Informit article: Terrible security: Bifocal visions of horror

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How do we see security? Is it seen in images of peace and safety, or is it perceived in the depiction of the horrors of violence and suffering? The question is not an obvious one, for security is not typically thought to be a quality of vision, or of the other senses. Rather, security is typically thought to pertain to the experience of physical, bodily integrity. The conventional view of security is that it subsists in a ‘political relation … between the individual and the political community’ to provide minimum conditions of physical safety and the protection of law.1 Such a view belies a very long history of conceptual uncertainty not simply about who is to be secured from whom, or the structure of mechanisms for providing security, but over the moral and even spiritual value of security itself.

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