The past decade has witnessed a remarkable expansion and globalisation of the private security sector. These developments mark the emergence of public—private, global—local security networks that play increasingly important roles in global governance. Rather than representing a simple retreat of the state, security privatisation is a part of broad processes in which the role of the state — and the nature and locus of authority — is being transformed and rearticulated. Often presented as apolitical, as the mere effect of market forces and moves towards greater efficiency in service delivery, the authority conferred on private actors can alter the political landscape and in the case of private security has clear implications for who is secured and how. The operation and impact of public/private, global/local security networks is explored in the context of security provision in Cape Town, South Africa.
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