Discourse theory and the Various Translations of Organized Crime: Securitization, Power, and Intertextuality

Discourse theory and the Various Translations of Organized Crime: Securitization, Power, and Intertextuality


  • Tabinda Anjum Ms Scholar at International Islamic University Islamabad


Discourse theory and the Various Translations of Organized Crime: Securitization, Power, and Intertextuality

Tabinda Anjum

Ms Scholar at International Islamic University Islamabad at-Tabinda123@gmail.com


While there has been some recent talk about taking a contextualize approach to secularization theory, there hasn't been much work done to fully ope rationalize the complex interplay of language, authority, and setting inside securitizations. This essay presents and explains a framework for assessing secularizing behaviors with inter textual ties to popular culture, and it investigates the relationship within secularization processes. The major goal of this study is to add to the growing body of literature on discourse, intertextuality, and popular culture within the discipline of international relations studies as a whole. Furthermore, the paper hopes to provide a contextualize operationalization of secularization theory.

Keywords intertextuality, power, organized crime, and pop culture as secularization issues


This research delves into the formative years of US security discourse on organized crime in order to create and illustrate the concept of a politics of intertextuality with reference to securitizations. According to Woodiwiss (2001: 362-89), it was through this early securitization that organized crime entered the global danger discourse and established itself as a global peril frame. A specific understanding of organized crime extended from the United States to many other local, national, regional, and global sites on the basis of (and in part because of) this early securitization in the United States. It was then shipped over the world, where it adapted to local conditions and ultimately established itself as the norm.This local act of giving organized crime in the United States a distinct meaning greatly influenced the emerging discourse and contributed to the global action of securitizing the phenomenon, thereby permanently stabilizing and fixing organized crime as a contingent collective interpretation in a particular name. 1.But this pivotal moment in the development of early US security rhetoric is just one step in a much longer temporal sequence. Images in the US discourse were borrowed from other discourses, just as they were in succeeding discourses (for example, Stritzel, 2011b).

Securitizing actions involving organized crime have fascinating synchronic and diachronic intertextuality in the form of links between academic, media, political, literary, and cinematic discourses, as well as links between current and historical representations over an extremely long evolutionary sequence. The intertextuality of organized crime is also strongly linked to other forms of social power relations. Even more so than in the case of organized crime, it is unusual to find a securitization that is both clearly power-political and rich in intertextuality. Political confrontations, securitization methods, and the precise production of public spectacles are all manifestations of the intertwining of myth, popular culture, and power politics in this world.

Reflectivist (mainly critical constructivist, post-structuralist, and international political sociology) conceptualizations of discourse have long been used in the fields of international relations and security studies to make sense of these entanglements and the associated politics of meaning. References such as Milliken (1999) and Fierke (2007) provide overviews. These frameworks highlight the importance of language and meaning in sociopolitical activity and reflective academic study by viewing social dynamics and political decision-making as a process of meaning generation, contestation, and transformation.

Power in discourse refers to the sociopolitical resources available to those who wield discursive power, while power of discourse refers to the dominant problematization of "power of discourse" (i.e., a traditionally post-structuralist focus on the constitutive effects of discourse on subjectivities, typically viewed as broad, historically specific structures or structurations of meaning). Interpreting discourse from a structural perspective using structuration theory and the well-known structure-agency problem in the social sciences is analogous to discourse theory's fundamental categorization system, which distinguishes between "power of discourse" and "power in discourse."This research provides a framework for understanding organized crime webs by drawing on insights from the field of securitization theory. Although these theoretical knots can be studied with securitization theory, the field is still in need of a more thorough theorization of sociopolitical processes and a more robust social theory of speech. References to organized crime translations in early US security discourse will be used to illustrate the theoretical framework this article develops for analyzing securitizing actions in relation to intertextual links and intertextual power politics in popular culture.

