In State Secrecy and Security: Refiguring the Covert Imaginary (Routledge, 2021), William Walters calls for secrecy to be given a more central place in critical security studies and elevated to become a core concept when theorising power in liberal democracies.
Through investigations into such themes as the mobility of cryptographic secrets, the power of public inquiries, the connection between secrecy and place-making, and the aesthetics of secrecy within immigration enforcement, Walters challenges commonplace understandings of the covert and develops new concepts, methods and themes for secrecy and security research. Walters identifies the covert imaginary as both a limit on our ability to think politics differently and a ground to develop a richer understanding of power.
State Secrecy and Security offers readers a set of thinking tools to better understand the strange powers that hiding, revealing, lying, confessing, professing ignorance and many other operations of secrecy put in motion. It will be a valuable resource for scholars and students of security, secrecy and politics more broadly.
William Walters is Professor of Politics and Faculty of Public Affairs Research Excellence Chair at Carleton University, Ottawa. His current research concerns secrecy, migration and deportation infrastructures. He has published widely in the areas of political sociology, political geography, citizenship studies, security and insecurity, and Foucault studies.
Catriona Gold is a PhD candidate in Geography at University College London, researching security, subjectivity and mobility in the 20-21st century United States. Her current work concerns the US Passport Office; she has previously published on US Africa Command and the 2013-16 Ebola epidemic. She can be reached by email or on Twitter.