Project Overview

  • This project, supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), examines the new logic of security provision in Europe, with a special emphasis on post-communist states.  It analyzes the ways in which new security practices – which transcend the public/private and the security/economics divides and blur the domestic/international boundary – both reflect and contribute to fundamental transformations in those polities, and more broadly in the field of international security.   Contemporary practices of security provision, largely inspired by neo-liberal ideas, have a profound impact on post-communist European societies: they re-define norms of acceptable behaviour by public actors, reshape understandings of who has the right to provide public goods, legitimize novel techniques of protection, and introduce a new ethic of care of the population.  In essence, changes in the logic of security provision in Europe have accelerated the re-constitution of the public domain – away from a situation in which the public could be seen as a clearly defined and spatially-bounded domain (distinct from the domain of activity of private actors), and towards a category of ‘public’ defined as a set of techniques of governance and practices that can be enacted by a multitude of actors.   Through this analysis of the reconstitution of the public in the context of security provision, the project contributes to theoretical debates about the meaning of the public dimension of governance in the age of globalization.
  • This project also analyzes the various forms of power (coercive and non-coercive) enacted within  hybrid security networks, and between those networks and other domestic and international actors involved in the definition of new ‘rules of the game’ in the field of security.  One aspect that is particularly interesting in this context is the role played by the EU in governing the new networks of security provision in Europe.
  • Finally, this project explores the particular political problems and ethical dilemmas associated with the new logic of security provision, and examines ways in which these problems and dangers to democratic principles might be mitigated.