Discourse is highly valued by poststructuralist academics because it establishes the framework within which a particular reality can be understood and interacted with (Doty, 1996: 5). For a complete overview, read Barnett and Duvall's (2005) paper. However, many experts in post-structuralist approaches to international relations take the position that there is no such thing as a consistent understanding of agency and/or deliberate and strategic action within discourse. This idea is based on the belief that individuals are formed within a society through discursive activities that contribute to the maintenance of social order. This is shorthand for a theory of speech that links the creation of identities with the preservation of social order. This is especially important for researchers who identify with Foucault, even if they disagree with his views on some issues. Replicating and embodying subjectivities is what happens when people speak, not the actual "production" of them. As a result, people who use language are typically represented as passive consumers of hegemonic discourses that govern the formation of identities. This means that any mention of substantial agency in discourse, and thus of an apparently external or non-discursive existence, is swiftly criticized as being "trapped within modernist assumptions" (Hülsse and Spencer, 2008: 574) or "epistemologically incorrect" (Howarth and Torfing, 2005), at the very least being philosophically contradictory/incommensurable.

Oversimplification and dogmatic interpretation of speech dynamics, as well as the narrow scope of analytical tools applied to investigate them, are argued to be problematic in this essay.Distinct actors might be thought of as being "dislocated" within a social system. The idea of a highly fragmented and inadequately constructed discursive field is also possible. Furthermore, even within a discourse framework explicitly guided by post-structuralist ideas, as explained above, subjectivities can be multiple and overlap, resulting in inconsistencies. Discourse agency, transformation, and violation can be understood through the different ways in which we deviate from the idea of an all-encompassing discourse that exerts complete control over our subjectivities. If this is the case, then the work at hand appears to center on clarifying what we mean when we talk about agency and how we define it, as well as analyzing the dynamics of sociopolitical struggle and how they fit into larger discursive systems. There are a variety of approaches that can be taken to fix this problem.

This book adopts what may be called a discursive constructivist theory of discourse, which is both broad and deep in its conceptualization. This perspective directly contradicts the concept that a linguistic or textual analysis conducted in a vacuum can capture the entire meaning-making process by re-creating the in-text references and distinctions. However, it doesn't reduce sociopolitical analysis to the study of macrostructures or discourse production mechanisms, leaving out the key ideas of agency and power in words. Purvis and Hunt's (1993) study demonstrates the existence of a well-established history of neo-Marxist interpretations of speech, which emphasizes the significance of recognizing a social framework for discourse. Similarities can be seen between these understandings and Jutta Weldes's early contributions to the area of security studies, especially her work in 1996. Fairclough (1992), Fairclough and Wodak (1997), Weiss and Wodak (2002), Wodak (2001), and Wodak and Meyer (2001) are all examples of authors who belong to the critical discourse analysis tradition and who likely take influence from this lengthier tradition. The user's message is vague and out of place. Please elaborate or provide more context. your Unfortunately, many discourse researchers in the field of international relations have relied heavily on a small number of "post-structuralist classics" including Campbell, Ashley, Walker, Der Derian, and Shapiro.

This bias has led to a neglect of an extensive subfield of discourse theory within the field of applied linguistics. Important work by Holzscheiter (2010), Stritzel (2007), and Jackson (2005) has been largely ignored by the academic community. In academic settings, text analysis is often the first step in critical discourse analysis, but it has its limits. To get a firm grasp on the topic at hand, it's necessary to go deeper into its historical and sociopolitical underpinnings. Critical discourse analysis challenges poststructuralism by arguing that language processes are rooted in and ultimately shaped by social activities. Discursive practices, as used here, are specific activities that take place within a larger social sphere. Because of this emphasis on the social realm, critical discourse analysis restricts what may be discussed to events inside that domain.

Texts provide a concrete illustration of linguistic activity, which is itself a sort of social activity. The content of the text is of crucial importance and is the primary point of departure. Language is used to actualize, shape, and realize social qualities, as argued by Kress (2001: 35). Wodak (2001: 66; emphasis added) argues that discourse is best understood as a complex web of simultaneous and sequential linguistic acts. These actions have a common theme that extends beyond any given social setting and can be represented through a variety of mediums, including spoken and written language. By focusing on the larger features of speech, such as discourse power and discourse power, this viewpoint helps advance our social understanding of language.

