You are on page 1of 14


Criminology and Criminal
The online version of this article can be found at:

DOI: 10.1177/1748895814541899
2014 14: 379 Criminology and Criminal Justice
Mariana Valverde
Studying the governance of crime and security: Space, time and jurisdiction

Published by:
On behalf of:

British Society of Criminology

can be found at: Criminology and Criminal Justice Additional services and information for Email Alerts: Subscriptions: Reprints: Permissions: Citations:

What is This?

- Aug 20, 2014 Version of Record >>

at Univ of Newcastle upon Tyne on August 25, 2014 Downloaded from at Univ of Newcastle upon Tyne on August 25, 2014 Downloaded from
Criminology & Criminal Justice
2014, Vol. 14(4) 379 391
The Author(s) 2014
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/1748895814541899
Studying the governance of
crime and security: Space,
time and jurisdiction
Mariana Valverde
University of Toronto, Canada
That the governance of crime and security often works on and through space is well known by
now; but this article argues that temporality and jurisdiction are equally important dimensions
of law and governance. These three dimensions are not independent, and the article gives some
concrete examples of how temporalization shapes spatialization and in turn interacts with
Governance of security, jurisdiction, spatialization, temporality
In this article I present an epistemologically modest agenda consisting of sets of ques-
tions that could guide a large variety of research projects on issues of security and crime.
Some of the questions have come out of my own research on legal and governance pro-
cesses, especially urban law and governance, while others are borrowed from the work
of numerous criminologists, sociolegal scholars and others who from different perspec-
tives have developed research questions and analytical tools that are useful for research
on questions of crime, insecurity and security.
It should be noted at the outset that in keeping with the collective consciousness of the
Toronto Centre where I have worked for over 20 years, I focus on what criminology has
or can have in common with sociolegal studies and other traditions of research on gov-
ernance. In other words, whether or not studies of security are part of criminology may
be an important question for those who are explicitly engaged in drawing academic
Corresponding author:
Mariana Valverde, Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto, 14 Queens Park
Crescent West, Toronto, ON M5S 3K9, Canada.
541899CRJ0010.1177/1748895814541899Criminology & Criminal JusticeValverde
Debate Article
at Univ of Newcastle upon Tyne on August 25, 2014 Downloaded from
380 Criminology & Criminal Justice 14(4)
boundaries, but for present purposes, the focus is not on fields or disciplines and their
internal issues. I work instead at a conceptual scale that is concrete and empirically
driven, the scale at which the key object of study consists of governing mechanisms and
the tools we have to analyse them (see Rose et al., 2006).
The gap between criminology and sociolegal studies is nevertheless only bridgeable
in certain places, which limits the applicability of my remarks. The criminological
academy contains both studies of individual psychology and more or less sociological
projects regarding crime in the aggregate, crime prevention, policing and so on. This
article will not be very helpful to the former, that is, to those working at the scale of the
individual and his/her desires, feelings, motives, propensity to commit crime and resil-
ience in the face of victimization. Psychological criminology occupies its own spaces,
both academically and within the state apparatus, and the intellectual (and often politi-
cal) gap between psychological and sociological criminology is much wider, it seems
to me, than that between sociological criminology and sociolegal studies. Thus, the
framework I set out here draws primarily on sociological criminology and on those
sub-literatures in sociolegal studies that document governance and regulation: but in
doing so I have no desire to challenge existing field boundaries or to call for or build a
new interdiscipline. I simply acknowledge that the set of research questions I develop
here come from certain research fields and not others, and it is likely to be most useful
in those enterprises, though of course creative borrowing is always possible and in my
view welcome.
Putting Theory Itself in Question: Some Preliminary
But, to take one step back, why do I present a set of questions instead of a theory? As
an official theorist who sometimes publishes in theory journals and has taught theory
courses for 30 years, I am often asked to either endorse one particular existing general
theory of social relations or to elaborate my own. An important reason why I have
chosen to not do theory in the conventional manner is that in my view, macro-
explanations of modernity in general the approach to theorizing that can be said to
begin with Durkheim have less and less purchase on concrete analyses and are
increasingly irrelevant to younger scholars engaged in innovative research. In the
context of studies of crime and security, the key paradigm of theory remains that
drawn from classical sociology. Ulrich Beck, Anthony Giddens, Zygmunt Bauman,
Manuel Castells and Niklas Luhmann are some of the big names that routinely
appear in the theory section of studies of crime and security. (Foucault does too, but
as I have shown elsewhere his work is generally misused as if it were sociological
theory, so that his work, instead of being used to challenge the paradigm of world-
scale theorizing about modernity, is recuperated by it; see Valverde (2010b).) But
while this established world-scale style of theory is still popular in the sense of being
frequently cited, there are indications that a different kind of work, work that does not
so much critique as eschew and even ignore the formats and the styles of thought of
classical sociology, is on the rise the popularity of Bruno Latour and Actor Network
Theory being perhaps the key clue here (Latour, 2010).
