‘Posthuman security’ should here not be understood in distinction from ‘post-human security’. It is not a question here of marking or describing the end or the aftermath of some historical era in which ‘human security’ in its conventional use would no longer play a roll. It’s not because such a claim could not—or should not—be made. Indeed, there are indeed many voices that claim that such a need is at hand, and that just such a historical analysis would be of considerable service. If we were to attempt such a post-mortem reconstruction, we might begin with the early inspirations in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Charter, the Cold War shutting-down of the concept of ‘security’, the ‘discovery’ of the subaltern, and the new institutional challenges faced in crisis response and development work. We would surely include the break-through 1994 Human Development Report (UNDP, 1994), the creation of the Human Security section at the United Nations, the intellectual triumph, and practical ambivalence of the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect. Instead, the aim of this article, is to ask the question of ‘the human’, whose security it is human security’s ambition to advance and preserve. New research and new reflexion—by anthropologists, psychologists, philosophers and others suggests that the humanity of humans is, as with most phenomena, finite, that the definition or concept that regulates it has limits, that these limits have become more tangible, and that, as a consequence, a new look at ‘human security’ is warranted.
Surveillance, Privacy and Security: Citizens’ Perspectives, J. Peter Burgess, Michael Friedewald, Johann Čas, Rocco Bellanova and Walter Peissl, (eds)
This volume examines the relationship between privacy, surveillance and security, and the alleged privacy–security trade-off, focusing on the citizen’s perspective. Recent revelations of mass surveillance programmes clearly demonstrate the ever-increasing capabilities of surveillance technologies. The lack of serious reactions to these activities shows that the political will to implement them appears to be an unbroken trend. The resulting move into a surveillance society is, however, contested for many reasons.
Are the resulting infringements of privacy and other human rights compatible with democratic societies? Is security necessarily depending on surveillance? Are there alternative ways to frame security? Is it possible to gain in security by giving up civil liberties, or is it even necessary to do so, and do citizens adopt this trade-off? This volume contributes to a better and deeper understanding of the relation between privacy, surveillance and security, comprising in-depth investigations and studies of the common narrative that more security can only come at the expense of sacrifice of privacy. The book combines theoretical research with a wide range of empirical studies focusing on the citizen’s perspective. It presents empirical research exploring factors and criteria relevant for the assessment of surveillance technologies.
This article revisits the concept of sovereignty in political theory by applying tools adapted from Lacanian psychoanalytic theory. It critically reviews the premises of political subjected assumed by sovereignty, and formulates a widened concept of sovereignty based on a general understanding of the ‘self’, ‘self-relation’ and ‘identity’ as the fundamental components of sovereignty. With this concept in hand, the article then focuses on the concept of the ‘sovereign good’ common to French histories of political thought and of particular interest to Jacques Lacan in his 1959-60 seminar on the Ethics of Psychoanalysis and his 1963 article ‘Kant with Sade’. By reinterpreting the sovereignty of the sovereign good, Lacan points to a path according to which an idealised and universalised notion of the sovereign is made possible and energised through an identification of the ‘real’ with the sovereign good. By understanding sovereignty as supported by the Lacanian real, be can better understand both the forces that drive it to self-preservation and the insecurities that make its survival and longevity powerful hindrances to its dissolution