The Programme

‘Security in Transition’ (SIT) is a 5-year-research programme at the London School of Economics (LSE), funded by the European Research Council (ERC). The principle grant holder is Professor Mary Kaldor

The starting point of this research programme is the assumption that the world is in the midst of a profound change in the way that security is conceptualised and practised. Up until 1989, security was largely viewed either as ‘internal security’ or as ‘national’ or ‘bloc’ security and the main instruments of security were considered to be the police, the intelligence services and the military. This traditional view of security fits uneasily with the far-reaching changes in social and political organisation that characterise the world at the beginning of the twenty first century. What we call the ‘security gap’ refers to the gap between our national and international security capabilities, largely based on conventional military forces, and the reality of the everyday experience of insecurity in different parts of the world.

To some extent, public security capabilities are beginning to adapt to the changing nature of insecurity – with new doctrines or new military-civilian capabilities. But it is also the case that the gap is being filled by private agents – warlords, militias, private security companies, NGOs, for example – and, even though some new forms of hybrid security provision may improve people’s lives at least temporarily, this new market in security may have dangerous implications.

The main aim of our research programme is to conceptualise and empirically grasp the security gap both as a (perceived) reality and as a social mechanism within global politics.

The ‘Security in Transition’-programme is divided into five distinct research fields, called ‘Culture/s’, ‘Geographies’, ‘Indicators’, ‘Rules’ and ‘Tools’ (see more on the right).