Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The Securitization of Society

The Securitization of Society: Crime, Risk, and Social Order

Marc Schuilenburg
Translated by George Hall
With an Introduction by David Garland
Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 368
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Securitization of Society
    Book Description:

    Traditionally, security has been the realm of the state and its uniformed police. However, in the last two decades, many actors and agencies, including schools, clubs, housing corporations, hospitals, shopkeepers, insurers, energy suppliers and even private citizens, have enforced some form of security, effectively changing its delivery, and overall role.

    InThe Securitization of Society, Marc Schuilenburg establishes a new critical perspective for examining the dynamic nature of security and its governance. Rooted in the works of the French philosophers Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Gabriel Tarde, this book explores the ongoing structural and cultural changes that have impacted security in Western society from the 19th century to the present. By analyzing the new hybrid of public-private security, this volume provides deep insight into the processes of securitization and modern risk management for the police and judicial authorities as well as other emerging parties. Schuilenburg draws upon four case studies of increased securitization in Europe - monitoring marijuana cultivation, urban intervention teams, road transport crime, and the collective shop ban - in order to raise important questions about citizenship, social order, and the law within this expanding new paradigm. An innovative, interdisciplinary approach to criminological theory that incorporates philosophy, sociology, and political science,The Securitization of Societyreveals how security is understood and enacted in urban environments today.

    eISBN: 978-1-4798-8195-6
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    The concept ofsecurityis familiar enough by now, even if its multiple meanings (crime prevention and public safety but also risk management and control of the future) and its multiple contexts (physical security, military security, economic security, environmental security) sometimes trip us up. And many readers will be aware that the criminological study of policing and crime control has recently given way to a broader, more sociological concern with the diverse ways in which security and urban safety are produced or undermined. But what exactly is the “securitization of society” to which Marc Schuilenburg’s title refers?

    “Securitization,” in Schuilenburg’s...

  4. 1 The Problem
    (pp. 9-26)

    Security is an ordering concept. We order our lives in the hope of ensuring a safe existence. The last two decades have witnessed radical changes in the way in which this occurs. Traditionally, the government was the entity responsible for our security. But now, an increasing number of other players have assumed tasks and responsibilities relating to our safety and security. In some cases, they have taken over these duties completely. Private guards at airports and in shopping malls are a wellknown example. But schools, sports clubs, and housing organizations have also embedded the concern for safety and security in...


    • 2 Nodal Governance
      (pp. 29-54)

      Although security is currently a dominant theme in politics and receives much attention in the media, it has played a major role in political-philosophical discussions on the way our society is ordered for quite some time. The writings of thinkers such as Cesare Beccaria and Thomas Hobbes in particular have encouraged us to regard security as a central responsibility of the state. InLeviathan, Hobbes (1963) argues that social order is not a given. Instead, the natural state is one of universal violence and an unbridled pursuit of power. By means of a social contract, a governing body is created...


    • [PART II Introduction]
      (pp. 55-59)

      In this part, I shall develop a new perspective that provides more latitude for the dynamic character of security. I seek the constituents of this perspective in the work of Foucault, Deleuze, and Tarde. It will be self-evident that these thinkers place different accents on different viewpoints, and that they direct their attention to diverse matters.¹ Foucault is no Deleuze, just as Deleuze is no Tarde. But, in addition to the many differences, there are indeed the necessary similarities. All three authors distance themselves from a long metaphysical tradition in which a unilateral orientation toward, and an appreciation of, unity...

    • 3 Securitization
      (pp. 60-96)

      This chapter represents the first step in realizing a dynamic perspective on the issue of security. I take the work of Michel Foucault as a starting point. The fact that the perspective of nodal governance harmonizes with Foucault’s analysis, in which the power to configure society is removed from the hands of the government and the police, provides a solid and germane basis.¹ In this chapter, I direct my attention to an elaboration of the lectures entitledSécurité, territoire, population (Security, Territory, Population) andNaissance de la biopolitique(The Birth of Biopolitics), which Foucault gave at the Collège de France...

    • 4 Assemblages
      (pp. 97-130)

      With the advent of the technology of security, the gate has been opened to the situation in which common life domains such as health care, education, and welfare, which are inherently very different in their nature and function, are being integrated into new wholes. This raises the question of how these wholes can be understood without our falling back upon general categories such as “public” and “private.” Foucault’s analysis seems to indicate that such orderings are not imposed from the outside, by an institution, person, or group that is legally authorized to do so or possesses the resources to perform...

