Knowledgebase

Number of results: 39

Transnational Power Elites: the new professionals of governance, law and security

Document type: 
Book
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Routledge
Abstract: 

Spurred by globalisation, technological and economic development has provided the backbone for social and political transformations that have changed the social structures that unite and differenti

ate individuals and groups in Europe and their interface with extra-European actors. These developments are not only exemplified by the rise of the EU, but also by the rise of a set of transnational European power elites evolving in and around the European construction.

This book maps out these EU and international interdependencies and provides a comprehensive picture of the European transnational power elites. Moving away from the majority of literature on European integration dominated by economics, law, IR and political science, the volume is written from a sociological perspective that takes into account the individuals that make the policy decisions, the formal and informal groups in which s/he is included, as well as the social conventions that regulate political and administrative activities in the EU.

This book will be of much interest to students of EU studies, sociology, critical security studies, and IR in general.

The Changing Agenda of Societal Security

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
In: Brauch H.G. et al. (eds) Globalization and Environmental Challenges. Hexagon Series on Human and Environmental Security and Peace, vol 3, Springer Verlag, pp 581-593
Abstract: 

Security dynamics have some shared features irrespective of their referent object or ‘sector’, and ‘different kinds of security’ often interact so that one actor’s fear for military security trigge

rs countermeasures that make another state worried about its economic security, which in turn triggers countermeasures that let a security dilemma loose operating across ‘kinds’ of security. For these two reasons, it is useful to study economic security, military security, political security, environmental security and other forms together, side by side. But there are also significant differences between, for instance security against military threats and against migration (when viewed as a threat), or between economic security and environmental security. This makes it useful to look systematically at the security of what might be called ‘sectors’ (economic, military, etc) and draw out the particularities regarding what are the main objects defended, who typically acts in this sector, and not least, what dynamics of security and insecurity are characteristic of this sector.

ASSERT - Assessing Security Research: Tools and Methodologies to Measure Societal Impact

Document type: 
Research project
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration.
Abstract: 

The need for considering societal impacts of EU security research has been acknowledged on many occasions by different actors.

The problem though is that in traditional thinking, societal impacts are reduced to side effects of instrumental (technological and legal) security measures. This binary thinking has to be overcome. It should and can be demonstrated that societal dimensions of security research taken into account from the very beginning of the “design process” can increase the variety pool of feasible solutions. Starting from a synthesis of state of the art discussions on societal security, we will identify best practice cases exploring and assessing societal impacts of science and technology in the security domain and beyond, and carefully analyse their structural properties. This will be done in a multidisciplinary fashion from different perspectives, including end-users, stakeholders, researchers, policy-makers and NGOs. Bringing together these different perspectives in a series of workshops will create the basis for the development of a tool and a strategy for the sustainable implementation of societal impacts in future EU research activities in the field of security.

Risk Society. Towards a New Modernity

Document type: 
Book
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Sage Publications Ltd
Abstract: 

This panoramic analysis of the condition of Western societies has been hailed as a classic.

This first English edition has taken its place as a core text of contemporary sociology alongside earlier typifications of society as postindustrial and current debates about the social dimensions of the postmodern. Underpinning the analysis is the notion of the `risk society'. The changing nature of society's relation to production and distribution is related to the environmental impact as a totalizing, globalizing economy based on scientific and technical knowledge becomes more central to social organization and social conflict. 

The Role of Values in Threat Analysis, SOURCE Deliverable D6.1

Document type: 
Report
Publisher / Publication: 
SOURCE Deliverable
Abstract: 

This report aims to clarify the role of values in the conceptualisation of security in threat analyses in the different sectors of the overall security landscape in Europe.

This is done on the basis of analyses of official documents, policy pronouncements, literature reviews and interviews. It is argued that the connection between values and threats often remains unclear in security strategies and risk assessments referring to values like human rights, democracy and the rule of law for their justification. In want of common operationalisations of these values, it results in a great variety of risk assessments where the value impact of risks is evaluated differently.  As a basis for security policy, there is therefore a need for making the normative judgments involved in the analyses more explicit. The authors of this report highlight three basic dimensions of such value judgments, related to questions of universalism vs. relativism and individualism vs. collectivism. These are exemplified by cases of refugee management and everyday security. Against this background, the landscape of European threat analysis is then reviewed, including a new type of national risk assessments prescribed by EU regulations on disaster risk management.  

“Maternal thinking” and the concept of “vulnerability” in security paradigms, policies, and practices

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Journal of International Political Theory 10(1) 46–69
Abstract: 

This article takes as its starting point Sara Ruddick’s discussion of “vulnerability” in her 1989 groundbreaking book Maternal Thinking: Toward a Politics of Peace.

It examines the kind of thinking about vulnerability that Ruddick describes as developed through maternal practice and uses it as a heuristic device for rethinking the conceptions of and responses to vulnerability that permeate national and international security discourses. It explores the specific forms of practice and reason that are implicated by these different stances toward vulnerability and shows that the (often unexamined) assumptions underlying these stances are profoundly consequential for both policy and practice. Specifically, it takes both nuclear weapons and the so-called Global War on Terror as particular forms of response to perceived vulnerability and scrutinizes the practices associated with each in light of the forms of rationality arising from maternal practice. It also explores the assumptions underlying the concept of “vulnerable groups” commonly employed in international policy institutions, teasing out their implications for politics, policy, and action. Overall, it argues that Ruddick’s articulation of maternal thinking provides a valuable resource for reimagining transformed and transformative security practices. 

Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe - A Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign And Security Policy

Document type: 
Policy document
Publisher / Publication: 
European External Action Service (EEAS)
Abstract: 

Executive Summary:

"We need a stronger Europe. This is what our citizens deserve, this is what the wider world expects.
We live in times of existential crisis, within and beyond the European Union. Our Union is under threat. Our European project, which has brought unprecedented peace, prosperity and democracy, is being questioned. To the east, the European security order has been violated, while terrorism and violence plague North Africa and the Middle East, as well as Europe itself. Economic growth is yet to outpace demography in parts of Africa, security tensions in Asia are mounting, while climate change causes further disruption. Yet these are also times of extraordinary opportunity. Global growth, mobility, and technological progress – alongside our deepening partnerships – enable us to thrive, and allow ever more people to escape poverty and live longer and freer lives. We will navigate this difficult, more connected, contested and complex world guided by our shared interests, principles and priorities. Grounded in the values enshrined in the Treaties and building on our many strengths and historic achievements, we will stand united in building a stronger Union, playing its collective role in the world."

Dangerization and the End of Deviance

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
British Journal of Criminology 40 (2): 261-278.
Abstract: 

"After Durkheim and after Foucault the idea of deviance from the community's norms has been the central principle for explaining definitions of crime and justification of punishment.

Deviance has become a backwards definition of normality, and culture effectively bans unacceptable behaviour. Deviance is a form of dysfunction, punishment is part of the return route to rationality. In Foucault's conception punishment is not retributive or retaliatory, but the cultural reconstruction of the subject. Though the most modern critique of society does not go beyond Foucault, the processes of late modernity have made this whole approach invalid. The boundary between normal and deviant has largely been erased. Deviance can no longer be treated as marginalized behaviour of marginalized persons. And yet, something recognized as ‘crime’ is a live issue, crime endangers the citizens and risk of crime takes centre stage, objectified along with other risks. The scale of necessary rethinking of the relation of crime to society can only be sketched in this article.
Risk, not crime, has become the central culture register of social interaction. Connecting later modernity and risk opens new spaces for sociological theory. Media and politicians insist on the advent of a newly dangerous, uncertain world, associated with environmental problems and to technologies which produce them, chemical, nuclear and biotechnical. The analysis is always from inside the culture, the risks are objectified, risk itself is not regarded as a socio-cultural product. The engineer's specialized professional perception of risk as an object-to-object category is now being replaced by a society-to-object notion. The critique brought by cultural theory is that risk, like crime, is essentially a society-to-society product.
The idea of ‘dangerization’ is useful to introduce the idea that sensibility to threat is built by cultural means. By a circular process of amplification the consciousness of a dangerous society enhances that of a dangerous material world. Risk is a projection to the present through the future. Without a hypothesized future, risk cannot be established. But according to cultural theory such a hypothesis of the future can never be a ‘neutral prediction’. It sees such predictions as attempts to manage collective patterns of fear which follow lines of social stratification. The liberal vision of equality before the law is neutralized by assigning dangerousness to specific social identities. Belonging to a particular social group establishes or excludes the sense of threat and disarms or arms segregating avoidance strategies. Society is more deeply divided than ever on principles of security-seeking. The probability of victimization is at the centre of segregation. Systems, strategies and tactics based on suspicion, backed by probability, produce rearrangements of population on the basis of secure and non-secure areas. Means and times of transport are chosen on the same basis, and there is no later modern space without consciousness of dangerousness.
The argument here must turn to the changes in the social bond which have followed from changes in the technology of communication. It helps the case to present a view of society as a system of permissions to access. The turnstile, the credit card and the password can be taken to represent a process which has put all access on to an automated basis. The need to build up relations of trust is reduced, almost eliminated. Either the card giving access to money or information is technically valid, or it is not. Social control is taken out of interpersonal interaction and handed over to an automated basis. No more need for negotiation of personal ties, no need for polished social skills, no need to demonstrate ethical probity, the new social divisions are defined by having or not having the right mechanical means of identification at each level. Automated access replaces personal trust. The effect is to further weaken neighbourhood ties where co-residents do not need to relate to one another at all and atomization of kinship units is complete. In the dangerized society ethical evaluation is irrelevant, or at best deflected on to safety concerns.
What can deviance theory do? Deviating from what? Where are the norms? The response to anomie is a danger-aware culture, where all the other classifications have gone and all that is left in the way of structure is in automated systems: instead of social distinction, the much cruder indicators: gender and age give signals of dangerous identities. Deviance can still be defined by exclusion from card-holding. Crime can be divided into fear-provoking and non fear-provoking. Social institutions denuded of moral responsibility are mere distribution systems. The ethics of consumerism take command. The evaluation of objects and persons focuses on safety, and the producer's responsibility for selling safe products is the criterion for good government."

Automated human behavior analysis

Document type: 
Technology Trend card
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Fraunhofer for the SOURCE project
Abstract: 

1 page fact sheet on the technology trends of Automated human behavior analysis

The term automated human behavior analysis (AHBA) stands  for  the  identification and assessment of human behavior for the purpose of  detecting suspicious behavior of persons in public or while personnel interactions such as surveys. This process is supported by automated processes. The aim of the automated behavior analysis is the detection of individuals with bad intentions (e.g. terrorists) and the prevention of their actions in advance or uncovering already committed deeds.     

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