Mr Adam Edwards
Telephone:+44 (0)29 208 74174
Fax:+44 (0)29 208 74175
Address:1.10A Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3WT, UK
My principal research interest is in liberal modes of governance and their security implications. Liberal governance entails both a normative and empirical recognition of the limits to nation-state power. This necessitates the enrolment of state actors organised at other tiers, above and below national government, as well as commercial and voluntary (not-for-profit) actors, into security strategies and emphasises the interdependencies that exist between state, market and civil society in reproducing the security of liberal democratic societies. Exemplars of such ‘multilateral’ security include international efforts at police and judicial co-operation, epitomised by the European Union’s objective of creating an ‘Area of Freedom, Security and Justice’ and the Union’s related strategic partnerships with Russia and the United States. Other exemplars are the growth of sub-national multi-agency partnerships of state, commercial and voluntary actors, the expansion of commercial security and the promotion of self-governance amongst citizens encouraged to assume greater responsibility for their own security.
In pursuing this interest, my programme of research entails a broadening of analytical focus, beyond the calculations of elite policy actors, to encompass the experiences of security amongst citizens in particular social contexts and how these can be shaped by various non-state actors, ranging from peer and kinship networks, including on-line social media networks (see below), through criminal organisations to paramilitaries and their ‘fiefdoms’. This implies a concern with the consequences of non-state security provision for increasing the vulnerabilities of citizens to corruption, extortion and exploitation as much as any gains in liberating citizens from authoritarian state intervention. Consequently, I am interested in the challenges of legitimising and reproducing security in liberal polities where authoritarian rule can be promoted as much by the withdrawal of state intervention and the resulting ‘governance from below’ as by overweening state power.
A final dimension of this research programme is a concern with the contribution that criminology and other social sciences are making to the legitimisation and reproduction of security in liberal democratic societies. This is particularly pertinent where security is concerned if it is accepted that security is a future-oriented concept concerned with the anticipation and prevention of threats yet to be realised. On what grounds are security threats defined, assessed and acted on by security actors? What constitutes the preventive foresight of these actors and what is its relationship to social scientific knowledge? How else might the possibilities for ‘human security’ be envisaged and realised? In these terms I am interested in the relationship between science and politics in the production and uses of criminological and other social scientific knowledge. In particular, I am interested in the threats to a rational, knowledge-based, approach to government from populist experiments in democratisation. As such, I am concerned with an existential question for social science; why should social scientists’ knowledge claims be especially valued over those of other political and moral actors if social science is indistinguishable from political action? Social studies of science that are concerned with expertise and experience suggest a possible route out of this dilemma, emphasising the formative intentions, the culture or way of acting, of scientists contrasted with politicians, artists or other kinds of social actor. How might this culture of inquiry inform the legitimisation of security in liberal polities and inhibit the recycling of bigotry into public policy?
In addition, I have an interest in the new social media and its implications for social research including, but not restricted to, security studies. Of particular interest is the big and broad, ‘user generated’ , data on sentiments, topics and events produced by social media communications and how such ‘citizen journalism’ can challenge elite constructions of social problems including ‘community cohesion’, civil unrest, industrial disputes and political competition. To this end I am a founder member of the Cardiff Online Social Media ObServatory (COSMOS).
I welcome collaboration on any aspects of this programme, including requests for doctoral supervision.
Current Research Projects
- Urban Security in Europe (‘URBIS’)
- Cardiff Online Social Media ObServatory (‘COSMOS’)
- The Organisation of Crimes Against the Environment (‘ENVIRON’)
Co-editor, Policing and Society
Regional editor, European Journal of Policing Studies