Uncommon Sense Part 5: Security

The Sociological Review

Alexis Hieu Truong: Hi, welcome back to Uncommon Sense from The Sociological Review, I’m Alexis Hieu Truong in Quebec, Canada. Rosie Hancock: And I’m Rosie Hancock in Sydney, Australia. This podcast is about showing that sociology doesn’t belong to universities or professional academics, it belongs to all of us. Each month, we take something we might assume we’re pretty familiar with. And we sit with it for a while to try and have a look at it sideways. Because, actually, talking differently about the world can be a route to changing it. Alexis Hieu Truong: Now, today, we’re looking at something you might think sociologists have a little to do with: security. Think of that word, and perhaps you jumped to images of passport control, border control, perhaps terrorism, politicians going on about national security, and indeed, the restrictions on civil liberties after 9/11 and the rise of Islamophobia. So, I guess, like what we’re thinking about here is really, like, these ideas of control, fear, borders, walls, and othering. Rosie Hancock: You can totally also go the other way, though, and think about it at a really personal level. So, the idea of security is something individual. And I’m thinking here about even psychological insecurity – psychological insecurity which I reckon has always been pretty gendered; shout-out to Kanye West singing “All Falls Down” about a woman being insecure or whatever. I mean, it’s clear that security is just this vast, fascinating, but also very slippery notion. I don’t know, Alexis, I’d suggest that security seems like something we often only become really aware of when it feels threatened. Can I ask when you first remember being aware of security, personally? Alexis Hieu Truong: Hmm … There was this time when I was doing my MA in Social Work, and I was working in a high school. And there was an incident with a youth that brought a BB gun that looked like a gun, and then the cops were called, they came in, they stormed the cafeteria … But, interacting with the students afterwards, what was most threatening, like, about the safety … that was not the idea, necessarily, of the BB gun itself. It was really the interactions with the police, where many of the students had had prior interactions with police that they would define as negative or violent, and that really had a big impact on them. What about you, Rosie? Rosie Hancock: Yeah, well, I guess my example feels pretty different, actually. The moment when I first felt my security is something that was at stake or under threat, was back in my 20s, when a man followed me home one night, and he peered really creepily over the gate as I was going in the front door, and completely freaked me out. It really shook my sense of security in my own home. I mean, it seems far away from your example but, when I think about it, both of them do share the sense of some kind of certainty being shaken. And of security as depending on the behaviour, the actions, or quite literally, in my case, the gaze of others. And both examples are very much sort of about power, yeah? Alexis Hieu Truong: Yeah. Well, today, we’re actually talking to someone whose work is all about security and indeed, power. And who’s going to help us think about how sociologists might think about all of this. She’s Daria Krivonos, and a researcher at the University of Helsinki looking at things like migration, race, class and post-socialism – much of it with a focus on Central and Eastern Europe, including Ukraine. Hi, Daria, great to have you with us. Daria Krivonos: Hi, nice to see you. Nice to hear you. Rosie Hancock: Daria, you just heard the wide-ranging examples, actually, that Alexis and I gave about our personal experiences with security. Is there a time in your life when you remember first thinking in terms of security that you’d be happy to share with us, that is? Daria Krivonos: Yeah, of course. To me, my sense of security is really tied to the question of being a migrant, and being a migrant in Finland. And until I got my Finnish citizenship, so I became a naturalised citizen in Finland. I think that my sense of security really dependent a lot on the fact that, well, I can become a deportable subject at any point when my residence permit expires. So, I had a Russian citizenship, and before – well, I still have it – but now I have double citizenship. And of course, it largely affects my sense of security, in the sense that, well, I’m not a deportable subject anymore and I don’t need to depend on a system of residence permits to have a regular residence in Finland. Alexis Hieu Truong: I guess that’s a reminder that there are all sorts of definitions, right, of security out there. And as we mentioned, security is a term that seems to belong either to the world of, like, on the one hand politics and geopolitics, and at the level of the nation state, like borders, defence, and so on; or otherwise it can belong also to the world of psychology at the really micro level, at the level of individuals. But how, like, you Daria … how would you define security as a socio … in like, in sociological terms? Daria Krivonos: Well, indeed, security is a really broad term. And I would say that quite often security is the term which is used more widely in international relations, or in politics, or international politics, when security is discussed more in terms of geopolitics or security of nation-states. But I think that sociologists and I, myself particularly, I’m more