The Securitization of Society

Crime, Risk, and Social Order

368 pages

November, 2017

ISBN: 9781479876594



Add to Cart Available: 10/1/2017

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Marc Schuilenburg is Assistant Professor at the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology, at VU University Amsterdam. In 2014 he was awarded the triennial Willem Nagel Prize by the Dutch Society of Criminology for his book Orde in veiligheid: Een dynamisch perspectief (Order in Security: A Dynamic Perspective).

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David Garland is Professor of Sociology and Law at New York University. He is the author of Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition.

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A new critical perspective for examining the dynamic nature of security and its governance 

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. 

Rooted in the works of the French philosophers Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Gabriel Tarde, The Securitization of Society 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. Marc 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 Society reveals how security is understood and enacted in urban environments today. 


  • "The Securitization of Society delivers a series of insights—about the dynamic and unstable elements of the security world, about the difficulties of inter-agency action, about the fragility of even the most powerful security assemblages—that, having now been stated, will quickly become our new common sense."

    —David Garland, from the Introduction

  • The Securitization of Society is a thoughtful and provocative work that announces Marc Schuilenburg as an insightful, and much-needed, new theoretical voice in the study of security. If you want to make sense of the myriad systems of surveillance and hybrid public-private security assemblages that dominate today’s urban landscape, this is a must-read.”

    —Keith Hayward, co-author of Cultural Criminology: An Invitation

  • “Schuilenburg has brilliantly charted the slips that occur twixt the cup of security theory and the lip of day-to-day life. Combining insights from classic and contemporary social theory with the fruits of ethnographic exploration, he shows that things are never as simple as they seem. Legal scholars long ago realized the need to study both law in theory and law in action. Schuilenburg has laid the foundations for understanding securitization in action.”

    —Michael Tonry, author of Punishing Race: A Continuing American Dilemma

  • "Marc Schuilenburg’s book, The Securitization of Society, represents an important intervention in recent academic attempts to pin down the slippery phenomenon of security...[The book reflects] Schuilenburg's breathtaking command of a wide variety of conceptual resources, his own considerable, theoretical creativity, as well as the account of his well-crafted empirical work. It is a great pleasure to read a brilliant, philosophically expert mind at work."

    Theoretical Sociology

  • "A major contribution to the growing literature on ‘hybrid’ security . . . anchor[s] empirical research in some substantive theoretical footing."

    Human Rights Review