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Adjusting a Bourdieusian Approach to the Study of Transnational Fields. Transversal Practices and State (Trans)formations Related to Intelligence and Surveillance

Security
Knowledge
Political Sociology
State Power
Theoretical
Didier Bigo
Sciences Po Paris
Didier Bigo
Sciences Po Paris
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Abstract

This paper addresses the possibility of using Bourdieusian concepts like fields of power, professional dispositions, and cultural habitus to explore transnational practices. To resolve questions of transnational field(s) we need to examine what constitutes transnational practices. I suggest reading ‘transnational’ as a signifier that is not limited to practices reserved for non-state actors and I show that transnational practices are constitutive of the field of state formation. It is here that the Bourdieusian approach to the state, not as an actor, but as a field, is central. It allows to analyse stateness today and its relatively new assemblage with private actors, with digital stakes, and with a modification of the use of force towards a use of surveillance and control at a distance. My research on the Five Eyes coalition of SIGINT(Signals Intelligence)-internet intelligence services and its members’ co-operation for the large-scale interception of data obliges us to rethink the nature of national security today and it gives empirical ground to the call to abandon the false dualism between territory and digital space in the exercise of state power, and suggests an alternative way of thinking national and transnational practices together, as one category of practice only.