J. Peter Burgess
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The invention of vulnerability
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The chapter builds upon the premise that the foundation of security is something other and more than technology or instrumental rationality. On the contrary, it argues that security and insecurity stem from a culturally, socially and spiritually grounded relation to the unknown. It suggests that security thinking has been guided by a false notion of objectivity and externality. The chapter then situates this way of understanding security in the context of the new security threats appearing in Europe during the two decades preceding the Oslo/Utøya attacks. It explains that this constellation of threats constitutes the background for the work of the Commission on Vulnerability, formed in 1999, and which produced a landmark report in 2000. The chapter documents the considerable innovation introduced by the Commission, in particular the relation it established between societal values and security. By means of a detailed, point-by-point analysis of the Commission’s report, the chapter establishes both an analytic framework for the value–security relation and a distinct contextualisation of that relation in the Norwegian context.

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Security after the unthinkable

Terror and disenchantment in Norway


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