The political implementation of ideasBy Rafaël Cos
This article analyzes socialists’ conversion to “security” since the mid-1990s, which has long remained a typical issue of the right and the far right-wings. Using the concept of career applied to political ideas, the study has two main aims. First, by exploring the discursive, textual, and organizational forms of this conversion’s objectification, it analyzes the conditions that make this poaching in opposing lands possible. Second, by following a process-based approach of socialist appropriations of “security,” it measures their very erratic aspect. Shaped by contradictory logics, party conversion is thus far from existing in the form of a linear sequence (doctrinal appropriation, programmatic elaboration, electoral mobilization, and jurisdictional implementation). The institutionalization of “security” depends on whether the value of this issue can or cannot be monetized on differentiated political markets. The study draws upon public and private archives, a corpus of articles, and a number of field interviews with the actors most directly involved in this conversion’s dynamic.