Democratizing Security in Turbulent Times

  • How is security provided in turbulent times and how does this affect the relationship between democracy and security? The proposed research training group examines fundamental reconfigurations of the relationship between security and democracy against the backdrop of growing political and societal polarisation, the advent of new digital technologies and the rescaling of security to arenas below and beyond the state.
    Landesforschungsförderung Hamburg, 2021-2023


    Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach

    Lead Research Fellow / General Editor GIGA Focus Editor GIGA Focus Global

    Research Questions

    "Democratizing Security in Turbulent Times" is a collaborative research training group of four Hamburg institutions. It analyses the possibilities and challenges of democratising security in three interconnected research perspectives: ‘rescaling’, ‘reimagining’ and ‘redesigning’ democratic security.

    Contribution to International Research

    Security is a crucial promise and fundamental value of democratic societies, where we expect principles of accountability, participation, transparency and inclusivity to guide the conduct of political institutions (Dahl 1989: 222). Yet in today’s turbulent times, established relationships between security and democracy are being reconfigured. The proposed research training group examines these fundamental reconfigurations along three distinct research perspectives: reordering, reimagining and redesigning (democratic) security. We investigate the different and at times contradictory ways in which democratic forms of governing security are changing. We ask how the relationship between security and democracy is re-configured under the current challenging conditions.

    Research Design and Methods

    The research training group combines an interdisciplinary approach with disciplinary academic qualification. It builds on, and further develops, a strong inter‐institutional collaborative network of security scholars in Hamburg.


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