The Politics of Paranoia: Affect, Temporality, and the Epistemology of Securitization
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The concept of “national security” has been an essential part of the political lexicon of the United States since the aftermath of World War II. Although it could be said that security in one way or another has always been a concern for societies, and a central political concern for the western world at least since the seventeenth century, it took its full-fledged official form in the United States with the 1947 National Security Act which established the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as shaping the direction of the post-World War II foreign policy. National security constitutes the frame through which many political practices attain their meaning and justification today. My dissertation is devoted to understanding precisely this process wherein there is a particular political rationality at work that not only renders certain kinds of political practices preferable, but also insists on their necessity and inevitability. I call this the politics of paranoia. I argue that the concept of paranoia has explanatory power in relation to an array of political decisions, processes, and practices. It is descriptive of a diagram of power that is operative in contemporary practices of securitization. It is not only that these decisions, processes, and practices produce paranoid effects (or affects), but that they themselves entail a paranoiac logic. To this end, I rethink Melanie Klein's account of paranoia through a Foucaultian decolonial feminist lens. I examine this paranoiac logic in four layers: expulsions, anticipatory temporality, masculinist politics, and paranoid affects.