Pluralized Narratives of Security: Descriptive Insights from the Private Industry

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Feeling (un)safe in public spaces depends upon numerous factors which exceed fear of crime and violence. Population growth, urbanization, technological developments, economic and political stability are only a few of the elements that influence our perception of public safety. How safe we feel is a complex question, and the answer depends on multiple factors, including which entity must carry out the task of delivering public safety. One could argue that the state needs to ensure that this goal is fulfilled. However, both state and non-state actors address public safety challenges. The private sector assists public bodies, even substantially, in guaranteeing protection of people. Considering the diverse range of actors involved in conceptualizing security, in this chapter we offer an outlook of how public safety can better be understood in light of the narrative of the private industry. In particular, we delve into the public–private sector interplay for delivering safety solutions through a content analysis of private companies’ web marketing efforts. Here, we posit that the notion of public safety is shaped by narratives from involved and invested actors. Hence, led by the main research question of how the private industry frames the idea of security, we explore content and discourses that exemplify this framing. We find that the private security narrative can be characterized by three main aspects, namely (a) describing a disruptive future, (b) stressing the need for an efficient public sector, and (c) offering to be trusted partners. We argue that for a fair and transparent joint quadruple helix (Schütz et al. She Ji J Des Econ Innovat 5(2):128–146, 2019) approach between public sector, private sector, academia, and civil society the role and impact of the private sector narratives on approaches and solutions to public safety needs to be well understood and reflected upon by all involved stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPlural Policing in the Global North: Insights into Concepts, Aspects and Practices
Subtitle of host publicationInsights into Concepts, Aspects and Practices
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-16273-2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022.

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