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Research Report

From entitlements to power structures: Improving analysis for community security programming

Megan Price
Erwin van Veen
Copyright Date: Dec. 1, 2016
Published by: Clingendael Institute
Pages: 46

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. [i]-[ii])
  2. (pp. [iii]-[iii])
  3. (pp. 1-3)
  4. (pp. 4-4)
  5. (pp. 5-6)

    Both academic research and practitioner reports have contributed to a growing body of evidence demonstrating the political nature of security arrangements. Despite this, security programming for the ‘community level’ consistently frames security as an entitlement, and primarily focuses on insecurity in terms of the immediate threats experienced and reported by local people. This perspective and the approach it fosters can lead programmes to err on the side of the palliative, addressing outward symptoms of insecurity rather than its deeper drivers.

    This report argues that programmes must account for and be responsive to the power structures and institutional forces that determine...

  6. (pp. 7-17)

    Over the past two decades, community security has come into focus as a lynchpin concept, helping to bridge the tandem goals of promoting security and development.³ Moreover, it promotes this link at the level of citizens and their daily experiences. Deeply embedded in this approach is the notion that impediments to human development are likely to incite conflict and perhaps violence. Social, economic and political exclusion not only reduce marginalised groups’ opportunities for development. Inequality and the denial of certain societal guarantees can also rend societal cohesion, eroding social barriers to violence as a means of access to political voice,...

  7. (pp. 18-24)

    The principle of security as an entitlement should be reconciled with the empirical reality that security is often organised as a means of enforcement. Thus, just as state-centric security must incorporate a people-centred perspective, so must community security be understood as ‘inseparable from the exercise of political power’.42 At the community level, this power may be the authority of the state, the territorial control of a local strongman, the public support of a political party or the privileged position of a particular identity group. Competition between such powers can mean that security actors are more preoccupied with enforcing, challenging or...

  8. (pp. 25-35)

    The previous sections have suggested that there is a strong case for more and better analysis of the power structures that influence the shape of, and local arrangements for, community security. The concepts of ‘safeguarding’, ‘enforcement’ and ‘recourse’ provide analytical lenses to understand such structures and enable mapping of the local security actors and power holders, and the incentives that inform their behaviours. These lenses can be used to sharpen existing open-source tools that also focus on the power dynamics of (community) security (see Box 4 below).52

    However, a complementary insight is that neither the sophistication of analytical models, nor...

  9. (pp. 36-38)

    The reflections and ideas presented in this report have emerged from a multi-stage process of investigation, re-examination and verification. Over the course of one year, the following phases of exploration were undertaken.

    An extended desk study identified and focused on key concepts that have consistently demonstrated an important influence on community-level security configurations in a variety of contexts. The literature reviewed for this report included peer-reviewed academic research, papers from policy research institutes and practitioner reports written by implementing organisations. A complete list of sources consulted can found in Annex II. The desk study also delved into existing models of...

  10. (pp. 39-42)