Security Aid: The Development Regime of Surveillance and Social Control
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Security aid refers to practices of development that focus on enhancing regimes of surveillance, policing, prisons, border management, and social control in recipients countries of the global South. Similar to traditional aid regimes, security assistance is animated by humanitarian sentiments, yet it also corresponds with a desire of prosperous countries to manage perceived insecurities fomenting in the “underdeveloped” world. My dissertation combines interviews with security experts and a comprehensive use of the Access to Information Act to explore Canadian practices of security aid. I argue that security aid regimes are expressions of humanitarian reason, though these altruistic sentiments are subordinate to two overlapping objectives: 1) the advancement of Canadian strategic interests and 2) the “development” of security agencies in the global South into transversal networks of security directed by norm-makers of the global North. I describe Canada as a norm-supporter within the broader arrangement of globalizing security governance, where Canadian security innovation provides practical and technical contributions to transversal practices of social control set by norm-makers. With a focus on developing tangible and concrete best practices of policing and surveillance, Canada explicitly avoids the responsibilities of global inequalities that correspond with security assistance trends. In contributing to debates on security communities and Canada’s “place” within these formations, I suggest that the transversal security community has two overarching characteristics twinned to its particular set of security aid practices: transnational security cooperation-integration, and morally anchored tropes of global humanitarianism. In the following pages, I argue that “security aid” is a mirroring of these normative imperatives, and explore the practices of the transversal security community through an investigation of Canadian security aid.