    • 5 Molar and Molecular
      (pp. 131-162)

      It is now necessary to take a third and final step toward a dynamic perspective on security and thus bridge the gap between theory and action. I do so by directing my attention to the actions of the authorities in a security assemblage, an approach that is almost entirely lacking in the work of Deleuze and Foucault.¹ For example, Foucault prefers to speak in abstractions such as “the bourgeoisie,” “the judges,” “the psychiatric experts,” or “the administration” when he writes about people of flesh and blood. And Deleuze is also more interested in abstract processes of subjectivization or the conditions...


    • [PART III Introduction]
      (pp. 163-166)

      The issues we are now faced with concern the way in which the dynamics in security assemblages can be made visible, and the new social and institutional orders to which such dynamics may lead in the approach to crime and disorder. These issues are relevant because the current study of security is primarily oriented to whether or not a chosen approach actually works, rather than to “why and under which circumstances” (Nelen 2008: 70) that may be the case. One is mainly interested in the visible and concrete results of security policy. In that respect, the study of policy outcomes...

    • 6 Combating Marijuana Cultivation
      (pp. 167-185)

      The first chapter of the ethnographic study covers the approach to organized marijuana cultivation, which is an important theme within Dutch crime fighting and a topic that has been on the front pages of newspapers regularly over the past five years. Marijuana cultivation brings disorder, degradation, and risk situations to residential neighborhoods. It may also entail welfare fraud, tax, and theft of energy (Bovenkerk and Hogewind 2002; Spapens et al. 2007). In a follow-up to the “Cannabis Letter” of 23 April 2004 sent by the Dutch government to the Second Chamber of Parliament, a national intensification of the policy to...

    • 7 Tackling Road Transport Crime
      (pp. 186-205)

      The Dutch Parliamentary Inquiry Committee into Criminal Investigation Methods examined various sectors of the Dutch economy to check whether trade and industry have been infiltrated by organized crime, or perhaps have maintained close contact with criminals in another way. The committee concluded that, in various sectors, criminogenic situational factors are present that could facilitate criminal behavior. Such factors have been exposed in the road transport sector, the insurance sector, and the waste-disposal sector. With regard to the first sector, companies occasionally lend a “helping hand” to organized crime. Transport companies are set up by smugglers to carry drugs to Europe,...

    • 8 Urban Intervention Teams
      (pp. 206-225)

      Nowadays intervention teams spring into action to deal with families if there are suspicions that things are going seriously wrong. This approach has various names. “Behind-the-front-door” is an expression that appeals to the imagination. But the approach entails more than merely stepping across the threshold and entering into people’s private domain. The house visit is “a component of a chain of actions that must eventually lead to improvement in the living circumstances of households and whole neighborhoods” (Lupi and Schelling 2010: 4). Depending on the nature and aims of a project, the parties involved will include municipal departments, housing associations,...

    • 9 The Collective Shop Ban
      (pp. 226-244)

      The Collective Shop Ban (CSB) was introduced to the center of The Hague in 2005 with the aim of preventing antisocial behavior, defined in terms of punishable acts and undesirable conduct. In the latter case, the “offense” is relatively mild, such as when someone behaves in an illmannered way to shop personnel, for example. In this framework, the entrepreneurs themselves can impose a shop ban on the offenders, and this ban is subsequently enforced throughout the entire city center. Anyone displaying undesired behavior in a shop or business that espouses the CSB policy can thus be ref`used admission to all...


    • [PART IV Introduction]
      (pp. 245-248)

      In the second part of this book, I defined a security assemblage as a short-lived or long-lasting constellation of territories, rules, and authorities. The relation between the elements of “rules” and of “authorities” was covered in the previous part of the book, where we examined the expression and content of the interactions among the authorities in four security assemblages. But the dynamics in the current security diagram can be thematized in yet another way. Accordingly, this last part of the book deals with the third element of a security assemblage: the process of territorialization.

      Territorialization refers to that which defines...

    • 10 City and Citizenship
      (pp. 249-285)

      The urban infrastructure and the rights that can be borrowed from the use of locations in the city form the subject matter of this chapter. Ordering always concerns the allocation of places. More specifically, security is about the determination of boundaries. A typical element of this is the design of, and access to, public space. Much public space is designed in such a way that unexpected occurrences can be largely neutralized. This is called a “zero-friction” environment. Moreover, a whole body of regulators is often on call to ensure that social friction is precluded. In that respect, public space increasingly...

    • 11 A Dynamic Perspective
      (pp. 286-302)

      As we come to the end of this book, let us look back and consider the implications from the previous chapters. In the past few years, the ordering of society has come to be seen primarily in the light of security. The fact that security has assumed the character of a societal project is related to social developments that have been taking place over a longer period, such as individualization, the rise of new information and communication technologies, and the increase in the magnitude and severity of crime since the 1980s. In this changing context, the call for more, harder,...

    (pp. 303-304)
  10. NOTES
    (pp. 305-314)
    (pp. 315-334)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 335-344)
    (pp. 345-345)