The entrance to the Department of History’s office in Sidney Smith Hall

"Feeling Safe" : Exploring Innovative Research Approaches to the Emotional Underpinnings of Security

Start Date and Time:

Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 9:30AM

End Date and Time:

Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 3:00PM


Ronald W. Pruessen, Harriet Friedman, Jennifer Jenkins, James Retallack, Max Mishler, Dagmar Ellerbrock, Eckart Conze

Safety and security are shaped by emotions.

Why and when people feel safe, when and under what conditions people experience anxiety, are confused, trustful or relaxed all affect the architecture of safety and security. Emotional underpinnings define what societies see as threats or sources of insecurity as well as the measures that deemed appropriate to secure social order. These dynamics have changed profoundly over time and, therefore, require historical analysis.

The conference rests upon two assumptions. First, understanding the changing cultural and political context of feelings, expectations and measures of (in)security is central to comprehending the dynamics of security. Second, the breadth and depth of this emotional background has been largely unexplored in the literature. With these assumptions in mind, we will:

1. Identify the different emotions associated with safety and security in multiple disciplines and analyze how they have been constructed (by media, communications, daily practices, habitual performances, etc.)

2. Begin to track and compare the transformation of the affective texture of security over time and between different fields, societies, and cultures.

3. Analyze emotional management in different fields of security and study how emotions are constructed, performed, and defined by media in relation to security.


  • Munk School
  • DAAD
  • DFG

Contact Information

Joseph Hawker


208N - North House, 1 Devonshire Place, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3K7 view full map


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