Security is a significant concept that organizes modern lives and contemporary debates centre on the price we are willing to pay for feeling secure. This panel will explore the physical, social and political boundaries that this drive for security creates, and how this impacts citizenship.
Security has become one of the most important concepts that organize modern lives. It seems to be a national obsession in many societies and, increasingly, contemporary debates centre on the price we are willing to pay for feeling secure. This panel explores the physical, social and political boundaries and separations that this drive for security creates, and how this impacts citizenship. We invite papers that investigate how the security practices of both private and public actors can be analysed as claims to sovereign power through the construction and securing of social boundaries and physical borders. In what ways do security companies, police forces, vigilante organisations, neighbourhood watches and other security agents differentiate between who is a threat and who is not? What mechanisms of racial, religious or political profiling are applied and how? Who is allowed to enter specific urban areas, such as gated communities, and who is not? How do such borders, both physical and symbolic, construct particular moral communities? We seek to uncover how boundaries are drawn within nation-states, cities and/or neighbourhoods in the quest for more security, how processes of 'othering' are legitimized and contested, and how this influences negotiations of citizenship. What do citizens expect from both public and private actors in terms of their security, how do these expectations construct the landscape of security governance, how does this shape political subjectivities? We invite both ethnographic and theoretical contributions that explore these various approaches to security and the creation of boundaries.