Environmental security and the case against rethinking criminology as 'security-ology'

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In this article I argue against Clifford Shearing’s suggestion that in the age of the Anthropocene the discipline of criminology should be rethought as ‘security-ology’, where concerns of security as a state of being and practices of security (i.e. securitization) and not crime and criminalization dominate the agenda. My objection consists of three key points. First, contra Shearing, I argue that it is analytically weak to describe all political practices concerned with achieving greater justice and/or security as a state of being as security practices. At a minimum, I suggest, relevant actors must conceive of their own actions as security practices, for the latter to count as such. Second, by drawing on literature from Environmental Security Studies I show that elevating environmental issues to security problems does not necessarily produce a more secure environment for people. Instead the best successes – in terms of accomplishing environmental security as a state of being – have been achieved through collaborate efforts between states and key stake-holders. I suggest that Shearing’s work on New Environmental Governance can be understood in these terms as it can help to produce greater actual security. Third, the age of the Anthropocene gives renewed relevance to crime and criminalization. Not only does it necessitate the rethinking of the meaning of crime, but also criminalization can be used to achieve compliance with environmental legislation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-282
Number of pages6
JournalCriminology and Criminal Justice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


  • Climate change
  • criminalization
  • green criminology
  • securitization
  • security


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