for the broader critical 'rethinking' of security and security studies by developing a brief account of the largely unexamined historical background against which they take place. One of the major contributions of the 'critical' movement in International Relations has been to denaturalize the modern state as a starting point for analysis, and to initiate a serious examination of its historical genesis and evolution. Both the structure of the modern political order and that of the modern episteme have become areas of significant inquiry.

To examine briefly some of the ways in which the construction of the modern state and the construction of modern modes of knowledge were related in recasting the nature of security. Indeed, the new conceptions of knowledge which characterized this transformation were part of an explicit political agenda which had the problem of security at its centre. Undertaking such an examination, however, requires a considerable recasting of the way in which the relationship between security and identity is often portrayed within International Relations. To begin with, it requires challenging a consensus that has, ironically, frequently underlain competing positions on the issue - the widely held view that 'identity' was untheorized in previous forms of security studies and that the key questions involve uncovering why this was the case and assessing the implications of its 'return' .

The background against which these debates over identity need to be seen can be traced to what I will call the emergence of the 'liberal sensibility' in thinking about the politics of security, an historical attempt to construct a new ensemble of 'knowledgeable practices' in response to turmoil and violence - the security concerns - of the early modern era. The apparent absence of a concern with identity in conceptions of security needs to be understood in fact as an historical legacy of a conscious attempt to exclude identity concerns from the political realm, or as what might be called a negative identity practice that is a central element in the liberal sensibility and in its construction of the place of identity in understanding the politics of security.

The dilemma before us seems obvious enough. Threats to people's lives and well-being arise increasingly from processes that are worldwide in scope. The possibility of general nuclear war has been the most dramatic expression of our shared predicament, but potentially massive ecological disruptions and gross inequities generated by a global economy cause at least as much concern. Nevertheless, both the prevailing interpretations of what security can mean and the resources mobilized to put these interpretations into practice are fixed primarily in relation to the military requirements of supposedly sovereign states. We are faced, in short, with demands for some sort of world security, but have learned to think and act only in terms of the security of states.

Symptoms of this dilemma are readily apparent. States are less and less convincing in their claims to offer the security that partly legitimizes their power and authority. Moreover, processes set in motion by the demands of military defense evidently make us all more and more insecure as inhabitants of a small and fragile planet. Whether judged through apocalyptic images of extermination, in terms of the comparative costs of missiles and medical facilities, or on the basis of accounts of the integration of military production into the seemingly benign routines of everyday life, we know that it is scarcely possible to invoke the term "security" without sensing that something is dreadfully wrong with the way we now live.

Conference Themes:

  • Security and strategic significance of South East Asia
  • India's security challenges
  • Neighbours Major Powers and Indian Foreign Policy: Search for multiple dimensions
  • Delinking 'conditions' from bilateral negotiations
  • Persistent insecurity: lessons unlearned
  • Security threats Challenges and vulnerabilities
  • Contours of India's Grand Strategy

Call for Papers:
We invite papers on each of the above mentioned themes. Contributions are expected to explore the philosophical significance of the questions emerging within the scope of each theme. However, good quality papers not falling under any of the above mentioned themes are also welcome. Papers are invited from policy analysts, researchers from academics and civil society, young scholars and students.

Authors are advised to limit their contributions to 4500 - 6000 words. Papers should be prepared for blind review, and send along with 300 words Abstract on or before 10th April, 2018. The papers may be sent to

A top sheet of the paper must contain the following information and affixed to each contribution:

  • Title of the Paper
  • Author's Name(s)
  • Designation and Institutional Affiliation
  • Email ID.

This word file should be saved in the name of the Author (first Author's name in case of joint Authors)

Registration Fee: Early Bird (till 10th April, 2018)

  • Delegate (with accommodation): Rs. 2500/-
  • Delegate (without accommodation): Rs 1000/-

Participants should send their Registration fees after the acceptance of Abstracts by Demand Draft in favor of the "Registrar, Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar". (Please write your name and the title of the conference on the reverse side of the Demand Draft)

The Organizing Committee will provide hospitality including breakfast, lunch, tea, and dinner (on the days of the seminar). Accommodation will be arranged by the committee for which prior information must be provided well in advance in the format given in the Registration form.

A local sightseeing tour of Sabarmati Ashram can be arranged for the outstation participants on 16th September, 2018 for which the participants would have to bear the costs themselves.

Based on the recommendations of the Screening committee a limited number of bursaries (Rs. 3000/- only) would be awarded to selected participants who submit their full papers by 10th April, 2018.

Important Dates:

Last date for sending Abstract (as an email attachment):

10th April, 2018

Intimation of acceptance of Abstract after scrutiny:

12th April, 2018

Last date of registration (Demand Draft with registration form):

10th May, 2018

Last date for sending full papers:

20th June, 2018

Mr. Malik Aruna Kumar
Phone: +91-8128650850

Dr. William Nunes
Phone: +91-8128650855.

The Convener
Centre for Foreign Policy and Security Studies
Gujarat National Law University, Attalika Avenue,
Knowledge Corridor, Sub-Post Office Koba,
Koba, Gandhinagar-382426

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