interested in questions of whose security are we talking about (?) and more in the questions of insecurity and precarity. And I would say that sociologists are much more interested in the questions of how security of some people depends and relies on the insecurity of other people; or how insecurity or imaginary security of a nation-state depends on everyday insecurity of migrants, racialised and non-white people. So, here I would say that it’s more about kind of whose security we are talking about? There is no universal security, I would say. Rosie Hancock: Yeah, right. So, I was thinking one of the things that does bridge psychology and sociology is an idea called ontological security, and bear with me guys, like, I know that we say “no jargon” – that’s a pretty jargony word. So, ontological security was talked about quite a while ago by people like the sociologist Anthony Giddens, and a couple of psychologists too, and the concept – so this is me trying to explain it… I’ll do my best. The concept is all about the idea of a sense of security in one’s own sense of self, about our experience of being in the world. So, sociologists have used it to explore say, how we seek out certain things like belonging and community that help our sense of self be stable in response to the shifts and changes out there in the wider world. I mean, look, it’s not a concept I work with myself, if you can’t tell by that, that slightly odd explanation. But it seems that you could say it’s something that’s been really shaken for many people in recent years. Is ontological security, basically, a luxury that some of us can access more easily than others? Daria Krivonos: Well, to me, ontological security is a really broad term. And actually, I haven’t worked with this term that much. To me, I think, it doesn’t really capture all the nuances of security. And I started my explanation to my understanding of security that it’s really, like … we have to take questions of race, gender, sexuality, class, when we talk about security, and how security and insecurity, actually, widely are very closely connected. That’s why I was always wondering how exactly does the concept of ontological security capture all these nuances? Because, to me, it tends to offer this kind of a universal explanation of security that we all share this “universal” ontological security. But then I’m wondering whose ontology we’re talking about? If ontology is about being, then who’s being we’re talking about? And I think that’s the key question sociologists have been working with. So, to me, I would say that maybe ontological security is a bit of a too broad term, and it doesn’t convince me really. I would rather work with questions of insecurity. Alexis Hieu Truong: Okay. Now, keeping in line with jargon-busting, again, if we’re talking about security, there’s one word that’s bound to come up pretty soon – securitisation. So, I think it’s worth stopping to define it right away. Can you define it a bit for us Daria? Daria Krivonos: Yeah. I’ve been working and other people are working with questions of migration. We worked a lot with the concept of securitisation of migration. And I will define securitisation as a particular narrative through which immigration, for example, is defined as a threat to Europe or to Western communities. So, rather than thinking of security as something stable or given or static, we can think about securitisation as a process or as a narrative, which constructs certain people as a “danger” to security of other people or states, for example. Rosie Hancock: You’re right. So, I guess it’s … securitisation sort of works in the same way that a concept like criminalisation or racialisation works. So, you know, like, we talk about criminalisation rather than just criminals, or racialisation rather than just race, because no one’s a criminal per se, and race doesn’t pre-exist social processes. So, the “-isation” on securitisation does a similar thing, right? Like, migration isn’t essentially threatening. It’s framed as a “security threat” by those who refer to it as such. Daria Krivonos: Yeah, exactly. I think that this “-isation” in the end refers to the process of producing certain things as a “threat” or as a “security threat” to others. Or, if we think about racialisation, it’s also about, like, producing certain subjects, rather than thinking of them as given or like biologically naturalised. Rosie Hancock: Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting, because, you know, thinking about migration not being inherently threatening in and of itself, I’m a migrant and I talk now like most Australians do as well, but I’m actually from New Zealand. But even when I just migrated, I wasn’t necessarily ever considered or treated like a “migrant”. I’m doing scare quotes for listeners at home. Because, you know, the scary discourse about migrants is not necessarily about people like me, if that makes sense. Daria Krivonos: Yeah, absolutely. I would say that we can also think about what the word “migrant” means and who we imagine as a migrant. And it’s interesting that wherever I was doing my fieldwork – now, for example, I’m in Warsaw doing fieldwork among Ukrainian migrants, which … I started this project before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And also here, nobody wanted to be a “migrant”. And whenever I would say that I’m studying Ukrainian migrants, they would say, like, “no, but we are normal people, you should go to this particular bus station where labour migrants from Ukraine are arriving”. So, the idea of a migrant is really classed and racialised. So, not everybody is imagined as a migrant, and not everybody wants to be a migrant. That’s why we have this word, as in “expat”. People travelling within the EU – like, white people travelling within the EU or travelling to non-european countries that they would rather refer to themselves as “expats”. And I would even say that it might be an insult for them to be called “migrants”. Rosie Hancock: Really? Daria Krivonos: Yeah, well, because “migrant” is … as I said, it’s a very kind of a classed and racialised category that usually non-white people might be referred to as “migrants”. And we can think even further how people become migrantised, or migrantisised might be better. So, how citizens, like people who are born in the country, how they will be called “migrants” just because they’re not white. So, we see here how, again, the idea of migration and migrant has nothing to do or has not … it has nothing to do with one’s citizenship status. Because you can be born in the country – yeah, exactly – and you’d be still referred to as a “migrant”. Alexis Hieu Truong: That’s really interesting, because like, I was born in Canada, but because my father is Vietnamese, like, I look, I guess, not white – if that’s a category – and I have my earliest memories, like going to elementary school and stuff like that, is about explaining where I’m from, right, and definitely being considered as someone from outside of Canada. But talking about the securitisation of migration, a word that often comes with that is the word – crisis. So, I’m thinking, of course, of the so-called “migrant crisis” of 2015, when more than a million people labelled as “migrants and refugees” came to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea. Many, but not all, driven by war in Syria, right? There’s this book by Alison Mountz, “The Death of Asylum”, where she highlights how the word “crisis” is often overused in the context of migration; how that word does serious political work. So, I wonder what happens if we talk about the so-called “migrant crisis” of 2015 with that kind of critical awareness in mind? Daria Krivonos: I think it’s important to think of “crisis” and the narrative of crisis as productive. So, and again, I think that all our conversation is about how we shouldn’t take anything for granted neither “security” nor “crisis”, nor “migrant”. So, let’s take one more word, well – crisis. I think it’s a really dangerous way to frame certain things as crisis, and for example, what was happening in 2015 when one million people labelled as “refugees and migrants” came to Europe, then the situation was framed as “crisis”. But, then, we can also ask what this narrative and the discourse of “crisis” do? Because when we call something “crisis”, then we frame the situation as really unprecedented, unexpected, something that should require very fast, immediate, unprecedented response. And I think this is the moment when we should look into how border enforcement becomes even more strengthened, and how more and more money is being invested into the policing of borders. And then it becomes all naturalised and explained … “Well, we are in a situation of crisis, we have to react, we have to … we have to protect our borders, we have to protect ourselves.” Rosie Hancock: I mean, yeah, I mean, like, I think one of the other things that’s really interesting is that it’s framed as a “migrant crisis”, whereas you could just as easily frame it as a “protection crisis”. So, you know, it’s, it’s, I think … and I’m getting this from the Danish Refugee Council, who described this so-called “migrant crisis” of 2015 as a protection crisis. And they said, it’s due to a lack of will to share the responsibility to protect refugees arriving in the EU. So, the crisis is actually, you know, experienced by the migrants. Daria Krivonos: Yeah, we can ask, whose crisis is it? Because many EU countries frame it as the crisis of the EU nation-states; that they are in crisis. Well, actually, if we think about it … rather think about it as a crisis of migrants and a humanitarian catastrophe when, well, when people are being violently expelled from the borders. So, whose crisis is it? And again, there is a tendency to portray European states as being the ones that bear all the costs of this so-called “crisis”, while actually these other neighbouring states, like Lebanon, for example – which holds, like, a much bigger number of Syrian refugees than Europe, for example, per capita. And again, there is a tendency to think about crisis in terms of numbers. But, again, if you will look into the data, we understand that crisis has little to do with numbers themselves. And if we look into the current situation with Ukrainian refugees; so, it’s the 71st day of the war. And in this time, Poland alone has accepted 2.5 million Ukrainian refugees, and we can’t see the word “crisis” circulating anywhere. And the same happens in Finland, when 30,000 asylum seekers from Iraq and Afghanistan arrived to Finland in 2015, then it was seen as this massive and unprecedented “crisis”. But now, around 20,000 Ukrainian refugees arrived in two months and we don’t see anywhere the circulation of this “crisis” discourse. Rosie Hancock: Yeah. So, just a quick note to listeners, you say it’s the 71st day of the war, and we’re recording this in May 2022. So, you know, who knows where things will be when this goes out. Now, there are many conflicts around the world that are threatening people’s security. Yemen, where the World Food Programme reports that up to 19 million people are experiencing food insecurity, and that includes millions of children suffering from acute malnutrition. And in Ethiopia, where violence and ethnic cleansing have shaken the tenets of what we think of as human security. So, that’s things like freedom from fear, freedom from want, and so on. But security has been in the headlines a lot recently, because of Ukraine, I think, and where you are, Daria, there’s been speculation, at least at the time of recording this episode, that Finland is going to join NATO prompted by this assault on Ukraine. That seems to be about security in the most conventional sense. But how has this word, “security”, been coming up in other conversations that you might be hearing? I’m thinking about what is sociologically interesting about the war in Ukraine and the language of security that’s surrounding it. Daria Krivonos: One way we can talk about that is to think about temporary protection, which is now granted to Ukrainian refugees; and indeed, is now celebrated as a very unprecedented decision, which was made really quickly to support Ukrainian refugees. But then we can also think about what kind of security it entails, because a temporary protection means that people have, like, an immediate rights to stay – to stay in the EU – for a year and then it can be extended to up to three years. But then, what kind of security is that? Because people are expected to join labour markets immediately, and they don’t receive any welfare protection and any social security rights. So, they would … in the context of Finland, for example, that they would get access to housing, like in reception centres, and then, 270 EUROS a month of monetary support. But then, of course, you can’t make a living out of this money, and then you’re expected to join the labour markets. And we can also think about how, previously, Ukrainian labour was really sustaining European economies for a really long time, particularly in the context of seasonal labour, and quite often, the hosting of Ukrainian or the welcoming of Ukrainian refugees is discussed in the context of absorbing their labour, for example, in agricultural work. And many Finnish farmers already are discussing that, “okay, we really need these Ukrainian refugees to labour in our farms”, which was already happening before but now these labour migrants are coming to fill in into other countries as refugees. And now are expected to be reabsorbed as labour again. And then, again, we think about how Ukrainianess is not anything universal, and how, for example, students from African countries face discrimination and were even, like, expelled at some times when trying to access the European borders. And again, we can see that there is nothing universal about security, even when you’re coming from Ukraine, which is being bombed by Russia at the moment. Alexis Hieu Truong: On this point of the response to Ukrainian refugees – like, raising questions of unequal treatment of different refugees and migrant groups, right? Where I am, in the City of Ottawa debated the idea of giving Ukrainians a free bus pass – I think it was like for six months – to help them with arrivals and exactly, like, looking for jobs and so on, right? But obviously, other people ask, “well, what about other people who are also, for example, refugees, who are being displaced? Who are arriving to Canada, right?” They also have needs, right? So, in the end, it seems like the authorities will indeed make that available to more people, but I think it shows us exactly how different groups of people with similar needs actually might be understood, framed, defined, labeled, etc, differently, just because of who they are or where they’re from, basically. In Europe, there have been many reports of people of colour fleeing Ukraine, but being turned away at the borders of neighbouring states, and your work on racial capitalism, predating the conflict in Ukraine, adds to these recent examples of racism. I’m thinking of your piece about young white people migrating from Ukraine and Russia to Finland and Poland. Can you expand a bit more and tell us a bit more about that work, and in doing so also about what racial capitalism actually is? Daria Krivonos: When I was writing that piece, I was thinking a lot about how there is so much work which discusses how East European migrants are not considered as fully white; how their whiteness is contingent, insecure; how this whiteness is not a full whiteness, which Western European – white Western European – people would enjoy. But then, I was thinking what work this racialisation does. So, what does it mean when you’re a not fully white person? And then I was thinking that it might be helpful to think in terms of racial capitalism, and to look into how this non fully white people become absorbed by the labour markets as cheap and labour, while at the same time not disturbing and not destabilising the hegemonic whiteness of West European societies. So, for example, if we take the context of Poland, which was usually discussed as this country from where many people would arrive to the UK, for example, and there was a lot of work on Polish migrants in the UK, but also Poland is becoming this country which hosts a very big number of Ukrainian labour migrants – well now, Ukrainian refugees. And before the war, at least, the recruitment of Ukrainian workers had been one of