Knowledgebase

Number of results: 301

Police work and new ‘security devices’: A tale from the beat

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Scientific publication
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Security Dialogue, 46 (4): 384–400
Abstract: 

Mobile technologies have brought about major changes in police equipment and police work.

If a utopian narrative remains strongly linked to the adoption of new technologies, often formulated as ‘magic bullets’ to real occupational problems, there are important tensions between their ‘imagined’ outcomes and the (unexpected) effects that accompany their daily ‘practical’ use by police officers. This article offers an analysis of police officers’ perceptions and interactions with security devices. In so doing, it develops a conceptual typology of strategies for coping with new technology inspired by Le Bourhis and Lascoumes: challenging, neutralizing and diverting. To that purpose, we adopt an ethnographic approach that focuses on the discourses, practices and actions of police officers in relation to three security devices: the mobile digital terminal, the mobile phone and the body camera. Based on a case study of a North American municipal police department, the article addresses how these technological devices are perceived and experienced by police officers on the beat.

Reframing conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence: Bringing gender analysis back in

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Scientific publication
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Security Dialogue, 46 (6): 495–512
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Over the past decade, significant global attention has been paid to the issue of ‘widespread and systematic’ sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

To contribute to the prevention of SGBV, researchers have examined the relationship between the presence of armed conflict and the causes of SGBV. Much of this causal literature has focused on the individual and group perpetrator dynamics that fuel SGBV. However, we argue that research needs to lay bare the roots of SGBV in normalized and systemic gender discrimination. This article brings back structural gender inequality as a causal explanation for SGBV. In order to better understand and prevent SGBV, we propose a critical knowledge base that identifies causal patterns of gendered violence by building on existing indicators of gender discrimination.

Exercising emergencies: Resilience, affect and acting out security

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Scientific publication
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Security Dialogue, 47 (2): 99–116
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The idea of the complex emergency has given rise to the notion of resilience as a form of acting out security.

While security policies largely embrace the concept of resilience, critical scholarship points to the ‘responsibilization’ of the threatened subject, who is ‘programmed’ to act out security in a fashion that internalizes neoliberal values. This behaviour is trained through disciplinary practices, such as exercises, that seek to conduct the conduct of disaster populations. However, is the resilient subject only ever an instance of programmes and disciplinary power? This article takes a look at how self-organization comes about and how this process can be conceptualized through affect. It uses the setting of a cyber-security exercise to describe the dynamic interplay between affect and re/action. Building on Spinoza’s understanding of affect as the onset for action, the article discusses what affect theory contributes to resilience theory. It concludes that, as a form of acting out security, resilience incorporates both ‘programmed’ and ‘self-determined’ actions. Both forms of acting, however, imply that the resilient subject has no choice but to act out security. Given this fundamental restraint, powerlessness as the incapacity to act appears as one of the few instances that escape the governmental logic of resilience.

Smartening border security in the European Union: An associational inquiry

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Scientific publication
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Security Dialogue, 47 (4): 292–309
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This contribution asks how the reliance on mass dataveillance of travellers is sustained as a central policy option in the governance of EU border security.

It examines this question by analysing a recent initiative of the European Commission proposing the establishment of EU ‘smart borders’. The analysis draws from a set of thinking tools developed by the sociology of association in the field of science and technology studies. The contribution argues that in order to grasp policy outcomes such as smart borders, security studies would benefit from adopting a compositional outlook on agency, where action is seen as the effect of associated entities. Looking at the smartening of EU borders, the article finds that this process is held together by multiple translations and enrolments through which the technical side of dataveillance – platforms, automated gates, matching systems, and so forth – has become associated with the processes of policymaking on border security and sustains the furtherance of mass dataveillance.

Investing in disaster management capabilities versus pre-positioning inventory: A new approach to disaster preparedness

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Scientific publication
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International Journal of Production Economics, 157: 261-272
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Disaster preparedness has been recognized as a central element in reducing the impact of disasters worldwide.

The usual methods of preparedness, such as pre-positioning relief inventory in countries prone to disasters, are problematic because they require high investment in various locations, due to the uncertainty about the timing and location of the next disaster. Investing in disaster management capabilities, such as training staff, pre-negotiating customs agreements with countries prone to disasters, or harmonizing import procedures with local customs clearance procedures, has been recognized as a way to overcome this constraint. By means of system dynamics modeling, we model the delivery process of ready-to-use therapeutic food items during the immediate response phase of a disaster, and we analyze the performance of different preparedness scenarios. We find that pre-positioning inventory produces positive results for the beneficiaries, but at extremely high costs. Investing in disaster management capabilities is an interesting alternative, as it allows lead time reductions of up to 67% (18 days) compared to a scenario without preparedness, at significantly lower costs than pre-positioning inventory. We find that the best performance can be achieved when combining both preparedness strategies, allocating part of the available funding to disaster management capabilities and part to pre-positioning inventory. We analyze 2828 such combined scenarios to identify the best mix of preparedness strategies for different levels of available funding. On the basis of our findings, we provide recommendations for relief organizations on how to allocate their preparedness budget.

