Rune Saugmann Andersen defends his PhD – University of Copenhagen

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16 February 2015

Rune Saugmann Andersen defends his PhD

CAST PhD.-student Rune Saugmann Andersen defended his PhD.-thesis "Remediating Security: A Semiotic Framework for Analyzing How Video Speaks Security" last week. In his thesis Rune studies the role of video as a medium in international security matters.

The video medium has expanded enormously in both reach and importance during the last decade, perhaps finally reaching something like the video age postulated many times around the 1991 Gulf War. Ever since the symbolic inauguration of a new video/security era by a bizarre triangle of intertextuality between endlessly re-circulated citizens’ video footage capturing the attacks against the World Trade Center in 2001, remediations of Osama Bin Laden’s video messages from the Afghan hinterland, and tightly managed video broadcasts from missiles cameras and embedded journalists showing the quest to bomb Bin Laden out of that same hinterland; it has been clear that a link between video or visuality and security was undergoing change, prompting persistent calls for security theory to deal with the visual, and, more specifically, calls and outlines for securitization theory to do the same.

Rune's thesis attempts to trace how videos emerging in the mediatized public space participate in representing (in)security and in doing so pose questions to securitization theory’s understanding of the intersubjective constitution of security.

It does so by analyzing public videos and their link to the political processes underlying securitization theory, i.e. the constitution of referent objects of security and the articulation of threat. It does so by analyzing videos that have ended up as focal points in public debates about security: Protesters’ videos from the Iranian post-election protests of 2009; police and protesters’ videos from the forced eviction of refugee seekers from the Brorson Church in Copenhagen in 2009; US battle video from an episode in Iraq where a dozen civilians and 2 Reuters employees were killed, released by Wikileaks in 2010. Theoretically, it does so by bringing a media-semiotic apparatus of analysis to securitization theory; enabling a closer scrutinizing of how circulation and stabilization of (visual) knowledge takes place and how this circulation is rendered meaningful, exposing in doing so the politicality of the processes of (both visual and verbal) constitution of referent objects and articulation of threats.

Rune's thesis can be bought in campus book shop Academic Books for 150dkk.