Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Faculty of Arts
This dissertation examines the global mobility of security knowhow in relation to the management of terrorism in megacities. Specifically, it offers three insights. First, it shows how historical events are performed as sites in need of transnational policy intervention. Second, it enables an understanding of how and why the sourcing of policy ‘models’ actually takes place. Third, it sheds light on how mobile policy schemes travel geographically and are put to work in particular contexts. In doing so, it elaborates on the conditions under which policies move geographically but also addresses the kinds of constraints and contradictions they face.
The dissertation develops two closely related theses. The first has to do with how policy models are constructed as mobile objects while the second highlights the kinds of pressures and conflicts that such models are used to resolve. Regarding the construction of policy models, Israel’s status as a global policy exemplar should not be understood as a closed professional consensus or incontrovertible fact that exists independently ‘out there’. Rather it is a deeply ideological construct, emerging from processes of geographic interaction. Israel’s claim to expertise in security knowledge needs to be constantly re- articulated. Indeed, the Israeli involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks (26/11) reveals a basic tension. On the one hand, the Israeli officials’ prerogatives to comment on the handling of 26/11 reflects Israel’s dominant position on matters of counter-terrorism and homeland security (HLS). On the other hand, the extensive efforts of Israeli officials to situate Israeli security expertise as a ‘solution’ also reveals that the relationship between 26/11 and the ‘Israeli experience’ of fighting terrorism was not, in fact, obvious or natural. This link had to be actively made. Indeed, the event’s status as a failure of governance in need of urgent policy intervention emerged through Israeli criticisms of Indian security authorities and comparisons to their own alleged success in managing live terror attacks.
The second component of my thesis is that the Mumbai authorities’ decision to take up Israeli security ‘solutions’ must be situated in relation to local public pressures and conflicts to which 26/11 gave rise. The reason why Maharashtra politicians decided to learn from Israel in 2009 was not because they suddenly woke up to the reality of global terrorism and realized that ‘securing’ Mumbai against this threat would require a set of technical skills that they lacked. Rather it was because they believed that an association with Israel would be helpful in managing public dissent and restoring their authority to govern. What ‘learning from Israel’ offered was not a set of concrete policy prescriptions for how to manage terrorism but rather an image of progress and success.
Machold, Rhys A., "TENTATIVE SECURITIES: 26/11, ISRAEL AND THE POLITICS OF MOBILITY" (2015). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 1776.