Knowledgebase

Number of results: 295

Policing Uncertainty: Intelligence, Security and Risk

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Scientific publication
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Intelligence and National Security, 27 (2): 187-205
Abstract: 

Today, the idea of risk is ubiquitous, a presence in debates across a range of fields, from investment banking to politics, from anthropology and sociology to health, environmental and cultural stu

dies. While this ubiquity attests to the importance of the concept it is at the same time a potential weakness in that it injects the term into a wide range of debates in each of which its meaning can be subject to different emphases and meanings. The notion of risk is of obvious importance to security intelligence, but here too its ubiquity has had an impact on specificity of meaning. While the term is widely used in both the profession and study of intelligence, its usage can carry different meanings and it can be used interchangeably with linked terms. Given the importance of the idea of risk to intelligence, clarity of meaning is essential. This article sets out to consider the meaning of, and relationship between, uncertainty and risk in a security intelligence context, propose a framework on which a common understanding can be built, and illustrate how this can help in thinking about the nature and role of security intelligence.

Internal and External Aspects of Security

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Scientific publication
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European Security, 15 (4): 385-404
Abstract: 

This contribution analyses the merging of internal and external aspects of security.

Whereas according to the ‘doxa’ emerging after 11 September 2001, such convergence is the logical and necessary answer to global terrorism, this article argues instead that the de-differentiation between internal and external security does not result from the transformation of political violence, but mainly from institutional games and practices of securitisation that define the importance of security as superior to sovereignty and freedom. A web of security institutions has developed beyond national borders, and policing at a distance has disentangled security from state sovereignty. The question of who is in charge of security is now tackled at the transnational level, generating competition among professionals of politics and (in)security over the existence of threats and legitimate answers to them. Moreover, the role of technology, especially concerning information exchange, has reinforced the importance of security professionals. The impact of Europeanisation has been central as it has formalised transnational ties between security professionals, and the emergence of European institutions in charge of fundamental rights and data protection may provide a space to discuss collectively who is entitled to define what constitutes a threat.

Theorizing Surveillance: The Panopticon and Beyond

Document type: 
Book
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Publisher / Publication: 
Routledge
Abstract: 

This book is about explaining surveillance processes and practices in contemporary society.

Surveillance studies is a relatively new multi-disciplinary enterprise that aims to understand who watches who, how the watched participate in and sometimes question their surveillance, why surveillance occurs, and with what effects. This book brings together some of the world's leading surveillance scholars to discuss the "why" question. The field has been dominated, since the groundbreaking work of Michel Foucault, by the idea of the panopticon and this book explores why this metaphor has been central to discussions of surveillance, what is fruitful in the panoptic approach, and what other possible approaches can throw better light on the phenomena in question.Since the advent of networked computer databases, and especially since 9/11, questions of surveillance have come increasingly to the forefront of democratic, political and policy debates in the global north (and to an extent in the global south). Civil liberties, democratic participation and privacy are some of the issues that are raised by these developments. But little progress can be made in responding to these issues without an adequate understanding of how, how well and whether or not surveillance works. This book explores the theoretical questions in a way that is grounded in and attuned to empirical realities.

Security and Immigration: Toward a Critique of the Governmentality of Unease

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Scientific publication
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Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 27 (1): 63-92
Abstract: 

Some “critical” discourses generated by NGOs and academics assume that if people, politicians, governments, bureaucracies and journalists were more aware, they would change their minds about migrat

ion and begin to resist securitizing it. The primary problem, therefore, is ideological or discursive in that the securitization of migrants derives from the language itself and from the different capacities of various actors to engage in speech acts. In this context, the term “speech act” is used not in its technical Austinian sense, but metaphorically, to justify both the normative position of a speaker and the value of their critical discourse against the discourses of the security professionals. This understanding of critique reinforces the vision of a contest between ideas and norms, a contest in which academics can play a leading role. This essay seeks to avoid presenting the struggle as an ideological one between conserv- ative and liberal positions, or even as an “intertextual competition” between agencies in which academics have a key role. It examines why the discourses of securitization continue to be so powerful even when alternatives discourses are well known, and why the production of academic and alternative discourses has so little effect in either the political arena or in daily life. It emphasizes the work of politicization, of the mobilization of groups and technologies enabling some agents, especially political actors, the media, the security professionals and some sectors of the general population, to create a “truth” about the link between crime, unemployment, and migration, even when academics, churches, NGOs and some social policy oriented institutions have made powerful claims to the contrary for many years. 

Hydro-climatic change, conflict and security

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Scientific publication
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Climatic Change, 123 (1): 69-82
Abstract: 

Climate change is likely to increase the frequency and intensity of water-related hazards on human populations. This has generated security concerns and calls for urgent policy action.

