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Research Profile

Mr Adam Edwards 

Mr Adam Edwards, School of Social Sciences

Adam Edwards, CCLJ Director

Position:Senior Lecturer
School:Social Sciences

Telephone:+44 (0)29 208 74174
Fax:+44 (0)29 208 74175
contact info:

Address:1.10A Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3WT, UK

Research Interests

Adam is Director of the Cardiff Centre for Crime, Law and Justice and a founding member of the Collaborative On-line Social Media ObServatory (COSMOS). He is currently Co-Editor of Policing and Society, Regional Editor of the European Journal of Policing Studies and an Associate Board member of Sociology. Previously he directed the European Society of Criminology’s working group on Crime, Science and Politics (2009 – 2011) and its precursor, the European Governance of Public Safety Research Network (2003 – 2009).

His principal research interest is in liberal democratic modes of governance and their security implications.

This entails both a normative and empirical concern with the limits to nation-state power, particularly in the face of transnational threats, and the consequences of enrolling, into security networks, actors that are organised at other tiers, above and below national government, as well as in commercial and voluntary (not-for-profit) sectors. Such networks emphasise the interdependencies that exist between institutions of state, market and civil society in reproducing the security of liberal democracies subject to global political and economic pressures. Networks can also collapse, producing failed public safety regimes and they can constitute competing private governments, including criminal organisations and paramilitaries that are not contained within nation-state borders. In turn, this implies a concern with the challenges of legitimising and reproducing security in liberal democracies with vibrant, self-regulating, civil societies but where authoritarian rule can be promoted as much by the withdrawal of state intervention and the proliferation of unaccountable private governments as by overweening state power.

Adam has explored this interest through research on local security networks in Europe (articulated in policy terms as, variously, ‘community safety partnerships’, ‘integral security strategies’ and ‘urban security management’) and on networks of statutory, commercial and civic actors involved in the organisation of serious crimes. This research includes 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 given the future-orientation of security around the anticipation of, and pre-emptive intervention against, threats yet to be realised. This problem of anticipatory governance provokes a debate over whether pre-emptive intervention can be justified and how social science can be implicated in this justification. To this end Adam is interested in the contribution of social research to deliberation about the politics and ethics of security in the reproduction of liberal democracies, especially the collation, integration and analysis of digital data including social media communications as well as routinely collected administrative data and curated data sets from quantitative and qualitative research. This is a key element of the Collaborative Online Social Media ObServatory (COSMOS) and the suite of funding investments in its development (see ‘Projects’).

I welcome collaboration on any aspects of this programme, including requests for doctoral supervision.