Secrecy's subjects: Special operators in the US shadow war

  title={Secrecy's subjects: Special operators in the US shadow war},
  author={Elspeth Van Veeren},
  journal={European Journal of International Security},
  pages={386 - 414}
  • Elspeth Van Veeren
  • Published 1 October 2019
  • Computer Science, Sociology
  • European Journal of International Security
Abstract This article sets out a framework for studying the power of secrecy in security discourses. To date, the interplay between secrecy and security has been explored within security studies most often through a framing of secrecy and security as a ‘balancing’ act, where secrecy and revelation are binary opposites, and excesses of either produce insecurity. Increasingly, however, the co-constitutive relationship between secrecy and security is the subject of scholarly explorations. Drawing… 
5 Citations
Secrecy and Subjectivity: Double Agents and the Dark Underside of the International System
Drawing on a wide range of material, from memoirs of former spy masters to the highly acclaimed TV series Le Bureau des Légendes, this article shows how documentary as well as fictional accounts of
The “Supermen” Club: Organizational Secrecy and Masculine Identity in an Israeli National Security Organization
How does secrecy shape narratives of militarized hegemonic masculinity? This article assesses a gap at the intersection between theories of masculinities and organizational secrecy. Supported by 15
Security compositions
  • J. Austin
  • Sociology
    European Journal of International Security
  • 2019
Abstract This article argues that security politics is constituted through the ways in which its contours are ‘made sensible’ (perceivable to our senses) through material, aesthetic, or affective
What constitutes successful covert action? Evaluating unacknowledged interventionism in foreign affairs
Abstract Covert action has long been a controversial tool of international relations. However, there is remarkably little public understanding about whether it works and, more fundamentally, about


The Spring 2004 issue of the Mass School of Law Journal was a special issue titled, ‘Secrecy is Everywhere’. This enigmatic phrase, which itself seems to be everywhere, poses a riddle for us to
Goatsucker: Toward a Spatial Theory of State Secrecy
While the question of state secrecy has become a topic of much political debate, relatively little attention has been paid to the topic in academic literature. Most of the literature adopts one of
The adornment of silence: secrecy and symbolic power in American Freemasonry
The post-civil war period in America the same era that witnessed an unprecedented growth in industry, science, technology and urbanization was also the golden age of secret brotherhoods, and above
The duality of spectacle and secrecy: a case study of fraternalism in the 1920s US Ku Klux Klan
Abstract White supremacist groups operate as secret societies but want to extend their racist vision to the public. This article examines the duality of secrecy and publicity in such organizations
Secrecy and International Relations
This article analyzes the question of information control and how it influences the conduct and the study of international relations. Three theories are advanced as possible explanations for secrecy:
Sex as the secret: counterinsurgency in Afghanistan
Abstract I explore the construction of women as the secret for the ‘successful’ prosecution of war in Afghanistan. To do so, I take up the mobilization of gender in the US counterinsurgency doctrine
Materializing US Security: Guantanamo’s Object Lessons and Concrete Messages
While a growing body of literature working at the intersection of security and visual studies recognizes the value of studying images, how these visualities are produced is less theorized, especially
Conducting Shadow Wars
INTRODUCTIONWhen al Qaeda launched the 9/11 attacks, it also thrust the United States on a decade-long (and counting) search for the best way to combat the unconventional threat posed by terrorism.
A Secret in the Oxford Sense: Thieves and the Rhetoric of Mystification in Western India
Common sense commodifies the secret, alienating the value of its content from its social context. But a secret perfectly kept dies in its circle of initiates. Few secrets, however, are dead on