Security in ambiguity: Towards a radical security politics

Willem De Lint, Sirpa Virta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this article we offer a reconceptualization of security that attempts to reconcile a post-critical and normative agenda. The article proceeds by unpacking features of the dominant security discourse and then resituating the question in a radical politics. We contend that moving forward on this question requires a rejection of the association between security, certainty and authority. Rather than following the classical realist view that security requires exceptions from politics, we choose to see security as dependent on political uncertainty. Borrowing from Hanninen’s idea that politics is ‘living with ambiguity’ and taking from post-Foucauldian thought against the violence of tyranny, we advocate the ongoing repoliticization of the security field informed by harm reduction. We offer ‘security in ambiguity’ as a conceptualization of this synthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCrime and Security
EditorsBenjamin Goold
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781351570732, 9781315095318
ISBN (Print)9780754626008
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • governmentality
  • policing
  • post-critical criminology
  • radical politics
  • security


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