The International Communication Section (ICOMM)

of the International Studies Association

Special Issue Call: Journal of Multicultural Discourses

Special Issue Call: Journal of Multicultural Discourses
Multicultural Discourses of Security

In contemporary global society, ‘security’ is considered an especially complex and contested concept. Historically, this concept has connoted states’ development of institutions, technologies, and strategies enabling their pursuit of foreign policy – particularly, the military use of armed force. More recently, intensified debate among state officials, scholars, and activists has expanded consideration of non-traditional actors, sites, conditions, and processes (e.g., ‘human security’). Amid these changes, the study of security has persistently focused on the efforts of individuals and groups to conceptualize and claim cherished phenomena, to defend those claims against perceived and actual threats, and to maintain a lifeworld characterized by relative stability, liberty, and prosperity.

Communication and discourse scholars have displayed growing interest in the study of security. Reasons include: a desire to engage with material conditions and powerful institutions that produce (often through violent means) fateful outcomes of freedom and oppression; an interdisciplinary convergence of epistemologies, theories, and topics emphasizing the communicative constitution (and mediation) of societal governance; and finally, a desire to ethically intervene in hegemonic discourses of neoliberalism and neo-conservativism that have markedly increased conditions of global risk. To date, those scholars have addressed a variety of related topics, including: conflict; war; peace; militarism and defense; (counter-) terrorism; aid and development; surveillance; globalization; (im-)migration; (post- and neo-)colonialism; nationalism; ethnic and racial identity; truth, justice and reconciliation; public health; and cyber-threats. The growing challenge posed to liberal democratic governance by populist movements in the U.S. and Europe, further, suggests that international and scholarly concern regarding security matters will remain heightened for the near future.

This special issue provides a forum for scholarship seeking to interpret and critique “security” as a multicultural and discursive phenomenon. It calls for both empirical studies and theoretical essays that expand existing interdisciplinary discussion by elaborating the distinctly communicative status of security, both within and between cultures. In keeping with the journal’s focus, submissions seeking to de-center U.S. and western-alliance/coalition discourses of security, and to promote reflective, dialogic, diverse, and pluralist discourses, are particularly encouraged. Related topics of submissions may include – but are not limited to – the following:

— Local, regional, and vernacular discourses of security, and their relationship to official discourses of national and international security;
— Evolving discursive genres and programs of security (e.g., public diplomacy);
— Discursive practices that elevate and decrease the value of life (and thus entitlement to legal rights and protections) for particular cultural groups;
— Discursive ‘securitization’ of nontraditional security concerns (e.g., climate change; public health; public education, etc.);
–Articulations of media, technology, and discourse contributing to individual and group (in-) security (e.g., surveillance of users facilitated by social media platforms);
— Communicative dilemmas and conflicts arising from the articulation of cultural discourses of identity (e.g., gender, sexual, ethnic, racial, class, religious, etc.) with hegemonic national and state discourses of identity (e.g., of citizenship, patriotism, and modernism);
— Cultural meanings and practices associated with the diffusion of state and sub-state militarism;
— Discursive intersections between the spheres of “domestic” (e.g., criminal justice) and “foreign” policy (e.g., counter-terrorism);
— National, international, and NGO discourses associated with refugee flows from current conflicts in Middle Eastern and Northern African nations;
— Organizational, professional, and institutional discourses of security (e.g., nuclear strategy; intelligence analysis; private military contractors; etc.);
— Analysis of actual interaction occurring in security contexts (e.g., border-crossings; congressional and parliamentary hearings; ‘enhanced interrogations’, etc.); and finally,
— Meta-theoretical critique of existing scholarly discourses of communication and /or security.

This special issue will be co-edited by Hamilton Bean (Associate Professor, Communication, University of Colorado-Denver, USA) and Bryan C. Taylor (Professor, Communication, University of Colorado-Boulder, USA). The deadline for submission of manuscripts is April 1st, 2017. Manuscript length should be no longer than 8000 words, including abstract, references, and tables. All submissions for this special issue should insert the phrase “Special Issue: Multicultural Discourses of Security” in the top left-hand corner of the first manuscript page, as well as noting this status in any cover letter provided. Otherwise, manuscripts should be formatted and submitted per standard journal policies and procedures (see: All manuscripts will be peer-reviewed, with the timeline for requested revisions intended to ensure 2017 publication. Please contact the issue co-editors with questions at either, or General information about the journal may be found at:


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This entry was posted on December 7, 2016 by .
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