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Security Beyond the State
Private Security in International Politics


  • Date Published: November 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521764711

$ 108.00

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About the Authors
  • Across the globe, from mega-cities to isolated resource enclaves, the provision and governance of security takes place within assemblages that are de-territorialized in terms of actors, technologies, norms and discourses. They are embedded in a complex transnational architecture, defying conventional distinctions between public and private, global and local. Drawing on theories of globalization and late modernity, along with insights from criminology, political science and sociology, Security Beyond the State maps the emergence of the global private security sector and develops a novel analytical framework for understanding these global security assemblages. Through in-depth examinations of four African countries – Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and South Africa – it demonstrates how global security assemblages affect the distribution of social power, the dynamics of state stability, and the operations of the international political economy, with significant implications for who gets secured and how in a global era.

    • An innovative and exciting theoretical approach, capturing the global aspects of security privatization in controversial areas such as resource extraction and in urban environments
    • Combines theoretical innovation with on-the-ground empirical investigations
    • Draws on international relations, security studies, criminology and African studies
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Security Beyond the State succeeds on several counts. For those interested in emerging security patterns, it provides a tour of the horizon on critical but neglected issues. For those interested in globalization, it demonstrates how globalization is shaping the production of security on a global scale and shifting its management to the private realm. For those interested in international relations theory, it pushes on some of the most taken-for-granted categories, including the basic function of the state and the location of modern sovereignty. And, it is one of those rare books that will be profitably read by both scholars and practitioners alike.' Michael Barnett, University of Minnesota

    'Every now and then, a book comes along which changes the way in which we think about important subjects. This is such a book. The authors provide an important and compelling argument that the privatization of on-the-ground everyday security in states on the periphery of the global economic and diplomatic centers of power strengthens states at the same time that it refashions the bases of their authority. This is a book which goes beyond the facile generalizations and intellectual and cultural prejudices which surround some of the study of 'globalization' and particularly the study of private security in Africa. The theoretical framework and the empirical detail are both quite remarkable.' William Reno, Northwestern University

    'A major contribution to current understandings of the formation and operation of security assemblages in a global world. The authors draw from and build upon the latest conceptual and explanatory advances in criminological thinking, security studies and elsewhere in the social sciences. Their analysis of different kinds and levels of security auspices and providers, and their relations, is the most exciting I've seen to date. This book opens up new and extended lines of inquiry at both explanatory and normative levels.' Jennifer Wood, Temple University

    'This is an important new book on the globalisation of private security and its implications for politics and international relations theory. The authors start by questioning Weber's premise that the state maintains a monopoly on the legitimate use of force, as a result of globalisation … This is a theoretically and empirically rich book, with broad implications for international relations and globalisation theory. It is exceptionally well written and will be of interest to scholars of these fields and also African studies.' P. Ádraig Carmody, Journal of Modern African Studies

    '… provides rich empirical substance and food for thought to scholars from a variety of disciplines (evidenced by the substantial number of references to the authors' case studies by other scholars). This book is a very welcome addition to the growing, but limited, work on private security in Africa, and provides a new conceptual tool through which to engage with complex global and local security developments.' Julie Berg, African Affairs

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521764711
    • length: 280 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 156 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.68kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus. 2 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The untold story: the globalization of private security
    2. Late modernity and the rise of private security
    3. Power and governance: global assemblages and the security field
    4. Of oil and diamonds: global security assemblages in resource extraction
    5. Safer cities or cities of walls? The politics of urban global security assemblages
    6. Security, politics, and global assemblages.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Security Management/Internal Security
    • Seminar on Current Issues in Security
    • Seminar on Nonstate Actors in International Politics
  • Authors

    Rita Abrahamsen, University of Ottawa
    Rita Abrahamsen is Associate Professor in the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa. She has lectured and published widely on African politics, and is currently joint-editor of the journal African Affairs. She is the author of Disciplining Democracy: Development Discourse and Good Governance in Africa.

    Michael C. Williams, University of Ottawa
    Michael C. Williams is Professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. He is a widely-recognised scholar of international relations theory and security studies and the author of The Realist Tradition and the Limits of International Relations (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and Culture and Security: Symbolic Power and the Politics of International Security.

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