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Overt manifestations of insecurity, such as physical violence, are often treated by states as if they were self-generated or even irrational. Yet they can only be properly understood as the complex products of a combination of social determinations. Hence stretched social hierarchies tend to be significantly more prone to conflict, even violence, than more egalitarian societies.

openSecurity seeks to tease out these structural sources of insecurity. This perspective leads to a more rounded approach to policies to enhance security, including a portfolio of economic and social interventions, likely to be more effective than a one-club approach based on suppression of challenges by "security forces".

Spain: how a democratic country can silence its citizens

Spain, one of the European countries at the sharp end of imposed austerity measures, has also been in the vanguard of imposing restrictions on protest against them. Archive: originally published May 2014. Español

Dalit women and village justice in rural India

Enjoyment of the rule of law requires judicial institutions which act with impartiality. For Dalit women in India’s villages, fat chance.

Securitisation not the response to deaths at sea

The European Union has responded to the humanitarian crisis presented by refugee deaths in the Mediterranean—but only through the lens of border control.

South Africa’s new scapegoats

In the land that ended apartheid two decades ago, violence against other Africans has been on the rise. What has gone wrong and what is to be done?

Crisis in the Mediterranean: Europe must change course

As leaders of European Union member states prepare to meet to discuss the Mediterranean refugee crisis, the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights sets the bar for an adequate response.

What the EU must do now to halt this tragedy on its shores

There are answers to the Mediterranean migrant-deaths crisis. They just require the European Union, whose foreign ministers met yesterday, to grasp the political nettle.

Europe's war on migrants

The unending series of mass drownings in the Mediterranean of migrants and refugees are not unfortunate tragedies: they are the dread outworking of the occluding of humanitarian concern by the rhetoric of border control.

Grief and rage in India: making violence against women history?

There was uproar in India at the brutal gang rape of a 23 year old student on her way home from the cinema. Can we harness the international attention to this case to demand that the world's leaders commit themselves to a policy of zero tolerance of violence against women ?

Migrants in the Mediterranean: mourning deaths, not saving lives

For as long as the humanitarian impulse to rescue the desperate and the destitute is trumped by Europe’s focus on border control, the death toll will rise inexorably.

Precariat meets Proletariat—tackling labour-market insecurity

The zero-hours contract cleaner might symbolise the insecure netherworld of a global ‘race to the bottom’ in employment. But trade unions are finding ways to link precarious outsiders with more secure, organised workers.

After the demonstrations ...

The popular outpouring in France, taken with the climate marches in September with which it would not at first be bracketed, may be a harbinger of change.

Ebola and global health politics: an open letter

The human toll from the Ebola outbreak is all too evident. A more proactive global health policy is needed to avoid its repetition.

Rana Plaza: the bottom-up route to workers’ safety

The wellbeing of outsourced workers in emerging countries is often linked to western ethical consumption but the aftermath of Rana Plaza has shown that union power at source is key.

United Arab Emirates: public affluence, private abuse

Abu Dhabi can present a glitzy, oil-fuelled image to the world. But many female migrant domestic workers in the UAE face maltreatment in the privacy of their employer’s home.

The poverty of European migration policy

Policy on migration in Europe bears more relationship to ideology than evidence. And humanity is sorely lacking.

A year after Lampedusa: what has changed?

Twelve months ago, Europe’s conscience was pricked by the sight of the bodies of hundreds of migrants shipwrecked at Lampedusa. But the continued stigmatisation and criminalisation of migrants has allowed securitisation to prevail over protection.

It's the morality, stupid!

Why do Britons want more policing, prisons and punishment? The political left need to incorporate morality into analysis and debate around crime.

Libya: the migrant trap

The discovery by the Italian navy of 30 bodies in a fishing boat at the weekend highlights the deadly trail of migrants from north Africa—for whom a chaotic Libya represent another hazardous transit point.

Twenty-first century protest: social media and surveillance

The internet is a two-edged sword—a vehicle for mass surveillance on the one hand and the organisation of civil-society protest on the other.

The realities of a daily trip to the jobcentre in a wheelchair

Film: a journey to the jobcentre reveals the near-Kafkaesque experience many have of the UK government's system of 'support' for jobseekers.

Trapped by borders, a global flotsam and jetsam

They arrive nameless and unnumbered by land or sea but ever-more unregulated migrants across the globe are falling victim to proliferating border-security regimes.

Brazil: a country of jangled nerves

As the World Cup opens, few Brazilians are heading for the beach to samba: behind the stereotype is a country which has accumulated a perfect storm of social and economic insecurities.

The Euro-sceptic Trojan horse: challenging the EU from within

Euro-sceptic political parties exploited public insecurity to make gains in the elections to the European Parliament but pro-Europeans should engage with the ‘Euro-critics’ rather than defensively shunning dissent.

Not polished enough! Have Swedes had enough of the far right?

In an increasingly unequal Sweden, the far right has been able to capitalise on growing insecurity for its xenophobic ends—but it faces strong public resistance as Swedes go to the Euro-polls

Building the blacklist: police spies and trade unionists

In 2009 a UK construction industry blacklist, administered by a private company holding files on thousands of people, was busted. Evidence is now emerging of police involvement, bringing yet another layer to the scandal of police spies and state surveillance.

Nightmare politics

As the European election looms, far-right parties are seeking to exploit the fears of the losers of globalisation to spur the politics of division.

Outside the jobcentre: talking with jobseekers

Interviews with unemployed and underemployed people reveal the exacting impact of dealing with jobcentres and workfare programmes. The UK government's new 'Help to Work' scheme, with daily jobcentre visits, compulsory workfare and sanctions, looks set to do anything but 'help' jobseekers.

The 'equality economy': tackling labour-market insecurity in Europe

While since '9/11' a militarised conception of security has dominated the world, the global economic crisis has seen insecurity in the labour market mushroom. Marking international workers' day, could Europe lead the way to a more secure 'equality economy'?

Rana Plaza: the struggle continues

A year after the huge loss of mainly-female Bangladeshi garment workers’ lives at Rana Plaza, unions are still fighting for compensation for the victims, safety at work and a living wage

Boko Haram: time for an alternative approach

Military responses to Boko Haram have proved ineffective, as the latest atrocities in Nigeria highlight. An alternative focused on good governance, policing and socio-economic development, supported by the international community, would be much more likely to succeed.

Striking behaviour: Chinese workers discover a weapon against labour-market turmoil

In theory, workers in China are promised security through official trade union representation and the rule of the Communist Party. In practice, confronted with the endless churning of a globalised labour market, they are increasingly voting with their feet.

Back to basics for Colombia's rebels

As on-going peace talks in Havana address narco-trafficking amidst Colombia's continued economic growth, remnants of the FARC are more likely to turn to what were once the very seeds of the rebel movements: social banditry. 

India and Pakistan: time to call time on proxy wars

India and Pakistan’s zero-sum game is hindering development and the proxy wars in which the two states have indulged need to come to an end. If they do, big dividends would follow.

Françafrique and Africa’s security

Crises in Francophone Africa, as in Mali and the Central African Republic, cannot be solved by military action by the former colonial power. Root causes must be tackled, engaging civil-society actors, with the African Union playing a leading role in partnership with the European Union.

Memo to Brazil: in the post-2015 development agenda, advocate for peace

Brazil should consider brokering a broader conversation on development that includes peacebuilding at its heart. At the same time, its diplomats can constructively challenge the creeping securitization of development.

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