at Univ of Newcastle upon Tyne on August 25, 2014 Downloaded from
Valverde 381
Most significantly, while postcolonial studies has not made much of an inroad into
studies of crime and security (postcolonial criminology does not really exist as yet),
criminologists and sociologists who rely on the intellectual habits of the tradition that
goes from Durkheim to such thinkers as David Garland and Ulrich Beck will eventually
have to face up to the fact that what I call world-scale theory was premised on and still
depends on an increasingly problematic assumption, namely, that modernity is the
proper object of social theory. To return to the point (in the late 19th century) when
todays social sciences all took institutional form, sociology could only develop as the
science of modernity by contrast with anthropologys mission to study the primitive.
This means that as the category of the primitive becomes more and more discredited, it
will be increasingly impossible for sociological theory to stick to its old mission state-
ment. Anthropologists have over the past few decades come to grips with the shady his-
tory of their discipline, often painfully, and have developed highly sophisticated
techniques promoting reflexivity and pursuing studies that from the outset challenge the
modern versus primitive binary. Sociology, by contrast, seems not to have heard the
news about the fall of Eurocentric paradigms, and major theorists continue to issue books
that have modernity in the title as if this were a valid category, when in fact modernity
(like the West) is nothing but the Orientalist other of the primitive.
A major reason for the anachronistic persistence of the classical model of social the-
ory, the model that presupposes that there is such a thing as modernity and that this is
social theorys prime object of study, is that scholars who are not sociologists and who
work in interdisciplinary endeavours often look to sociology rather than, say, anthro-
pology or history for theoretical tools (and, worse, models), thus continuing to repro-
duce the style of thought of sociological theory even outside its disciplinary boundaries.
Not coincidentally, sociological geography with a Marxist bent is also popular in todays
supermarket of theory (e.g. David Harvey). Scholars who do not have a vested institu-
tional interest in sociologys claim to be the queen of the social sciences people such as
criminologists, urban studies scholars, public health researchers and so on should find
it easier than those employed in sociology departments to question received assumptions
about what theory is and where it is produced, but for some reason this is not happening.
One reason may be that interdisciplinary scholars hired precisely because of their inter-
disciplinarity are more often than not expected to deliver a curriculum that embodies
antiquated notions of theory, including the separation of official theory courses covering
the canon from topic-oriented courses. This is certainly the case in criminology cur-
ricula that I have seen, not least at my own supposedly world-class institution. Courses
in postcolonial studies and sexuality studies, by contrast, are almost always theoretical as
well as empirical, and while abandoning the theoryresearch binary, they also put in
question the division of intellectual labour between sociology and anthropology that is
constitutive of 20th-century grand social theory. By contrast, criminology and sociology
departments (though British sociology is far less hide-bound than American sociology)
usually cleave to the old idea that theorizing consists of learning the dead white men
canon and that such work is useful to guide empirical research (as opposed to being chal-
lenged by empirical research findings). In sum, therefore, there is ample evidence
though in this article I cannot digress any longer to present it that sociologys
longstanding separation of theory from research sustains a highly abstract, static,
at Univ of Newcastle upon Tyne on August 25, 2014 Downloaded from
382 Criminology & Criminal Justice 14(4)
Eurocentric and masculinist idea of theoretical practice, at the level of form, while at the
level of content, sociology has not yet separated its own self-description from the ques-
tionable Eurocentric category of modernity.
Few young scholars are directly challenging the organization of their departmental cur-
riculum and other practices that embody and reproduce, however implicitly, the anti-
quated notions of theory just canvassed. But more or less quietly, many young scholars are
broadening the scope of what counts as theory. Indeed, canons seem to be steadily losing
ground to new approaches: Actor Network Theory, governmentality studies, science and
technology studies, risk studies and others. These endeavours are not only interdiscipli-
nary but, what is not so often discussed, inter-methodological and inter-theoretical.
The question then is: in this new climate of inter-methodological and inter-theoretical
work, what can people like myself, trained in classical and contemporary philosophy and
theory, offer research? One possibility would be to offer to build yet another, postmod-
ern, abstract model of how the world works. But with all respect to Zygmunt Bauman
and Ulrich Beck, I do not think it makes sense to put new wine in old skins, new content
in the old formats of theory.
