War: The Final Word in Managing Risk

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 11:00
Location: Hörsaal 23 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Vesa KOSKELA, University of Turku, Finland
This presentation will constitute a part of my ongoing PhD dissertation dealing with meaning and rationale of war. It is intended to be a broader look into the phenomenon of war and associated discourse. The work draws upon theoretical contributions from a variety of disciplines and theories, namely securitization theory, speech act theory, and frame analysis. Critical linguistics has also had an impact and the work of Lilie Chouliaraki informs the critical strain of this work.

The presentation I intend to submit for this Committee deals with discourse of war. The problematique of assigning the status of war to a particular phenomenon occupies part of this presentation, but foremost attention is given to evaluating war or application of physical force as a vehicle for managing or eliminating risk. The discourse that informs an event partially constitutes it, so understanding how an issue is named and framed is critical in understanding its nature and function.

By studying previous works on discourse and legitimation of war, and evaluating them against my own research focussing on the Russo-Georgian war of 2008, I seek to achieve a clearer picture of those indicators that inform language making war palatable and possible. Legitimation describes the function that many discourses exhibit in relation to a “war”, particularly elite discourse, and has been a well-researched topic. However, I intend to look at this issue as one of control. By way of framing and semantic manoeuvring war and acts of war can be brought into the realm of security by the speaker(s), where normal rules and mores can bend and cease to apply. This is the prospect of securitization, a theory in Security Studies well-suited to supplement an otherwise discursive project delving into contemporary conception of war.