the responses to the demographic decline of Polish workers who now migrated further west. And then, on the one hand, we can see how Ukrainian students and student workers and workers were recruited as desirable, culturally similar or linguistically similar workers who are welcome to Poland and who should be kind of fill in the demand for labour. But, at the same time, we can see how these workers were incorporated as a really cheap and precarious labour force, and how on the day to day level, these migrants experienced everyday bordering and everyday forms of racism. So, whoever I would talk to their will tell me about their everyday experiences of being harassed on the streets. Rosie Hancock: We’ll be back in a moment to talk more about work and insecurity, after a quick hello from our producer, Alice. Alice Bloch: Hi, and thanks for joining us here at Uncommon Sense. Each month we invite an expert guest to join us and manoeuvre an everyday concept we all tend to think we understand. And together we work to see it differently, through a simple sociological lens. You can head to our archive to catch people like the feminist Bev Skeggs shaking up the idea of care – it is, she says, about things like taxation, climate change, a whole ethic of social responsibility, really – or hear activist scholar Remi Joseph-Salisbury in our episode on school, reflecting on what a good education actually is. You’ll find reading lists and more on the podcast page at thesociologicalreview.org. And do remember to tap follow in the app you’re using to hear this, it helps us to keep making this podcast for everyone. We’ll see you back here next month. Rosie Hancock: Well, this seems like a good moment to dig a little bit deeper into security as it relates to migration work and labour, which we’ve already kind of just started talking about, a little bit. So, back in 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Daria, you wrote about how, although many countries in Europe had closed their borders, some of the very few international flights that did, at least then, continue to operate were charter flights with workers from Eastern Europe. Essentially, they were allowing workers in fields like health care and food to reach their places of work. And, with this, you say that the words “borders” and “security” acquired a totally opposite meaning to the one we’ve all gotten used to in recent decades. So, in other words, here was the idea that borders actually had to be kept open to ensure our security. And that kind of offers up a whole new understanding of what we mean by security – like, something to do with, apparently, our quality of life, the standard of living with food security. Daria Krivonos: Yeah, that’s right. We could see how the borders had to remain open specifically for so-called “essential workers” coming from Eastern Europe to work in the agricultural sector. And I thought that it was quite interesting how the whole discourse of security suddenly changed in relation to borders, because now the question of food security in western and northern Europe became so important. And we suddenly realise that the food that we get to our place doesn’t come from nowhere, but somebody has to come and actually grow the vegetables, pick them up. So, the borders really had to be open exclusively for agricultural workers coming from Eastern Europe. Alexis Hieu Truong: Now, what we’re talking about here seems to apply more generally way beyond COVID. And, I guess, we’re getting at this idea that, under capitalism, the security of some depends on the insecurity of others, yes? And it kind of reminds me, in fact, of last month’s episode, where we talked about intimacy and the illusion of contactless transactions. Really, our consumption or prosperity depends big time on the labour, often the precarious labour, the invisible labour of others, right? Daria Krivonos: Yeah, that’s true. If we think about security as about the ability of life going forward, then we should really look into who makes this life possible. And then essentially, we have to start talking about questions of labour. But, quite often, when we talk about labour we tend to think about this kind of productive labour, but we … or profit-making labour. But we can also kind of change the focus and think about what some feminists called life-making labour. And we also can think about agricultural labour as life-making labour. Exactly, the question of food security relates to the questions of life and maintaining our lives. So, then, we have to look into, well, who is actually maintaining and reproducing our lives? And the history of this labour is the history of unrecognition and misrecognition. Rosie Hancock: So, for the fieldwork that you did in the piece we were just talking about before, you were talking to Ukrainian workers about their experiences of precarious labour in the COVID-19 crisis and you found that they were generally underpaid and unprotected. And, I mean, that’s something that I think is really important to raise because there’s all of this discourse around #StandwithUkraine, which is … it’s definitely had a moment here in Australia. I’m wondering if you know, maybe you’ve … it’s been big in Finland too (?) But considering so much of Ukraine’s GDP comes from remittances from money sent back home from migrant workers – and I think you mentioned in that 2020 piece, it’s about 11% – it kind of seems like standing with Ukraine and Ukrainians, in the broadest possible sense, would mean supporting Ukrainian