Citizen Security and Human Security in Latin America

Authored by: Daniel M. Goldstein

Routledge Handbook of Latin American Security

Print publication date:  July  2015
Online publication date:  July  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415718691
eBook ISBN: 9781315867908
Adobe ISBN: 9781317965091


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As the chapters of this Handbook make abundantly clear, security in all its forms is now, and has long been, a central preoccupation of states, citizens, and other actors in Latin America. In this chapter, I focus on citizen security and human security as two frameworks within which security in Latin America is conceptualized; I call attention to the idea of security as both a lived experience–that is, as a routine part of daily life–for Latin American people, and as an everyday program of state formation. Citizen security and human security are understood in this analysis as two powerful discourses, sets of policies, and regimes of governance around which much political contestation in Latin America is centered, as people, states, and nonstate actors (which might include private corporations, criminal gangs, paramilitaries, and local community organizations, among many others) negotiate the meaning of security and the appropriate means of attaining it in their societies. The chapter is thus anthropologically oriented: It explores the conceptual bases of citizen security and human security, but grounds this exploration in the empirical reality of daily life in Latin American societies, where people struggle every day to enhance their own security, nonstate actors take on new and variable roles in security provision, and states work to position themselves as the best and only providers of security for their citizens.1

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