The uses of development(alism) to secure dangerous children

Year: 2016

Author: Kelly, Stephen

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper examines how the education of children as literate subjects is implicated in the politics of securing civil society. Foucault’s concept of biopolitical security is put to work to consider how young people are produced as securitised subjects by the governmentalities of state and non-state actors. These concerns are problematized, by discussing the emergence of the concept of human security and its use of literacy as a technology for measuring human development. Connections between the security-development nexus and the education of children are questioned for ways the securitisation of literate children figure as a domain of governmental activity beyond the nation. The focus then shifts to the problem of human security and the subjectification of Aboriginal children within the nation. The analysis uses the Northern Territory intervention to question representations of young people as subjects of danger and as potentially dangerous subjects. Here, the integration of a literacy capability into the security apparatus, may be expressed as government concern about children as citizens of the state. An argument is made that the use of literacy in the security apparatus, functions as a technology of risk mitigation and biopolitical government: a way of contingently positioning the freedoms of children as subjects to forms of rule. The paper concludes by suggesting that literacy has been deployed as a techne of an authoritarian form of liberalism in which the power to delimit entangles children in biopolitical strategies and sovereign intervention.