Vækst i markedet for privat sikkerhed og transformation af statens autoritet over borgerens sikkerhed

Eva Fiil Nielsen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

This master thesis focuses on how growth in the private security sector silently transforms power structures and re-distributes police/state authority between agents within the security field. Agents use the public/private distinction in order to legitimize their positions and actions and thus cover up the actual power structures of the field. In order to grasp this transformation and realize the mechanisms by which it produces formal positions and structures, a case study from Kolding in Denmark is analysed in depth. The case constitutes of a citizen who hires a private Security Company to patrol his neighbourhood as a result of numerous burglaries and even though this is formally illegal, the police chief responsible approves. The security company on the other hand is reluctant to take on the assignment, since it considers it to be a job for the police. The reference point of the theoretical framework is Bourdieu’s field analysis and the connected concepts of field, habitus and capital. Furthermore his concept of authority as a form of symbolic power is used to focus on what is being transformed. This provides the necessary toolbox for identifying the transformation and how the involved agents negotiate it. An addition is made to Bourdieu’s theoretical framework with the concept of hybrids between state and market as a way to expose the actual power structures in practice and thus re-politicising the case. The main question of this thesis is how authority as a symbolic power is re-distributed and negotiated between the police, citizen and security company in the case? As well as what characteristics in society influence the framework of the negotiation and finally how can power relations become visible by observing the agents as public/private hybrids and thus re-politicise the development? This thesis finds that power relations are formally intact providing the police with the main authority to patrol as a part of securing private property. In practise this position is challenged when the citizen chooses not to include the police as a partner and instead hires the security company. Overall this results in a loss of authority for the police and a gain in authority for the relation between the citizen and the security company. This is a result of the police withdrawing their resources from this assignment and instead primarily focuses on counselling and partnerships as a way of securing private property. All agents use a general characteristic from society to de-politicise the situation namely the neo-liberalistic distinction between public and private. In fact the distinction is not valid for explaining the agents positions since in the case the police/state and security company are actually positioning themselves as hybrids between state and market. Exposing them as hybrids is a contribution to re-politicising the situation and thus making it available for debate.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2012
Number of pages141