1 Section for Anthropology and Ethnography, Faculty of Humanities, Aarhus University, Aarhus University2 Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences - Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research, Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences - Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research, Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
Security is both in academic and popular discourses often depicted as the opposition to violence, fear of violence and insecurity in general. In this paper I intent to focus on the politics of as well as the social implications of security governance - that is governing and surveillance practices directed at promoting peace and restoring the feel good factor - in public city space in Denmark. What precisely "security" is, what it should mean, and what should be done to guarantee it, has always been contested on an empirically level. The reason for this is that security often deals with social order, being both the ontological condition of order, in the sense of absence of "real" and culturally constructed dangers, risks, and anxieties, and the political means to ensure this order. Based on a 5 month ethnographic field work among private security guards policing new kinds of public city spaces in Denmark I explore how local non-state notions of ´safety´, ´insecurity´, and ´intimidating categories of persons´ are central to and embodied in security guards surveillance and governing practices. In the first part I outline recent empirical changes in the field of security provision - most noteworthy the globalisation and privatisation/commercialisation of security provision and how this development can be explained. Drawing on my own empirical data I hereafter argue that commercial security governance and local understandings of threats to (feelings of) security are not so much shaped by imaginaries originating in the state as they are related to commercial imperatives and local-level demarcation of presumed affluent and flawed consumers. In the last part I discuss how commercial security governance has significant local-level implications for conceptions of citizenship in an urban context, and how this might cause academics to rethink the both the concepts of citizenship as well as that of sovereignty.