The Unlikely Securitizer: Humanitarian Organizations and the Securitization of Indistinctiveness

The securitization framework has greatly improved empirical analysis of security threats. Yet, it could benefit from heightened analysis of two often neglected aspects. First, this article argues that securitizers may invoke multiple referent objects to strengthen their argument that the referent object possesses the `right to survive’. Second, by drawing attention to the presentation of securitizing moves, as well as their content, it highlights how securitizers attempt to persuade multiple audiences that their securitizing moves should be accepted and countermeasures enacted. These claims are illustrated through the analysis of an atypical case of securitization performed by an unlikely set of securitizers, humanitarian aid organizations, as they argue that indistinctiveness poses an existential threat both to their material security and to their identity.

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