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What’s love got to do with it? Marriage and the security state

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Accepted/In press2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


This article explores how marriage animates the racial logic of the security state. While the pursuit of romantic love culminating in a wedding is considered to be a universal good, arranged marriages are viewed as a dangerous anachronism which threaten the state’s authority. By revealing the animating force of arranged marriage in the UK immigration regime and the War on Terror, we can see the central role of love marriage within the principles of choice, autonomy and individuality around which the liberal subject organises their moral economy. The legalisation of gay marriage – constructed as a kind of love marriagepar excellence – becomes the means through which the nation state can uphold this moral economy and be renewed and reinvigorated in the process. By putting gay marriage in dialogue with arranged marriage, the gendered and racial configuration of the UK as a security state becomes visible.

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