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Commercial Security Practices

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This entry gives an overview of the debate about private security. It can not pretend to cover everything in equal detail. It is geared to highlight the parts of the discussion about commercial security practices that are of most immediate interest to New Security Studies. Very succinctly put, the entry shows the pertinence of the emerging research agenda where commercial security practices are part of a broader analysis of evolving insecurities, of (in)security spaces and of everyday practices, insisting on the scope for further developments with regard to these issues (section 2). The entry also suggests that the although the more conventional literature on the subject—mostly framed in terms of privatization—has made valuable contributions to the debates about commercial security, it has limited analytical clout for analyzing the politics of commercial security. Worse it sometimes obscures it (section 1). It is therefore not surprising that commercialization is currently tending to replace privatization as the vantage point from which analysis is taking place.

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Anna Leander

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