workers in other countries. So, making sure that they have job security, and that they’re paid well, because otherwise, we’re just kind of hypocrites. Daria Krivonos: Yeah, I agree with you and, thinking about the future – and even in terms of temporary protection – we really should ask, “okay, on what conditions people are being welcomed?” They’re also being welcomed into these gradations of Europeanness and gradations of whiteness, because people will have to make their living on their own very quickly, and contrary to our common vision of refugees as some kind of recipients of humanitarian support. Actually, also, before the war in Ukraine, all sorts of refugees were always included into raced labour markets as precarious and cheap labour. So, we should be really asking ourselves, what does it mean, “we stand with Ukraine”? Well, we should be standing with the Ukrainian workers. But, if we talk about standing with Ukraine, then we should also be talking about the question of Ukrainian debt; because, as with other Eastern European countries, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, many countries had to take a lot of International Monetary Fund loans, which placed strict limits on social spending. And, as a result of that, Ukraine became heavily indebted. So, if we want to stand with Ukraine, we should also be talking about the question of Ukrainian debt and cancelling Ukrainian debt. Alexis Hieu Truong: Thanks, Daria. So, we’re getting to the part of our show, now, where we like to grab something we rarely stop to question, and we’ll kind of tear it apart. Rosie Hancock: And today, we thought we’re talking about something we take for granted so badly that, to be honest, we almost didn’t think of it at all. And that is borders. So, if you’re pretty privileged, borders probably aren’t something that you think about every day. Perhaps it’s only something that you think about when you have to go through passport control. Or if you get annoyed when the body scanner beeps at you at security. I mean, I remember being totally shocked when, years ago, I entered Israel from Jordan and was held for four hours while they questioned me. I had never ever experienced something like that before. But, for other people, that’s just their normal reality. Alexis Hieu Truong: Yeah. I guess many of us are educated to just think that borders are something that exists around the edges of countries – they’re those dotted lines on maps that stir our imaginations as kids, the things people cross on films like “The Sound of Music”. But, Daria, how would you define a border? Sociologists see them as a bit more slippery than say cartographers do. Daria Krivonos: Yeah, I agree that, quite often, we tend to think about borders as something territorially fixed, as a kind of a line that divides the nation-states. But we can also think about borders more critically, and think about borders as a series of practices that involve everyday. And we can talk about everyday bordering as the processes that kind of produce this everyday hierarchies and stop people’s movements in the everyday life, while already being in the national territory. But also we can extend the concept of the border and to think about how EU borders become externalised in the African continent, for example, through colonial practices, and how the European border regime operates, like, deep into the African continent, for instance, and how the borders there operate even before the movement starts. But, talking about everyday forms of bordering, we can also think about how borders become enacted by police checks in how people can be asked to show their documents and residence permits, or how, for example, having access to the banking system and opening a bank account, having access to housing; how these are also forms of everyday bordering, while already being in the territory of the nation-state. Alexis Hieu Truong: That concept of everyday bordering is at the heart of work by people like Nira Yuval-Davis, Georgie Wemyss, Kathryn Cassidy and others. Do you have examples of it from your own work, from places like Finland say? Daria Krivonos: Well, particularly in the context of Finland, you can’t do anything if you don’t have a social security number, or if you don’t have a bank account, because … For instance, if you want to sign up to visit a doctor, you should have a so-called banking codes to identify yourself. But you can’t have access to this banking codes if you don’t have a certain type of a residence permit or if you’re not staying in Finland permanently. So, we can see here how, even if you are already in the territory of Finland, and even if you have all the required documents, or even if you’re staying with a tourist visa, for instance, yet, you don’t have access to certain forms of kind of very essential and normalised practices, like going to visit a doctor, for instance. Rosie Hancock: It’s really interesting, this conversation, Daria, because, here in Australia, when I think of bordering, my mind immediately jumps to the hard border. And I think that’s what lots of people think about when they think of Australia, because everyone who’s tried to seek asylum in Australia and have come by boat – since, I think about 2013 – have been told that they’re never going to get permanent residency, they can apply for refugee status, and then they’re just put on this cycle of temporary protection visa after temporary protection visa that they have to keep reapplying for. It’s just this kind of