Places of Risk, Sites of Modernity: Cultures of Security and Risk since the 1970s

Places of Risk, Sites of Modernity: Cultures of Security and Risk since the 1970s

Friday, 31 May 2019 - 10:00am to Saturday, 1 June 2019 - 1:00pm
Seminar Room, European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6HR
Professor Martin Geyer (Weizsaecker Visiting Fellow, St Antony’s College, Oxford)
Visiting Fellows Series

The European Studies Centre Richard von Weizsaecker Fellow Conference 2019 is entitled: Places of Risk – Sites of Modernity: Cultures of Security and Risk since the 1970s

“Places of Risk – Sites of Modernity” are not meant to be understood only as specific physical locations, but also as objects and institutions and instrumental means that stand at the centre of debates on security and risks: places where energy and infrastructure are produced; places of domestic security like prisons and also monitoring apparatuses, such as surveillance cameras and security protection zones; places like airplanes, airports, military facilities; and places of leisure (and their inherent risks for individuals, as in mountaineering). Security cameras are of similar interest as policing or statistical observation. With a focus on concrete sites, the workshop will inquire into the changing concepts of security and risk, various forms of insurance, surveillance, and risk calculation, both for individual and collective risk estimations. This makes it necessary to look at strategies of “securitisation”, also in the form of risk and security scenarios, including declared and even undeclared states of emergency. But it also means taking a particular interest in concrete practices of controlling and managing both (micro-)spaces and human beings and new forms of governmentality. This pertains to technocratic analysis and the emergence of new “security experts”. The focus will be on the time period starting in the 1970s, a time with sprawling debates about security and risk which were, more often than not, linked to debates about issues of modernisation and modernity. Participants of the workshop should explore how ideas of security, risk, and modernity thrived on re-conceptualisations of the past and especially the future, in particular how risks became the prevailing framework in which to talk about the future. 

Convenor: Professor Martin Geyer (Weizsaecker Visiting Fellow, St Antony’s College, Oxford)

Martin H. Geyer is the Richard von Weizsäcker Visiting Fellow at the European Studies Center for the academic year 2018/19. He has been Professor for Modern German History at the Ludwig Maximilians Universität München since 1997. His current research interest and recent publications deal with issues of political scandals, the history of capitalism, and political and social theories in the 1970s and 1980s. His latest publications include Kapitalismus und politische Moral in der Zwischenkriegszeit, oder: Wer war Julius Barmat (Hamburger Edition, 2018). His current research project is entitled States of Emergency: What We Can Learn Today from Interwar German History.

Confirmed participants and their subject areas:
Prof. Faisal Devji (Oxford): Sovereign Risk: Islamism and its Radical 
Maximilian Buschmann (München), M.A.: The Decade of Hunger Strikes? Radical Protest and the Perilous Politics of Emergency in the 1970s.
Prof. Waltraud Schelke (LSE): The Social Risk Management of Central Banks.
Prof. Bernhard Rieger (Leiden): Individualizing Risk? Unemployment Policy and the Transformation of Social Security in Britain Since the Seventies.
Dr. Christine Krüger (Marburg): Risky Housing, Squatting and the Emerging "Crisis of the Welfare State"
Dr. Nicolai Hannig (München): Natural disasters and insurance. Risk management in the late 20th century
Prof. Martin Lengwiler (Basel): Commercialising Mega-Risks: Securitisation in Reinsurance since the 1980s
Prof. Thomas Lindenberger (Dresden): Terror and Training: Fighting Large Accidents in Late State Socialism (GDR 1970-1990)
Dr. Marcus Böick (Bochum): 'Black Sheriffs' or 'Security Partner'? The History of Private Security since the 1970s
Prof. Greg Egihgian (Penn State): Intimate Insecurities: Toward Explaining the Rise of the Alien Abduction Phenomenon
Prof. Peter Becker (Wien): It's the Brain, stupid: Neuroscience and Crime?
Dr. Isaac Stanley-Becker (Oxford): Policing Schengenland 

Prof. Paul Betts (Oxford)
Prof. Patricia Clavin (Oxford)
Prof. Ann Deighton (Oxford)
Prof. David Priestland (Oxford)
Prof. Nick Stargardt Oxford

Further information about session timings will follow in due course. Please note that this is subject to change.

Registration in advance is essential as places at the venue are limited. Please email: with your interest.