Feeling Ontologically (In)Secure: States, Traumas and the Governing of Gendered Space
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This article proceeds from a conceptual analysis of how ontological (in)security is constructed in terms of ‘security-of-being’ in which identity dynamics are explicated in socio-psychological terms. Of particular interest is how such dynamics transcend the boundaries of individual self/other constructions to define communities and states, and how these dynamics are transformed in times of trauma and crises. Narratives of everyday traumas are especially significant in creating notions of gendered space and (in)security, and for securitising subjectivities. This article thus investigates a number of theoretical propositions and developments involved in recent debates on the emotional dimension of ontological (in)security and its relationship to states, traumas and the securitisation of subjectivity. A gendered perspective of these debates allows us to analyse, and perhaps move beyond, some of the problematic aspects of the ontological security literature as originally developed by Laing and Giddens, and later on by sociologists and international relations scholars. Using the case of India as an example, the article shows how narrative reconstructions of traumas and collective memory shape gendered space and the search for ontological security, and how attempts to govern these events and practices impact on notions of gendered space and ontological insecurity.