Security, Technology and Global Politics
Thinking with Virilio
By Mark Lacy
Routledge – 2014 – 168 pages
Series: PRIO New Security Studies
This book analyses some of the key problems explored in Paul Virilio’s theorising on war and security.
Paul Virilio has developed a provocative series of writings on how modern societies have shaped the acceleration of military/security technologies – and how technologies of security and acceleration have transformed society, economy and politics. His examination of the connections between geopolitics, war, speed, technology and control are viewed as some of the most challenging and disturbing interventions on the politics of security in the twenty-first century, interventions that help us understand a world that confronts problems that increasingly emerge from the desire to make life safer, faster, networked and more efficient.
Security, Technology and Global Politics examines some of the key concepts and concerns in Virilio’s writings on security, society and technology: endo-colonization, fear and the war on terror; cities and panic; cinema and war; ecological security and integral accidents; universities and ideas of progress. Critics often point to an apocalyptic or fatalistic element to Virilio’s writings on global politics, but this book challenges this apocalyptic reading of Virilio’s work, suggesting that – while he doesn’t provide us with easy solutions to the problems we face – the political force in Virilio’s work comes from the questions he leaves us with about speed, security and global politics in times of crisis, terror and fear.
This book will be of interest to students of critical security studies, political theory, sociology, political geography, cultural studies and IR in general.
'An incisive text that provides a timely contribution to the relevance of Paul Virilio's work. More than simply providing a generic exegesis of Virilio's thought on the contemporary issues of security, technology and catastrophe, Lacy encourages us to think through Virilio's corpus such that we can rethink with and yet beyond his intellectual positions.'-- Brad Evans, University of Bristol, UK
'Mark Lacy presents a cogent and comprehensive assessment of Paul Virilio's intellectual interventions as
a critical theorist of contemporary everyday life. This study is the best and most up-to-date analysis of his provocative insights into armed conflict, globalization, information technology, urbanization, and consumer society. Security, Technology and Global Politics clearly makes an indispensable contribution by highlighting the significance of Virilio's contributions to security studies, political sociology and international affairs before and after the global war on terrorism.' -- Timothy W. Luke, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA
''This is not a book for the faint of heart or dull of brain. Paul Virilio, the most corrosive critic of the 20th Century, has become by dint of intellect, clarity of vision, and relentless output, the most prophetic of the 21st. Mark Lacy skirts the polemics and poetics of Virilio to discover a piercing analysis of the propaganda of progress and administration of fear that define our times. Virilio has found in Lacy an interpreter worthy of his immense oeuvre: not an amanuensis but a gimlet-eyed theorist who cuts to the core of a truly revelatory critique of modernity.'' -- James Der Derian, University of Sydney, Australia
Introduction: Reading Virilio Part One: The Endo-colonization of Society 1. Security, Chronopolitics and the Democracy of Emotion 2. Cities of Panic and Siege Psychosis 3. Beyond War and Cinema Part Two: The Time of the Integral Accident 4. Accident and Emergency 5. The University of Disaster Conclusion: Virilio’s Negativity
Mark Lacy is Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations, Lancaster University, UK, and author or editor of three books.