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Transition Universities conference, Winchester,
February 2011

Climate Change and Violence workshop series 2008 - 2012
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Climate Change and Humanity, November 2004
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Workshop 3: Securing the State: Domestic Agendas

This third workshop seeks to put under the spotlight how the normative state ‘understands’ itself under conditions of extremity and seeks to secure its interests. Much of this workshop’s focus is expected to be on Britain though we welcome papers which explore other states and their security apparatuses.  We will consider whether we can look to recent precedents - including Cold War planning for nuclear threat as well as for domestic terrorism  ( Irish, jihadist and otherwise) – as plausible indicators of likely state response to  single, cumulative or sequential climate change emergencies. Sessions of the day will also ask who or what is emergency planning for exactly? What is ‘secured’ and what is lost, or more precisely consciously subordinated or de-prioritised when the state perceives itself under threat?  Is there a bottom line?  Is there perhaps also a ‘new normal’ in operation, for instance - post 9/11 - which infers that the state apparatus is willing to contemplate responses to serious emergency which might have been considered unacceptable or even inconceivable in an earlier era?  A further issue this workshop will wish to consider is the role of policing and peace-keeping in cases of sustained emergency.  Again, can we, should we, contemplate possible scenarios for disturbances and inter-communal violence under conditions of extremity?  Recent episodes, for instance both in expectation of and recovery from hurricane Katrina may point to lessons on how the bedrock upon which emergency planning is premised and operates may lead either to an amplification or diminution of violence both in terms of state on people, people on people, and people on state.  Finally, we ask: can we expect the state’s apparatus to remain neutral in cases of sustained emergency. At what point does the state action have negative consequences for the common weal?

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