Criminology: Reimagining Security
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Criminology’s most fundamental topic has long been security, understood in Hobbesian terms (Hobbes 1651/1968, 185–186) as interpersonal safety – with the embedded implication of freedom from the fear of interpersonal harms – and the peaceful coexistence that this enables.1 While the meaning of “security” has varied considerably over time and across disciplines (see the papers in this volume), this core meaning of interpersonal safety and peaceful coexistence, which has recently been the focus of the “new” “human security” (United Nations 1994; Wood and Shearing 2007), has been remarkably consistent within criminology, though, as we will see, the term “security” has not been as prominent as it has been within other areas of inquiry, such as international relations. Historically, criminology has explored security by focusing its attention on what one might think of as “hitting and taking” harms, typically thought of as “crimes,” that threaten peaceful coexistence along with the governance processes, particularly criminal justice, that have been developed to respond to them. This focus has ensured that individuals have long been at the center of criminological analyses of security. Criminology’s crime focus has meant that, while a concern with security, understood as safety, has long been central to criminology, it has been the term “crime,” rather than “security,” that has held pride of place on the criminological stage, as the term “criminology” itself makes clear.
Security: Dialogue Across Disciplines
Criminology not elsewhere classified