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Research

Activities

Centre for Research on Security Practices (CRSP) activities include:

  • Hosting research collaborations and national and international guest speakers and visiting scholars.
  • Developing and engaging in local, national, and international research networks and programs of research focused on studying human security in its various facets and contexts.
  • Organizing and conducting relevant seminars, workshops and conferences.
  • Training and mentoring students and postdoctoral fellows.
  • Creating connections and research collaborations with members of international, national, and community organizations, governments, and business communities.

Research Themes

CRSP focuses on four research themes:

  • technologies
  • populations
  • spaces
  • brokers

Research may focus element within a theme or flow across substantive research themes. Infused across all research themes is a commitment to student involvement, community engagement, and methodological and ethical rigour.

Technologies

The technologies theme explores the various ways in which technologies are developed, adopted, appropriated, resisted, governed and used in practice, to provide critical insights into their intended and unintended outcomes and impacts. Research in this stream moves beyond a technological deterministic analysis of security technologies to provide analyses that look at the ways social, political, economic and organizational contexts get inside and shape technologies, as well as to the ways in which technologies shape these same contexts.

Spaces

Studies in the spaces theme investigate the way in which security is shaped by the spatial logics governing social, architectural, and geographical configurations. This theme focuses on securitized spaces such as centres for human detention and detainment, shelters for people who are homeless, care institutions, refugee camps, etc.

Populations

Research in the populations theme examines how security practices impact specific populations (e.g. racialized communities, people experiencing homelessness, migrant workers, asylum seekers, refugees, etc.) to understand how these populations perceive, understand, experience, and internalize security practices. It seeks to uncover and provide insight into the way security practices impact individuals’ ontological security, wellbeing, and perceptions of safety and security.

Brokers

Brokers are people who possess power (whether it is organizational, social, political, legal, or state) to erect and maintain systems of security. Therefore, the brokers theme explores how these brokers (including humanitarian workers, social service providers, social workers, customs and border services, police, correctional services, etc.) engage in and make sense of their practices, as well as how they are trained and governed. Research within this theme focuses on the way systems of security are practiced, perceived, and rationalized by such brokers.

CRSP’s Global Approach

The start of the 21st century has been marked by attention to pressing socio-political issues such as poverty, war, climate change, coupled with ongoing structural inequality and everyday discrimination against some of the world’s most marginalized populations. As of June 2018, there were over 600 million people living in extreme poverty around the world, or 8% of the world’s population. Current war and related political crises—from Syria to South Sudan and Afghanistan to Venezuela—are causing a level of human suffering unseen in previous generations, with over 68 million people currently displaced from their homes. War and political crises tend to exponentially impact already marginalized groups. Furthermore, poverty, war, and general political instability have been interlinked with climate change, rising temperatures, and increased drought exacerbating the potential for conflict. The Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change identified climate change as the biggest global security threat of the 21st century, which will “expose the global population to worsening health consequences”.

In these contexts, security is an ideal sought by many, but not often attainable. As a result, there is an increased need for an examination of the secure and insecure environments of human beings in order to inform more effective practice and policy that can ameliorate the negative consequences of insecurity and promote everyday security and wellbeing. Ongoing CRSP projects in countries such as Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Yemen are promoting interdisciplinary research on human security from a global perspective to learn what causes (in)security and how people experience (in)security.