This is why I seek not to build a new model or to argue for one of the existing models,
but rather to pose a set of questions that both come out of research and can guide future
research, as I have been doing, in bits and pieces, for the past few years (Valverde, 2009,
2010a, 2011).
The first point which has almost the status of a premise, though not quite is that
asking questions about what is security? or what security ought to be is not very fruitful
for researchers, however satisfying it might be for philosophers. Social scientists make
much more useful contributions when they instead focus on security projects defined
nominalistically as the governing networks and mechanisms that claim to be promoting
security at all scales. And in studying security projects, I argue that it can be useful to
first ask questions about the logic (including the values and telos) of a security project,
and then ask questions about what geographers call scale effects though ensuring that
temporal scale is included in the analysis too, not just spatial scale.
From there, one can move to the somewhat separate question of jurisdiction, which is
almost always taken for granted in criminology. Deciding who governs where the basic
jurisdictional question is not only important in itself but also has the effect of determin-
ing how something is governed. Shifting jurisdiction from one organization or level of
government to another has the effect of automatically changing how something is gov-
erned, as will be shown below.
Finally, it is appropriate to move to documenting the effects of techniques of security
used human, technological, architectural and so on. That will be done in the penulti-
mate section. Certain logics of governance tend to go together with certain techniques,
but this link is not fixed, and so studying the techniques somewhat separately from the
logic, the scale and the jurisdiction can be important.
But to begin it is necessary to address without claiming to answer what most peo-
ple imagine is the basic question: if crime is a negative phenomenon for society as well
as for individuals because it harms security, what is security? Crime is far easier to
define, whether one uses official data about law-breaking or victimization surveys. But
the positive correlate, security, is far harder to grasp.
at Univ of Newcastle upon Tyne on August 25, 2014 Downloaded from
Valverde 383
What Is Security?
Unlike lawbreaking, security cannot be seen and measured objectively. The great thinker
of security, Thomas Hobbes, explained the elusiveness of security by pointing out that
what he called war, and we would call insecurity, is not a series of objectively measur-
able events, but rather a tendency, or what would soon come to be called a probability
(and much later, a risk). War, he wrote, consists
not in Battell onely, or the act of fighting, but in a tract of time wherein the Will to contend by
Battell is sufficiently known; and therefore the notion of Time is to be considered in the nature
of Warre, as it is in the nature of Weather. For as the nature of Foule weather lie not in a shower
or two of rain, but in an inclination thereto of many dayes together; So the nature of War,
consisteth not in actual fighting; but in the known disposition thereto, during all the time there
is no assurance to the contrary. All other time is PEACE. (Hobbes, 1968 [1651]: 186, emphasis
A secure commonwealth is thus one in which there may well be some violence or other
anxiety-producing events, but in which people do not have to constantly fear for their
lives and their property as they do in the state of nature. They are secure because they
have agreed to hand over most of their natural liberty to the corporate entity whose task
is to ensure sufficient security so that private individuals can get on with maximizing
their property and their (private, non-political) pleasure. That this security is achieved
only by running the risk of having the sovereign or the state abuse its powers, in ways
which may make individuals quite fearful and insecure, is of course the central paradox
of the social contract, as well as the central paradox of state security, as critics of Hobbes
from John Locke to Edward Snowden have pointed out.
It is this paradox that has been explored by a large number of scholars and public
intellectuals in recent years, in studies that often conclude, as Lucia Zedners (2009: 235)
erudite overview does, that the human need for security should not be permitted to
defeat itself (see also Dillon, 1996; Neocleous, 2008; Wood and Shearing, 2007).
But one can only talk about the human need for security (or for that matter the cen-
tral paradox of security) if one takes security as a single if admittedly fuzzy entity,
such that one can undertake to do a history or a theory of security.
While the theories and histories of security that we now have are certainly useful to
criminology, it may be time to move to a different type of project, one that instead of
focusing on security as a noun, a thing a choice that inevitably leads into normative
discussions about good security versus bad security turns the gaze not on a single word
or a concept but rather on the very wide variety of activities and practices that are being
carried out under the name of security. The shift away from clarifying concepts in the
Oxford tradition to documenting and reflecting on practices is of course Foucaults great
intellectual move. But we can also draw inspiration from a different source, American
legal pragmatism. We can describe what we do as studying what following William
James (1994 [1936]) could be called varieties of security experience. That is, instead of
starting with an abstract noun (security), and proceeding to carry out philosophical or
philological or historical inquiries, we can start with actually existing practices of gov-
ernance that the participants themselves not outside observers describe as promoting
at Univ of Newcastle upon Tyne on August 25, 2014 Downloaded from
384 Criminology & Criminal Justice 14(4)
security in some way. On the basis of that study, we should be able to then draw conclu-
sions about how security is being constituted in a variety of realms.
