The Insecurity State

Peter Ramsay

in The Insecurity State

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199581061
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741005 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice

The Insecurity State

Show Summary Details


This chapter argues that the substantive law that protects the right to security has the character of emergency power that takes a normalized form. It critiques the theory of the normalization of the state of exception, arguing that this experience offers compelling evidence that the sovereignty of the state has decayed significantly in the UK, so that the criminal law's threats are premised on their own inadequacy. It also identifies the historical precondition of this paradoxical state of affairs in the decay of representative politics — a decay that is an aspect of the political experience already discussed in Chapter 5. This theory is contrasted with Garland's apparently similar ‘myth of the sovereign state’ thesis, arguing that the problem of the expansion of penal control is the result of the actual decline of sovereign authority rather than of the political pursuit of its myth, as proposed by Garland.

Keywords: state of exception; normalization of the state of exception; normalization of the state of emergency; sovereignty; detention without trial; detention of terrorism suspects; myth of the sovereign state

Chapter.  11888 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.