The promise of the traditional liberal state was to preserve the liberal order inside, while the realm of the outside was thought to be condemned to be dominated by resolutely illiberal state practices. What was normal within the national state borders was exceptional outside and vice versa. The police was to preserve civil peace inside, while the military waged war outside.
However, we are today witnessing a merging, a de-differentiation of the internal and the external. The difference between the liberal and the illiberal, the norm and the exception, is not longer fixed by state borders. The limits between the internal and the external are moving. How can contemporary security dynamics be analysed in this context? Are the defining features of the traditional field of internal security being projected beyond national state borders through international police-missions? Are we on the contrary witnessing, through the »global war on terror», a resurgence within national boundaries of practices generally thought to be confined to the traditional field of external security? In other words, the question of the illiberal practices of liberal regimes lies at the core of the contemporary transformations of the field of security.
In this book, the researchers of the Centre dEtudes sur les Conflits – revue Cultures & Conflits (Centre for the Study of Conflicts, Paris) analyse the diverse aspects of contemporary security dynamics. They approach the transnational practices of securitisation through their national, European, Transatlantic and international dimensions. Contemporary security practices are here analysed through a very diverse and heterogeneous set of actors: police-forces, intelligence services, the media, politicians as well as the military. The authors focus both on the social practices, the discourses and the institutions involved. However, as is shown throughout this book, the relations interlinking the latter are inseparable from the development of both a transnational field of professionals of politics and of professionals of (in)security. Through these fields, counterterrorism is assimilated into the weft and warp of contemporary politics. These developments challenge our understanding of the liberal state and shed new light on the illiberal practices of liberal regimes.
This book presents some of the contributions of the French Team of the European Commission-funded Challenge project (6th Framework Programme) examining the implication of new security practices for civil liberties, human rights and social cohesion within an enlarged Europe. This book is therefore also the result of an ongoing political and intellectual European-wide debate. It is the first of a series of books that will be proposed in English (as well as in other languages) by the Centre dEtudes sur les Conflits through its new collection (Collection Cultures & Conflits). The hope is that this collection will further facilitate intellectual exchange between the French-speaking world and the Anglo-Saxon world