4409079: FU_Security and the Economy of Fear. A View from the Social Sciences

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Semester:WS 17/18
Lektionen / Semester:28.0 L / 21.0 h
Selbststudium:159.0 h



Bachelorstudiengang Betriebswirtschaftslehre (01.09.2012)
Masterstudium Architektur (01.09.2014)
Bachelorstudium Architektur (01.09.2014)
Masterstudium Information Systems (01.09.2015)
Masterstudium Finance (01.09.2015)
Masterstudium Entrepreneurship (01.09.2015)


Among the multifarious transformation processes that can presently be observed worldwide, there is probably hardly any phenomenon that is as momentous as the one having to do with questions of 'security'. The so-called 'war against terrorism 'and the boundary-drawing reactions against refugee movements to Europe are just two examples for the increasing thematization of threat scenarios against which security measures are said to be necessary. Against the backdrop of readings of classical texts on 'cultures of fear', 'security' and 'surveillance', the course deals with a broad variety of empirical examples of security practices, in so doing, putting particular emphasis on what has been called 'securitization' - that is, acts which declare an issue to be a 'security issue', thus (allegedly) putting it outside of the political realm. Two of the topics that will also be dealt with extensively is (a) the commodification of security provision in the form of private security companies and (b) the spatial, technological and architectural aspects of security measures.


  • Knowledge of the topics, concepts and theories dealt with in the course
  • Competence in interpreting empirical data by using the theories introduced in the course
  • Competence in critically reflecting on and weighing up contrasting theoretical positions
  • Competence in developing and discussing social scientific lines of argumentation
  • Training in presenting the contents of social scientific texts to fellow students
  • Capacity to write scientific text on BSc and MA level



  • Lecture elements in combination with student presentations and text-based discussions within class


Abrahamsen, Rita & Michael C. Williams 2009. Security Beyond the State: Global Security Assemblages in International Politics. International Political Sociology 3: 1-17.

Bigo, Didier 2002. Security and Immigration: Toward a Critique of the Governmentality of Unease. Alternatives: Global, Local, Political 27: 63-92.

Boyle, Philip & Kevin D. Haggerty 2009. Spectacular Security: Mega-Events and the Security Complex. International Political Sociology 3: 257-274.

Despard, Erin 2012. Cultivating Security: Plants in the Urban Landscape. Space and Culture 15 (2): 151-163.

Goldstein, Daniel M. 2010. Toward a Critical Anthropology of Security. Current Anthropology 51 (4): 487-517.

Goold, Benjamin, Ian Loader & Angelica Thumala 2010 Consuming security? Tools for a sociology of security consumption Theoretical Criminology 14 (1): 3-30

Kirsch, Thomas G. 2016. On the difficulties of speaking out against security. Anthropology Today 32 (5): 5-7.

Lakoff, Andrew & Stephen Collier (eds) 2008. Biosecurity Interventions: Global Health and Security in Question. New York: Columbia University Press.

Linke, Uli & Smith Danielle Taana (eds) 2009. Cultures of Fear. New York: Pluto Press.

Low, Setha 2003. Behind the Gates: Life, Security, and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America: The New American Dream. Routledge Chapman & Hall.

Masco, Joseph 2002 Lie Detectors: On Secrets and Hypersecurity in Los Alamos. Public Culture 14 (3): 441-467.


Part A: Participation in discussions and in one group presentation (50%)
Part B: Mid-term essay of 1000 words (50%)

Compulsory attendance (min. 80%)


Passed / Failed

  • Course based on continuous assessment, details see under "assessment".
  • Meeting attendance obligations and active participation are an essential pre-requisite for successfully completing a course based on continuous assessment.
  • Attendance must be proven for at least 80% of the stipulated contact time. Responsibility for checking and providing written proof of this obligatory attendance lies with the course lecturer who is required to store this information at least until the end of the semester.
  • In the case of absenteeism that exceeds the specified limits of absence, a medical certificate is required. Responsibility lies with the head of the Coordination Office for Cross-Faculty Elective Subjects to approve the reason for the student's failure to attend.
  • Participation in other activities of the university are not recognized as an excused absence.


15.09.201716:30 - 19:45S8
29.09.201716:30 - 19:45S8
30.09.201710:00 - 14:00S8
27.10.201716:30 - 19:45S8
10.11.201716:30 - 19:45S8
25.11.201710:00 - 14:00H5 (Fabrikweg)
15.12.201716:30 - 19:45S8