Assembling a Secure Life
29 January 2024, 11:00 am–12:00 pm
A Bottom-Up Approach to Understanding Everyday Security of Queer People in Georgia. A SSEES Research Student seminar with David Rypel
This event is free.
Masaryk roomUCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies16 Taviton streetLondonWC1H 0BW
What is involved in living a “secure life” as a queer person in Georgia (Sakartvelo)? It might be tempting to focus on cases of queerphobic violence that periodically flare up in the country, but any attempt to answer this question must start by taking a step back to ask what a secure life (or security) is in the first place. This, however, is not for us to decide: we need to go out and ask people what matters to them. This way we learn that the idea of a secure life evokes different things in different people: not just physical safety, but material/financial stability, trust in relationships, or autonomy, too, to name a few.
The question that follows is: what do people do to make their lives more secure in these terms? Queer people are not mere passive victims – no one is – and I am particularly interested in their ways of negotiating reality so that it gets closer to the desired outcome, a more liveable life. This is not always easy: when things go well, “versions” of a secure life overlap and build upon each other, but at other times they clash and contradict one another (e.g. when one is forced to choose between preserving their autonomy or financial stability). This is true not only on the level of an individual life but also in the case of queer collectivity as such: visibility politics strive to make everyone’s life more secure in the long term, but some people may end up facing the ensuing violent backlash.
These are some of the points I will explore in this presentation of preliminary conclusions of my ethnographic research.
If you are interested in attending the event online, please send an email to email@example.com. You will be sent a Zoom link closer to the date.
Bio: David Rypel is a PhD student at UCL’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies and a Bonnart Scholar. He specialises in the topics of security and belonging, with a particular focus on LGBTQIA+ people and Georgia (Sakartvelo). David received his MSc in Social Sciences (Research) from the University of Amsterdam and his Mgr in Security & Strategic Studies from Masaryk University.
Image credit: Security staff guarding the entrance to a cinema screening “And Then We Danced”, a movie about a romance between two Georgian men. (Author: David Rypel)