The conclusions will not have direct political or normative lessons; but they will be
useful for those who want to engage in both practical and intellectual work in the general
area of the governance of security.
The Logic of Security Projects
What I am here calling the logic of a security project which is the substance of the
first research question I suggest we ask draws on Rose and Millers (1992) influential
distinction between political rationalities of governance and technologies of govern-
ance. However, Rose and Miller, and governmentality studies generally, tend to empha-
size the instrumentally rational elements of governance; I use the word logic to include
the affective and aesthetic dimensions of governance.
Criminologists have long pointed out that governing crime, or governing the world
through crime, in Jonathan Simons (2007) influential phrase, are enterprises which are
by no means purely actuarial or rationalistic. Unconscious fears about mythic figures,
racialized demons and assorted folk devils are often contained not only in policing
responses and in correctional practices but even in the criminal law itself, as has been
amply demonstrated by the literature on the US war on drugs, and also by studies of
recent anti-terrorism legislation.
In addition to the well-known affective and aesthetic dimensions of crime control that
derive from fears about the racial Other and the disreputable, the less well-known femi-
nist literature on the gender dimensions of safety, security and risk continues to be highly
relevant today, and it too has drawn attention to the unconscious dimensions of both
perceptions of crime and responses to crime.
So within logic I am including the aims and the assumptions of a project that
which tells us what counts as relevant information but also the culturally specific fears
and moods that pervade the field of security. Mood is important, here: the less than
rational dimensions of policy making are not limited to fear, as in fear of crime crime
control measures can be part of optimistic projects, for example, forms of nationalism.
So what are some examples of what I call the logic of security projects?
Across the street from my house in Toronto there is a public park that is illuminated
until about midnight by very strong lights. These lights, which are bothersome to many
of us but appear to be acceptable and even necessary to those who govern such things,
were initially placed there in the 1950s. Then they were known as morality lights. Now,
nobody calls them that. They are called security lights. The way in which the exact
same entity (bright electric lights in the park) goes by different names at different times
illustrates the way in which one and the same technique can be mobilized by different
logics of security, one geared to securing the moral order by preventing couples from
making out in public versus one focused on stranger danger.
Another example of a simple technique that can be mobilized under quite different
logics is the collection of crime statistics by police district. Those data are generally used
to distinguish good from bad neighbourhoods, for example by real estate agents, or by
the police themselves. The use of those data has then the effect of increasing the
at Univ of Newcastle upon Tyne on August 25, 2014 Downloaded from
Valverde 385
socioeconomic differences between neighbourhoods, since the respectable will avoid
buying a house in a bad neighbourhood and the police will likely make fewer stops and
arrests in good neighbourhoods. The logic of such data collection is thus, in this case,
that of increasing urban differentiation the logic of the famous Chicago School circles.
However, district-specific crime data can also be used to counteract increasing social
inequality: they can be used, along with other data, to channel more resources to those
areas that appear to need it most. Thats the welfarist logic of Torontos priority neigh-
bourhoods project, which uses quantitative indicators of disadvantage to funnel more
resources to those areas that need it.
One more example illustrates how logics of governance matter and here, the analyti-
cal point is that one established governing logic can be easily drawn upon, overtly or not,
to support and strengthen the logic of a newer project. Advertisements promoting home
security products suggest that security in this context consists of upholding and increas-
ing the sovereign power of an individual who is always presented as: (a) owning a house,
not renting an apartment; and (b) the head of a family whose other members are always
already nothing but vulnerable victims. Home security marketing gives the impression
that domestic violence does not exist, that the only unruly teenagers are by definition
someone elses children and that the person whose very identity appears to depend on a
mortgage is entitled to monitor and control and literally see every activity of every per-
son who is occupying the household, especially children and domestic workers. One
need not be a declared feminist to appreciate that the logic of home security marketing is
not unrelated to the logic of the patriarchal nuclear family.
Having shown that security projects of all kinds all assume and produce a certain
logic of governance, and that logics can flow from one project to another, we can now go
on to the next set of questions. These have to do with the scale of a security project.
