Technology is a central aspect of contemporary security politics and practices. It speeds up, it facilitates, it automates, and it might soon be able to operate in a fully autonomous fashion. In short: technology does things that humans simply cannot do, and thereby has the potential to change the ways in which we “do” security.
Security, on the other hand, is not only a necessary condition for human existence and any form of societal organization, but also presents itself as a business opportunity. Today, myriads of services and tools are developed, sold and marketed under the label of security: from locks and cameras for private homes to police equipment and military weapons systems.
My research is interested in the social effects at these intersections of security and technology, as they unfold along the dimensions of politics, markets, institutional implementation, and practices. I thereby pay specific attention to the normative repercussions of new security technologies across society, both in intended and unintended forms.
Current research projects
Predictive Policing (with Simon Egbert)
In this project, partly funded by the Fritz-Thyssen Foundation, we empirically study practices of predictive policing in Germany and Switzerland. We are currently working on a co-authored monograph, under contract with Routledge.
This project explores the challenges that social scientists encounter when conducting field research with security professionals. It aims at providing a systematic account of the concerns that academics are confronted with when entering the worlds of security communities of practice and the coping strategies that they devise.
In this project, we engage the ways in which borders and border management processes are being (re-)made through digital technologies. Following up on a workshop held in Zurich in May 2019, we are currently preparing a special issue on the thematic.
Security markets and security cultures
This long-term project looks at entangled questions of marketization and cultures of security through ethnographic research at trade fairs and exhibitions.