Smart and secure borders through automated border control systems in the EU? The views of political stakeholders in the Member States

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Scientific publication
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European Security, 26 (2): 207-225
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The European Commission launched the “Smart Borders” policy process in 2011 to enhance border security in the European Union (EU) using technologisation and harmonisation.

This includes the use of automated border control (ABC) systems. The Member States crucially shape the process, weighing security technologies and costs, privacy and rights, and further institutional choices. We examine the views of political stakeholders in four Member States by conducting a systematic empirical and comparative study unprecedented in the existing, political-theory-inspired research. In our Q methodological experiments, political stakeholders in Finland, Romania, Spain and the UK rank-ordered a sample of statements on Smart Borders, ABC and harmonisation. The factor analysis of the results yielded three main views: the first criticising ABC as a security technology, the second welcoming the security gains of automation and the third opposing harmonised border control. While impeding harmonisation, the results offer a consensus facilitating common policy.

Crowdsourced surveillance and networked data

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Scientific publication
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Security Dialogue, 48 (1): 63–77
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Possibilities for crowdsourced surveillance have expanded in recent years as data uploaded to social networks can be mined, distributed, assembled, mapped, and analyzed by anyone with an uncensored

internet connection. These data points are necessarily fragmented and partial, open to interpretation, and rely on algorithms for retrieval and sorting. Yet despite these limitations, they have been used to produce complex representations of space, subjects, and power relations as internet users attempt to reconstruct and investigate events while they are developing. In this article, I consider one case of crowdsourced surveillance that emerged following the detonation of two bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon. I focus on the actions of a particular forum on reddit.com, which would exert a significant influence on the events as they unfolded. The study describes how algorithmic affordances, internet cultures, surveillance imaginaries, and visual epistemologies contributed to the structuring of thought, action, and subjectivity in the moment of the event. I use this case study as a way to examine moments of entangled political complicity and resistance, highlighting the ways in which particular surveillance practices are deployed and feed back into the event amid its unfolding.

Knowledge of practice: A multi-sited event ethnography of border security fairs in Europe and North America

Document type: 
Scientific publication
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Security Dialogue, 48 (3): 187–205
Abstract: 

This article takes the reader inside four border security fairs in Europe and North America to examine the knowledge practices of border security professionals.

Building on the border security as practice research agenda, the analysis focuses on the production, circulation, and consumption of scarce forms of knowledge. To explore situated knowledge of border security practices, I develop an approach to multi-sited event ethnography to observe and interpret knowledge that may be hard to access at the security fairs. The analysis focuses on mechanisms for disseminating and distributing scarce forms of knowledge, technological materializations of situated knowledge, expressions of transversal knowledge of security problems, how masculinities structure knowledge in gendered ways, and how unease is expressed through imagined futures in order to anticipate emergent solutions to proposed security problems. The article concludes by reflecting on the contradictions at play at fairs and how to address such contradictions through alternative knowledges and practices.

Tracing and explaining securitization: Social mechanisms, process tracing and the securitization of irregular migration

Document type: 
Scientific publication
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Publisher / Publication: 
Security Dialogue, 48 (6): 505-523
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This article offers a process-mechanism explanation of securitization.

To make the case for a process-mechanism account more concrete, I use interpretivist process tracing to explain the crisis episode of the Sun Sea, a Thai cargo ship carrying Sri Lankan asylum-seekers, and the securitization of irregular migration in Canada. Drawing on interviews and grey literature, the article shows how securitization was possible and under what conditions, and argues that ideational dispositions of security organizations induced state officials toward a security interpretation of the the Sun Sea. The article aims to demonstrate that process-mechanism explanations represent a compelling methodological alternative with which to trace and explain securitization. The article sees itself as part of a broader refinement of a sociological variant of securitization theory. It seeks to examine and enhance the contribution that this ‘post-Copenhagen’ approach – its core assumptions and theoretical framework – makes to the analysis of securitization.

Predicting criminal incidents on the basis of non-verbal behaviour: The role of experience

Document type: 
Scientific publication
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Publisher / Publication: 
Security Journal, 30 (3): 703–716
Abstract: 

Do experienced police officers have a superior ability to detect impending criminal acts?

In order to test this Hypothesis 10 Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) clips were collected from real criminal events that occurred in and around Nottingham City Centre in the UK. Ten control clips were filmed specifically or chosen from existing footage to match the criminal clips, but did not contain any criminal activity. All clips ended abruptly, immediately before a real criminal act unfolding, or a non-criminal act in the control clips, and either the screen turned black, masking the video scene, or remained frozen on the final frame of the edited clip. Thirty police officers and 30 control participants watched the clips. At the end of each clip, participants were asked to predict what would happen next. Signal detection analysis indicated marginal evidence that police show greater accuracy in predicting clips that cut to a black screen compared with the general public. A stronger effect was noted in the analysis of the criterion, with police officers much more likely to predict a crime regardless of whether there was one. These findings provide promising evidence of experiential differences between police officers and the general public when identifying criminal and antisocial behaviour in CCTV footage, though the greater criterion bias effect suggests that experience may oversensitise individuals to non-verbal cues.

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