awful, perpetual insecurity. But, I mean, what you’re describing is really making me think about how border policy and surveillance follows people around in their everyday lives. And, I guess, what you’re saying is that it could actually rip up the social fabric. Do you think that that happens in Finland? Daria Krivonos: Certainly. And in the context of Finland, there is a tendency, of course, to discuss the state in relation to the welfare state, and to discuss the high trust in the state. But, actually, if we talk to non-white people or to migrants, then we see a very different picture of … in terms of trust to the state. Because everyday forms of bordering – like police checks and how Roma people, for example, are being followed in the shops through this racial profiling – how these forms of everyday bordering are really disrupting people’s trust in the state. And quite often, we tend to think of the trust in the welfare state as very normalised, that “okay, everybody believes in the Nordic welfare state”. Well, but actually it doesn’t work for everybody. It doesn’t work for all the people in the same ways. And, of course, it is tied to questions of race in particular ways. Alexis Hieu Truong: Okay, so, we’ve been talking about some pretty heavy stuff today. But before we go, just to wind down a bit, we wanted to each share our recommendations for something from what you call / might call “pop culture” – something that speaks to this theme of security; a movie, a book, an artwork, a song, something you’ve seen on social media? Whatever. So, Rosie, what would be your recommendation? Rosie Hancock: Okay, mine is probably a little bit obvious. But I’m going to say “The Mauritanian” movie with Benedict Cumberbatch. So, it’s just your kind of classic story about the overreach of the state, taking their national security imperative way too far and persecuting someone that they don’t have enough evidence for. So, lots of themes is like extradition and all of that kind of stuff. It’s not very cheerful. Alexis, what about you? Alexis Hieu Truong: Actually, this theme kind of like, threw me into a very nostalgic mood and made me think of Rage Against the Machine, which I listened to a lot, like, in my teen years; and the song “Without a Face”. So, that’s a song that speaks to, like, the migration and borders, Mexico and the South of the US. But yeah, in that particular song, the lyrics start off with a “got no card so I got no soul, life is prison, no parole, no control”. And that really, like, yeah … it really linked to that theme, and it made me remember how, like, yeah, during those teen years when those were things that I hadn’t really thought about; that there was a lot of political, maybe, reflections, or a lot of critical reflections that came from songs like that. Daria, am I right that you also wanted to recommend a song? Daria Krivonos: Yeah, I wanted to recommend a song by Kae Tempest. I’ve been listening a lot to their music lately. And I particularly like the song called “People’s Faces”. It’s a little bit sad, maybe, but I don’t know, I wouldn’t maybe define it as sad, but I think it’s the song about struggle and hope, and I like the poetry there. It’s, well, Kae Tempest sings, “too much depends on the fragile wages, and the extortion of rents here.” And then, they also say that “the old ways need to end”, and “did you ever wonder if all these could be done differently?” And every time I listen to this song I ask myself this question – could all this be done differently? And I think that that’s the question we should be asking ourselves on a daily basis, and continue our sociological thinking and our struggle. Rosie Hancock: Thank you so much, Daria. You have given us so much to think about for today. And I think Alexis and I are going to have a lot to chat about later. But we’ll say goodbye here. Daria Krivonos: Thank you. Thank you for inviting me here. It was great to talk to you. Alexis Hieu Truong: Well, that’s it for this month. We’ll make sure all of those recommendations and more are in our episode’s notes, and over on the podcast page at thesociologicalreview.org. Rosie, what I’ll take away from today is a question that Daria asked us, right – whose security and whose insecurity? And I think that, really, when we were focusing on this question of “who?”, it really brought it back to the humans and the people and the experiences. So, I really … that really gave me a lot to think about. What about you? Rosie Hancock: Look, I mean, I was gonna say that the thing I’m going to be thinking about the most is the idea that someone’s security depends on someone else’s insecurity. But, actually, what’s really nice is – and I guess it kind of ties nicely in with that – is right at the very end of her recommendation of Kae Tempest’s song, “People’s Faces”, and the question “can we do this differently?” I think that’s … that’s pretty great. Alexis Hieu Truong: Yeah. And we also talked about, like, borders and boundaries. I’m pretty sure that that will be coming up next month, also, when we turn to the theme of bodies. Rosie Hancock: Ooh, I’m excited about that one. So, if you’ve enjoyed listening to Uncommon Sense, please tap follow and rate or review us in whatever app you’re using. And do share us with your friends and family. Alexis Hieu Truong: Our executive producer was Alice Bloch. Our sound engineer was Dave Crackles. Thanks for listening. Rosie Hancock: Bye! Alexis Hieu Truong: Bye.





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