Activities and outputs

Here you can find highlights from our public engagements and publications resulting from this project

Ecology of Security Workshop: Oxford Centre for Criminology 9th June 2023

10 Jun 2023

Thinking differently about everyday security: A one day workshop exploring the theoretical and practical implications of researching crime and in/security in relation to the environment

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Security, it is commonly said, flows from people’s trust in an environment in which the routines and projects of everyday life can reliably ‘go on’. Today, we inhabit a world in which those ‘safe operating environments’ are being disrupted, even threatened, by political, technological and ecological change. Against that backdrop, we aim in this workshop to address the following questions: in what kinds of environments is it possible for differently situated individuals and groups to build and sustain passably secure lives? What relations exist between people’s experience and perception of local urban environments (streets, neighbourhoods, towns, cities) and wider questions pertaining to the condition and futures of the planet? How can our thinking about security be attuned to the ‘interplay between humans, landscapes, and the nonhuman’ (Harrington and Shearing 2017: 59)? Does the investigation and theorization of security questions need to supplement (or replace) standard considerations focused on insiders/outsiders and protection against ‘others’, with attention to questions of (urban) care, repair and maintenance? Do safer (urban) environments need also to be ‘better’, more habitable, environments?

The workshop aims to bring the long-standing preoccupations of ‘environmental’ criminology (traditionally understood) with question of disorder, incivility, neighbourhood cohesion/change, policing and urban governance into conversation with more recent work on urban atmospheres, sensory criminology and green criminology, with a view to opening up new ways thinking about the relation of in/security to the ‘environment’.

Workshop contributions

The (new) ecology of security: Tribulations of sustainable security in an English town Evi Girling (Keele), Sergen Bacheci (Oxford), Ben Bradford (UCL), Ian Loader (Oxford) and Richard Sparks (Edinburgh)

Drawing on our current revisiting of an old research site, Macclesfield in Cheshire, this paper reflects on shifts in the local meanings of in/security since the mid-1990s. In revisiting the town, we discover a set of everyday troubles (littering, dog poo, the tribulations of parks and other valued public spaces) that appear to call forth established forms of environmental criminology (the ‘broken windows’ thesis; theories of ‘defensible space’ in urban design). But we have also encountered security concerns that attach themselves to new objects that are often described as environmental (pollution, flooding, and other local indicators of climate crisis). In this paper, we argue that both these ‘new’ and ‘old’ forms of environmental trouble are signs of a greening of security wherein problems such as street-drinking, litter, badly parked cars, flooding etc. matter because they are entangled with people’s sense of the liveability and sustainability of the places in which they strive to make meaningful lives. Discourse about ‘fear’ and ‘crime’ tend to be about moral boundary-drawing, defining place with reference to hostile ‘outsiders’, and defending these places from incursion. The new ecology of security shifts this orientation to protecting place in important respects. One is that concern for place is translated into practices of active caring, wherein questions of vulnerability, precarity, solidarity, resilience, and sustainability come to the fore. The second is greater consciousness of how ‘we’ (the insiders) have come become agents of our own peril - implicated in producing the security problems with which we are concerned.

Normalised crises, sense-making and everyday security governance, Julie Berg (Glasgow) and Clifford Shearing (Cape Town)
Reimagining security through redefining incivility, liveability and legitimate urban governance, Nina Persak (Llubjana) and Anna Di Ronco (Essex)

Ecologies of crime and policing Jon Bannister (Manchester Met)

Environments of vulnerability: landscape, weather, light and darkness in remote island policing Anna Souhami (Edinburgh)

Professor Ian Loader at the The Police Foundation Annual Conference 2019

26 Nov 2019

The Police Foundation Annual Conference 2019, 'Policing and the public: Engaging communities in changing times', London, 26 November 2019.

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Professor Ian Loader addressed the Annual Conference audience with his talk, titled "Whatever happened to the 'fear of crime’? Everyday in/security in turbulent times", where he outlined the intellectual journey between the past and the present research projects on sense and practice of in/security in everyday life in Macclesfield. The rationale behind our research puzzle 25 years after.