Handbook of Governance and Security
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Handbook of Governance and Security

Edited by James Sperling

The Handbook of Governance and Security examines the conceptual evolution of security governance and the different manifestations of regional security governance. In particular, James Sperling brings together unique contributions from leading scholars to explore the role of institutions that have emerged as critical suppliers of security governance and the ever-widening set of security issues that can be viewed profitably through a governance lens.
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Chapter 2: Security governance

Mark Webber


Governance and security are concepts central to the practice of politics and, by extension, to how politics is studied. Both have given rise to vast literatures and it is commonplace in any survey of that huge body of work to note the elasticity of meaning that each attracts. It would seem a fool’s errand in that light to couple together two already overworked concepts in service of a third. Yet over the past two decades the notion of ‘security governance’ has increasingly found its way into the academic and policy lexicon. The rise of security governance mirrors broader shifts in how its constituent parts – governance and security – have developed. Governance can be considered ‘a signifier of change’ (Levi-Faur 2012: 7), a multifaceted response to the rapid and profound alterations in the environment of politics that have given rise to new processes, conditions and methods of governing (Rhodes 2012: 33). These changes have been especially far-reaching at the international and global levels as evidenced by: an upsurge of ‘benchmark’ events such as the opening up of China, the end of the Cold War, the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, the 2008 financial crash and the 2011 ‘Arab Spring’ (Buzan and Lawson 2012); an acceleration of processes of globalization (and with it a deepening of interdependence and complexity); a proliferation of actors and stakeholders in global change beyond the nation-state (Rosenau 1997: 7; Kacowicz 2012: 687).

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