Encyclopedia of Security and Emergency Management

Living Edition
| Editors: Lauren R. Shapiro, Marie-Helen Maras

Security: Concepts and Definitions

  • Clarissa Meerts
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69891-5_94-1

Definition

The measures taken to prevent, or respond to, criminal behavior.

Introduction

The concept of security literally refers to “a state of being free from danger or threat” (Oxford Dictionary). This is a very broad definition, and the word security is therefore used in different ways in different contexts. It may refer to a state of being free from many kinds of dangers and threats (e.g., war, unemployment, illness, or accidents). Some commentators have identified the fact that when security is used in this broad way, what is actually meant is insecurity (see, e.g., Schuilenburg and Van Steden 2014). In this context, it is important to point out the difference between “security from” (shielding from harm) and “security to” (enabling people to pursue their goals) (Crawford and Hutchinson 2016).

Security as a Contested Concept

Security as a concept is highly contested: there seems to be little agreement over its meaning (Crawford and Hutchinson 2016). Contributing to this...

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References

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Further Reading

  1. Beck, U. (1992). Risk society: Towards a new modernity. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Garland, D. (2001). The culture of control; Crime and social order in contemporary society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  3. Schuilenburg, M. (2015). The securitization of society. Crime, risk, and social order. New York: New York University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Wood, J., & Dupont, B. (Eds.). Democracy, society and the governance of security. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Wood, J., & Shearing, C. (2007). Imagining security. Devon: Willan Publishing.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of law, Department of Criminal Justice and CriminologyVrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamNetherlands