class="csc-default"Who draws the line between knowledge and ignorance?

Zentrum Geschichte des Wissens

Universität Zürich

Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich

Zentrum Geschichte des Wissens

Universität Zürich

Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich

PROF. DR. MARIEKE DE GOEDE (Amsterdam)

The Chain of Security - Producing Security Knowledge across Private and Public Spheres

ZGW Kolloquium am 7. März 2018

Increasingly, private companies – including Twitter, airlines and banks – find themselves in the frontline of fighting terrorism and other security threats, because they are obliged to mine and expel suspicious transactions. This lecture analyses how private companies produce knowledge concerning the normal, abnormal and suspicious. The lecture develops the notion of the Chain of Security in order to conceptualise the ways in which security knowledge is formed across public/private domains and on the basis of commercial transactions. Drawing on the work of Bruno Latour, I understand the security chain as the set of practices whereby commercial transactions are collected, stored, transferred and analysed, in order to arrive at security facts. Understanding the path of the suspicious transaction as a series of translations across professional domains draws attention to the processes of sequencing, movement and referral in the production of security judgements. In this lecture, I use the chain of financial suspicious transactions reporting as example to show how this research ‘thinking tool’ can work. The lecture also discusses the challenges and methods of doing qualitative fieldwork in secretive settings: how can we negotiate secrecy in the study of knowledge practices?