This view of discourse suggests that sociologists who investigate second-generation securitization theory typically take a structurally focused approach to their research.

You can find similar ideas in the writings of Balzacq (2005, 2011), Stritzel (2007, 2011a,b), and Salter (2008). Waever (1995) and Busan et al. (1998)'s conventional theory of securitization can be read as presenting a discourse-focused approach to the study of security, which is similar to the perspectives of conversation analysis and pragmatics in the field of applied linguistics (Howarth and Torfing, 2005: 6). Ole Wver first proposed the idea of securitization in 1989 (Buzan et al., 1998). He later collaborated with Barry Buzan and Jaap de Wilde to develop the concept further in 1995. It's possible to see the idea as an elementary attempt to spell out the steps necessary to turn anything into a potential security threat. There has been a lot of discussion about the finer points of this theory recently, but its central conceptual framework holds that security acts as an existential threat for different concerns by means of a "speech act." Typically, this is done by a state representative who, by using the word "security," distinguishes a given circumstance or development as being of extraordinary significance.

This securitization has two facets that revolve on the players. The political theory proposes that people in positions of exceptional power, typically those in positions of authority within a state, can create new societal norms by "declaring" emergencies over certain issues, much like a wedding. Some academics have interpreted this as a theory of securitization that is either exclusive to or primarily focused on leaders and leadership (see Williams, 2003 for a notable analysis of these matters), but this reading relies on a deep understanding of speaker authority and "authorized language" (Bourdieu, 1991: 105-16). However, the sociolinguistic viewpoint, which is part of the Copenhagen School and emphasizes the importance of individuals, offers an alternative point of view by arguing that the mechanics and performative nature of speech activities can significantly alter social reality. The Copenhagen School offers an alternate formulation, suggesting that examining language that frames a situation as an existential threat to political collectives and referent entities is the most fruitful method to investigating securitization. The term "language" refers to both the innate features of speech and the social entity that lends legitimacy and acknowledgement to such discourse (Buzan et al., 1998: 25, 32), suggesting that the term is best understood as a fusion of linguistic aspects and social factors.


The fascinating and varied nature of organized crime in the United States allows for the study of securitizing methods with respect to intertextual links with popular culture. The political significance of these ties is both clear and substantial. We can now go beyond wild speculation and intriguing conspiracy theories, thanks to the high quality and quantity of the available historical evidence. This paves the way for an in-depth examination of how securitizations affect the interplay between language, popular culture, and the distribution of power. It's crucial to recognize that looking only at securitization language in the US or at the power dynamics of securitization in the context of US-based organized crime is insufficient. The case study is notable because of the characters' wide use of pop culture and the complex interplay between power relations, intertextuality, and securitizing tactics.

From a sociopolitical vantage point, the most important factors were the struggle for control of the relevant political discourse and the creation of the perceived threat. In this setting, a small group of powerful actors effectively controlled the narrative about organized crime, shaping public and elite perceptions of the threat and preventing alternative narratives from gaining traction. But the key sources of information—Anslinger, Peterson, and Sullivan—showed an extraordinary command and influence over the discussion of film and media. They cleverly took advantage of the media's and Hollywood's fascination with organized crime and ignorance of the subject to craft "authentic plots." In the early stages of the securitization process, knowledge became the most important form of social capital, and the flow of knowledge among key knowledge agents was vital to the acquisition of power. Because of its adaptability, the resource in question was able to exert more of an impact on the conversation than any preexisting institutional authority. The enormous influence of popular culture may be traced to the construction of a solid foundation and narrative structure that reinforced the credibility of speakers and effectively convinced audiences in the United States. As a result, securitization decisions were heavily impacted by claim and propositional content, which includes the identification of risks and the presentation of supporting evidence or arguments. It may be argued that the overuse of gangster movie tropes provides plausible grounds for employing stringent safety procedures.


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How to Cite

Tabinda Anjum. (2024). Discourse theory and the Various Translations of Organized Crime: Securitization, Power, and Intertextuality. The Study of Religion and History, 1(4), 1–10. Retrieved from http://srhjournal.com/index.php/39/article/view/23