Civilizing Security

Civilizing Security

Security has become a defining feature of contemporary public discourse, permeating the so-called 'war on terror', problems of everyday crime and disorder, the reconstruction of 'weak' or 'failed' states and the dramatic renaissance of the private security industry. But what does it mean for individuals to be secure, and what is the relationship between security and the practices of the modern state? In this timely and important book, Ian Loader and Neil Walker outline and defend the view that security remains a valuable public good. They argue that the state is indispensable to the task of fostering and sustaining liveable political communities in the contemporary world and thus pivotal to the project of civilizing security. This is a major contribution by two leading scholars in the field and will be of interest to anyone wishing to deepen their understanding of one the most significant and pressing issues of our times.


"Loader and Walker have well deserved reputations as being amongst the most thoughtful contemporary scholar writers on policing and security and this book will further enhance that standing. Given the current preoccupation with security, the need for a 'thickening' of the notion beyond the familiar coercive versus civil liberties frameworks could not be more pressing. Loader and Walker deftly unpick the complexities of the relationship between security and different understandings of the state and its functions. They also propose the development of a more rounded concept of security as a 'public good' and spell out in particular how what they term 'anchored pluralism' may contribute to a more grounded and progressive understanding of the term at the national and international level. An important and timely book which should be read will beyond the borders of criminology." -Professor Kieran McEvoy, Director, Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Queens University Belfast.

"'Civilizing Security' addresses one of the central problems of our time with the seriousness and imagination it deserves. In this well researched, wide-ranging study, Loader and Walker deepen our understanding of the meaning and sources of 'security'; rethink the state's role in its provision and governance; and develop an important argument about security's potential for building democratic political community." -David Garland, New York University School of Law

"A welcome attempt to offer a theory of security that avoids and critiques both those who urge security at any cost, and those who want security at no cost. Both camps make the mistake of treating security and democracy as at odds with each other, with the first seeing security as justifying the curtailment of democracy, and the second fearing that democracy fuels the demand for security at the expense of individual liberty. By contrast, Loader and Walker see security as a public good that democracy plays a key role in promoting and taming. A civilised and innovative approach to a topic that has been all too often understood in a crude and barbaric manner." -Richard Bellamy Professor of Political Science, UCL

'This is a fascinating book, one that should give generations of readers much to think about. There is no better way to encapsulate the authors' achievement than to recall the words of George Bernard Shaw: 'Some look at things that are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask 'why not'?' This book is utopian social science at its very best. The authors are to be congratulated for their heroic contribution. Now the challenge is to make it happen.' British Journal of Criminology

'…Civilizing Security does contain many interesting ideas. The central argument is refreshing and the central aim of transcending contemporary debates - which regard liberty and security as necessarily in conflict - is both timely and important.' Justice Journal

'With such impressive authors, it is not surprising that this heavyweight academic text provides a challenging and innovative approach to its subject.' Prison Service Journal