Oct 22, 2015: Plural Security in the City Seminar

Upcoming Event

October 22, 2015: Plural Security and the City Seminar

On Thursday, October 22, the University of Amsterdam, the Conflict Research Unit of Clingendael Institute and the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law are organizing a knowledge event: Plural Security in the City, to be held at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

For registration, please refer to the event’s webpage


In rapidly growing cities across the Global South, an array of coercive actors offer urban populations a form of order, and in some cases act as the primary provider of local security. While some non-state actors are characterized by a level of local legitimacy, effectiveness and accessibility that exceeds state security institutions, most are unlikely to deliver long-term positive security outcomes for citizens. Local government remains an important instrument for advancing security as a public good. It is closer to citizens, more inclined toward non-coercive policy responses to insecurity, and benefits from economies of scale in achieving collective action and resource mobilization. For these reasons, the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the Conflict Research Unit of Clingendael, and the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law (‘the Platform’) and will host a knowledge event on the potential for constructive engagement of plural security provision at the city level.


The knowledge event will offer academics, practitioners and policy makers a platform to present and discuss empirical cases of plural security provision at the city level, raising the visibility of the topic as a key issue for security in the 21st century. By provoking debate and allowing for divergence, the event will explore the current frontier of knowledge and practice on plural security provision in the city.

Confirmed contributions

Etannibi Alemika | Criminology and Sociology of Law, University of Jos
Alice Hills | School of Government and International Affairs, Durham University
Bruce Baker | Faculty of Business, Environment and Society, Coventry University
Juan Salgado | Center for Research and Teaching in Economics, Mexico
Gregory Sloane-Seale | Program Coordinator Citizens Security Program, Trinidad & Tobago Ministry of National Security

Preliminary program

The day will consist of two sessions, bookended by keynote presentations.  The opening panel will present empirical examples of plural security provision, followed by a moderated discussion to animate debate. The afternoon session focusing on policy implications will utilize an open, interactive format enabling participants to engage directly.


The University of Amsterdam’s SECURCIT research group is based in the Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies and the program group Governance and Inclusive Development. SECURCIT’s research, funded by the European Research Council and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, studies how citizenship is being reconfigured through hybrid forms of security governance, focusing on public-private ‘security assemblages’.

The Conflict Research Unit (CRU) is a specialized team within the Clingendael Institute, based in the Hague. CRU directs its efforts toward conducting applied, policy-oriented research and developing practical tools that assist national and multilateral governmental and non-governmental organizations in their engagement in fragile and conflict-affected situations.

The Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law (the Platform) is an initiative of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It convenes an international network of the most qualified practitioners, policy-makers, academics and private sector representative in discussing issues of security and rule of law in fragile and conflict affected states. It promotes knowledge exchange and identifies, defines and answers pressing research questions with the aim of underpinning Dutch development policy and its implementation; thereby contributing to its effectiveness. The Secretariat of the Platform is run jointly by The Hague Institute for Global Justice and the Conflict Research Unit.

“Twilight Policing”: New Article in the British Journal of Criminology, by Tessa Diphoorn

In a new article, published by the British Journal of Criminology, SECURCIT post-doctoral researcher Tessa Diphoorn introduces the concept of twilight policing, “which refers to punitive, disciplinary and exclusionary policing practices that simultaneously undermine and support the state, resulting in actions that are neither public nor private, but ‘twilight’.”. Based on twenty months of ethnographic fieldwork on armed response officers in Durban, South Africa, her article takes an on-the-ground approach to ‘twilight’ policing performances – a shift from the top-down, organizational approach that characterizes most studies on plural security provision.

The full text can be found here.

Jan 19-20, 2015: Security at Large: Violent Exchanges and Citizenship Beyond the State

In cities across the world, security has become one of the most prominent concerns in people’s everyday lives. In an increasingly pluralized landscape of security, people rely on a broad range of security providers. In addition to public security forces such as the police and the military, non-state actors such as private security companies, neighborhood watches and armed vigilantes also play an important role in protect urban residents’ lives and property.

As the provision of security is privatized, pluralized and globalized, new forms of governance and political subjectivity emerge, and differentiations of citizenship are reproduced and reconfigure.

The workshop focused on the role that security providers – actors characterized by their capacity for violent enforcement – play in new configurations of governance and citizenship. There was particular interest in ethnographic studies of the security encounters between security ‘providers’, ‘clients’ and ‘threats’, and how these enable a relational understanding of citizenship and governance.

In such encounters between policing authorities and urban residents, ‘violent exchanges’ – transactions involving violence and money – may become central in negotiating relationships of rule and belonging, of rights and responsibilities. How is power negotiated in such encounters and exchanges, and what relationships of reciprocity do they enable?


During this two-day workshop, speakers presented on these issues, drawing on cases from across the world. In addition to presenting empirical cases, they reflected on the analytical purchase of concepts such as assemblages and hybridity in theorizing forms of rule that blur public-private distinctions.

Speakers included: Finn Stepputat (DIIS), Rita Abrahamsen (Ottawa), Michael Williams (Ottawa), Steffen Jensen (Dignity Institute), among others. Click here for the full programme.


This workshop was organised by SECURCIT/University of Amsterdam and DIGNITY Danish Institute against Torture.

Rivke Jaffe selected for the Young Academy

The Young Academy selects ten new talented researchers annually for a period of 5 years. The academy is a dynamic and innovative group of top young scientists and scholars with outspoken views about science and scholarship and related policies.

The Young Academy organises activities for various target groups focusing on interdisciplinarity, science policy, and the interface between science and society. Its members represent a broad spectrum of scientific and scholarly disciplines and work at Dutch universities and a wide range of research institutes.

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences decided to set up the Young Academy in 2005. The Young Academy operates independently within the Royal Academy. It has its own working plan, organises its own events and is responsible for its own viewpoints.

The official induction of the new members will take place 26 March 2015 at the Trippenhuis of KNAW.