Publication | Doing and Mediating Critique

An early (pre-print) version of my latest article (with Rocco Bellanova and Mareile Kaufmann) entitled Doing and Mediating Critique: An Invitation to Practice Companionship is now available. The article will be published in Security Dialogue 50 (1), 2019.


What does it mean to study security from a critical perspective? This question keeps haunting critical security studies. Conversations about normative stances, political engagement, and the role of critique are mainstays of the discipline. However, they tend to revolve around a too disembodied image of research, where the everyday practice of researchers is sidelined. Yet, researchers do do research: they work materially, socially, and cognitively. They mediate between various feedback loops or fields of critique. In doing so, they actively build and exercise critique. First, despite manifold suggestions to abandon critique, we suggest returning to the practice of critique via the notion of companionship. This permits us to reinvigorate our attention to the objects, persons, and phenomena through which critique gains inspiration and purpose, and that literally accompany our relationship to critique. Second, we explore what happens when our companions disagree, when critique faces controversies and (a)symmetries. Here, we support research designs of tracing credibility and establishing symmetries in order to move away from critique as denouncing positions we disagree with. Third, we discuss the relation between companionship, critique, reflexivity, and style. Here, the rhetorical practices of critical inquiry are laid out, and possibilities for its articulation in different and less silencing voices are proposed.

Citation: Austin, Jonathan Luke., Bellanova, Rocco. & Kaufmann, Mareile. (2019). ‘Doing and Mediating Critique: An Invitation to Practice Companionship,’ Security Dialogue 50 (1).

A copy of the article can be downloaded here.