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Everyday security: privatized policing, local legitimacy and atmospheres of control

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This paper examines the tactics, underpinning logics and forms of legitimacy through which urban security is produced and maintained in a volatile urban environment. I argue that urban security relies on subtle, mundane practices, in addition to the use of force. Drawing on original empirical research carried out in inner-city Johannesburg, the article makes a novel contribution by combining literature from policing and security studies with work on gentrification, ambient power and the privatization of public space. Overall, the article aims to emphasize the ways in which social and spatial realities shape security and policing practices, and broaden our understanding of the rationales, logics and meanings of urban security, particularly in volatile, conflictual urban spaces (mostly, but not exclusively) in the Global South.
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Keywords: Private security; ambient power; domestication; everday life; policing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Gauteng City-Region and University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Publication date: January 2, 2019

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