Violence, Terrorism, and Identity Politics in Afghanistan: The Securitisation of Higher Education

Christian Kaunert, Arif Sahar

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This article investigates the securitisation of the higher education sector in Afghanistan by examining ‘hidden’ non-discursive practices as opposed to overt discursive threat construction. Non-discursive practices are framed by the habitus inherited from different social fields, whereas in Afghanistan, securitising actors converge from different habitus (e.g., institutions, professions, backgrounds) to bar the ‘other’ ethnic or social groups from resources and spaces which could empower these groups to become a pertinent threat, a fear, and a danger to the monopoly of the state elites over the state power and resources. The most prominent securitisation practices emerging from the data include mainly (1) the obstruction of the formation of critical ideas and politics; (2) the obstruction of economic opportunities; and (3) the obstruction of social justice. This article deploys a case study methodology and uses the Kabul University as its subject of investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number150
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2021


  • Afghanistan
  • Securitisation
  • violence
  • higher education
  • identity politics
  • statebuilding


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