Book Panel Recording – Professor William Walters’ ‘State Secrecy and Security: Refiguring the Covert Imaginary’

November 15, 2021

Prof William Walters

Discussants: Prof Marieke de Goede, Prof Linsey McGoey, Prof Brian Rappert, Dr Oliver Kearns
Chair: Dr Elspeth Van Veeren


SPIN is excited to share the recording of the panel and book launch for Professor William Walters’ new book State Secrecy and Security: Refiguring the Covert Imaginary. In the book, 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. Watch to our fascinating panellists discuss the book and its themes by here.


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. The ebook and hardback copy can be purchased from the publishers Routledge here and from other online retailers too.


Prof. William Walters researches and teaches politics at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, where he is the Public Affairs Research Excellence Chair (2019–22). He is the author of Unemployment and Government: Genealogies of the Social (CUP, 2000) and Governmentality: Critical Encounters (Routledge 2012), co-author of Governing Europe: Discourse, Governmentality, and European Integration (Routledge, 2005) and co-editor of Global Governmentality (Routledge, 2004) and Viapolitics: Borders, Migration, and the Power of Locomotion (Duke UP, 2021).
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