Globalization and Environmental Challenges

Volume 3 of the series Hexagon Series on Human and Environmental Security and Peace pp 431-437

Subordinate, Subsumed and Subversive: Sub-national Actors as Referents of Security

  • Varun SahniAffiliated withSchool of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University

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Identity politics, the politics of difference, is always intrinsically and intensely relational. We define who we are, and who we are not, by either linking ourselves with, or differentiating ourselves from, those around us.1 Coping with difference has always been an important aspect of human and social life. Sometimes difference is enriching, at other times merely functional; often, however, it is ominous and menacing. When difference seems to be, or indeed becomes, threatening, what emerges is a securitization of difference. It is this dimension of security — how the state deals with the threat of difference within itself, and how sub-national actors position themselves vis-à-vis the threat posed by the state — that is the principal theme of this chapter.