However, the simplified narrative that links climate change to security via water and violent conflict is wanting. First, it is not confirmed by empirical evidence. Second, it ignores the varied character and implications of hydro-climatic hazards, the multi-faceted nature of conflict and adaptive action, and crucial intricacies of security. Integrating for the first time research and findings from diverse disciplines, we provide a more nuanced picture of the climate-water-security nexus. We consider findings from the transboundary waters, armed conflict, vulnerability, and political ecology literatures and specify the implications and priorities for policy relevant research. Although the social effects of future hydro-climatic change cannot be safely predicted, there is a good understanding of the factors that aggravate risks to social wellbeing. To reduce vulnerability, pertinent democratic and social/civil security institutions should be strengthened where they exist, and promoted where they are still absent.

Climate, conflict, and social stability: what does the evidence say?

Document type: 
Scientific publication
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Climatic Change, 123 (1): 39-55
Abstract: 

Are violent conflict and socio-political stability associated with changes in climatological variables?

We examine 50 rigorous quantitative studies on this question and find consistent support for a causal association between climatological changes and various conflict outcomes, at spatial scales ranging from individual buildings to the entire globe and at temporal scales ranging from an anomalous hour to an anomalous millennium. Multiple mechanisms that could explain this association have been proposed and are sometimes supported by findings, but the literature is currently unable to decisively exclude any proposed pathway. Several mechanisms likely contribute to the outcomes that we observe.

Climate and security: evidence, emerging risks, and a new agenda

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Publisher / Publication: 
Climatic Change, 123 (1): 1-9
Abstract: 

There are diverse linkages between climate change and security including risks of conflict, national security concerns, critical national infrastructure, geo-political rivalries and threats to huma

n security. We review analysis of these domains from primary research and from policy prescriptive and advocacy sources. We conclude that much analysis over-emphasises deterministic mechanisms between climate change and security. Yet the climate-security nexus is more complex than it appears and requires attention from across the social sciences. We review the robustness of present social sciences analysis in assessing the causes and consequences of climate change on human security, and identify new areas of research. These new areas include the need to analyse the absence of conflict in the face of climate risks and the need to expand the range of issues accounted for in analysis of climate and security including the impacts of mitigation response on domains of security. We argue for the necessity of robust theories that explain causality and associations, and the need to include theories of asymmetric power relations in explaining security dimensions. We also highlight the dilemmas of how observations and historical analysis of climate and security dimensions may be limited as the climate changes in ways that present regions with unprecedented climate risks.

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability - Chapter 12: Human Security

Document type: 
Report
Publisher / Publication: 
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): Climate Change 2014 - Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Cambridge University Press
Abstract: 

This chapter assesses research on how climate change may exacerbate specific threats to human security, and how factors such as lack of mobility or the presence of conflict restrict the ability to

adapt to climate change. Research on the specific interaction of human security and climate change focuses on how cultural, demographic, economic, and political forces interact with direct and indirect climate change impacts, affecting individuals and communities. The analysis concerns drivers of vulnerability across multiple scales and sectors, including gender relations, culture, political institutions, and markets.

 

Constructing resilience through security and surveillance: The politics, practices and tensions of security-driven resilience

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
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Security Dialogue, 46 (1): 86-105
Abstract: 

This article illuminates how, since 9/11, security policy has gradually become more central to a range of resilience discourses and practices.

As this process draws a wider range of security infrastructures, organizations and approaches into the enactment of resilience, security practices are enabled through more palatable and legitimizing discourses of resilience. This article charts the emergence and proliferation of security-driven resilience logics, deployed at different spatial scales, which exist in tension with each other. We exemplify such tensions in practice through a detailed case study from Birmingham, UK: ‘Project Champion’ an attempt to install over 200 high-resolution surveillance cameras, often invisibly, around neighbourhoods with a predominantly Muslim population. Here, practices of security-driven resilience came into conflict with other policy priorities focused upon community-centred social cohesion, posing a series of questions about social control, surveillance and the ability of national agencies to construct community resilience in local areas amidst state attempts to label the same spaces as ‘dangerous’. It is argued that security-driven logics of resilience generate conflicts in how resilience is operationalized, and produce and reproduce new hierarchical arrangements which, in turn, may work to subvert some of the founding aspirations and principles of resilience logic itself.

Securing through the failure to secure? The ambiguity of resilience at the bombsite

Document type: 
Scientific publication
Authors / Institution: 
Publisher / Publication: 
Security Dialogue, 46 (1): 69-85
Abstract: 

Resilience discourses resignify uncertainty and insecurity as the means to attain security.

Security failure is resignified as productive and becomes part of the story about security learning and improvements in anticipatory capability. In this article, I explore questions of failure mediation and ‘securing through insecurity’. If resilience policies suggest that failure and insecurity can be mediated and redeployed in the cause of success, what becomes of visceral sites of security failure such as the terrorist bombsite? This article focuses on a site where security agencies failed to prevent the bombing of a packed nightclub in Bali, in order to explore ambiguity of failure in the resilience era. It considers the efforts of politicians and activists to perform the site as resilient, and the spatial and temporal excess which eludes this performance. The article contributes to critical literatures on resilience by showing, through the ambiguities of resilience at the bombsite, that resilience is a chimera with regards to its supposed incorporation of insecurity.

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