The Scales of Security
That scale matters in both practical security enterprises and in our analyses of these
activities is widely recognized, though often only implicitly. Measures that are consid-
ered appropriate to defend a nation-states borders, for instance, such as an army and an
intelligence service, would not be considered appropriate at the scale of the city or the
Theoretical studies of scale shifting and scale issues by geographers such as David
Harvey, Neil Brenner and others have come to be used by criminologists, especially
urban criminologists. I used geographic work on scale myself in an essay included in
Adam Crawfords (2011) edited collection on International and Comparative Criminal
Justice and Urban Governance (see Valverde, 2011). There, I argued that broken win-
dows criminologys choice of scale
the microlocal is the key move, since the plau-
sibility of the thesis depends on the rigid exclusion not only of national-scale information
(e.g. about immigration and other demographic changes) but also of city-wide informa-
tion, for example, about deindustrialization.
Most studies of crime and crime prevention choose one particular scale and remain
there throughout the study. Multiscalar analyses are possible (as when ethnographers
look up from their favourite street corner long enough to include broader demographic
at Univ of Newcastle upon Tyne on August 25, 2014 Downloaded from
386 Criminology & Criminal Justice 14(4)
and economic trends in their analyses) but they are not common. That is not necessarily
a problem; what is problematic, I argue, is to proceed without a clear awareness of the
pros and cons of the particular scale we happen to be using.
Scale, however, is more than the amount of space that is included in either the actual
security project at hand or in our analysis. Temporality too which is certainly key to all
security projects including crime prevention, as Thomas Hobbes pointed out is scalar.
The importance of temporal scale choice is visible, for example, in the tensions
between the work of police detectives and those less celebrated officers who engage in
community liaison and crime prevention. Detecting crimes and finding the criminal is a
backward-looking enterprise that treats the present as a vast collection of (a) clues and
(b) witnesses.
The logic of detective work deploys the logic that in other work I have
called the forensic gaze (Valverde, 2003), but for present purposes what is important is
that this enterprise has a particular temporality (the retrospective reconstruction of a
crime that took place in the past) and a particular spatialization, focusing on the scene of
crime and radiating out from that.
By contrast, crime prevention work looks to the future rather than the past; but it
also encompasses an indefinite series of possible future events, and in that sense is
broader in both spatial and temporal scope than detective work. The space to be secured
in crime prevention may be relatively small (a house or a park), but the project has to
monitor and guard the whole of that space, without privileging a single scene, as
detective work does.
Temporalizations differ not only by direction (forward versus backward) but in other
ways as well. Henri Bergson famously pointed out that duration the phenomenologi-
cal time of human experience is not the same as objective, calendar time; but more
prosaically, the field of crime and criminal law also contains and relies on temporal dis-
tinctions, such as day/night, weekday/weekend, peacetime/wartime, youth/adulthood
and so on. These distinctions are often embodied in law itself as well as in law enforce-
ment practices.
While I have made a point of highlighting temporal scales, since they have been
wholly neglected both by legal geographers and by criminologists, it is nevertheless
important to remember that in practice temporalizations are not separate from
spatializations it is more useful to think of the local park in need of crime prevention
measures or the murder that needs solving as entities constituted in particular spatio-
temporalities, or what Mikhail Bakhtin (1990) called chronotopes.
In many of the examples I have given, the governance issues are not limited to logics and
scale effects, even though that was the focus of the analysis. Scalar effects shade into
jurisdiction: for example, that trash removal is a local issue is both a product of the natu-
ralization of governing scale and a result of the fact that local jurisdiction over waste is
taken for granted, just as jurisdiction over war and peace is assumed to lie with the state,
always and everywhere. The study of jurisdiction does not have to stop with formal law.
There are important jurisdictional divides in non-state or informal systems of govern-
ance, which means that those interested in informal social control and extra-state security
at Univ of Newcastle upon Tyne on August 25, 2014 Downloaded from
Valverde 387
should therefore include jurisdiction in their analyses. For example, in many families
mothers and fathers have quite distinct jurisdictions, even though by law they have the
same powers and duties. All manner of other social units, from inmate communities to
organized crime groups to university departments, also rely a great deal on jurisdictional
divisions of labour that may not be visible from the outside but which insiders soon learn
to take very seriously. Informal jurisdictions are by no means remnants of some kind of
traditional past: capitalism constantly gives rise to myriad private or semi-private juris-
dictions, as we see with the rise of international commercial arbitration, Internet law and
other phenomena. Jurisdictional analysis in my meaning of the term thus requires knowl-
edge of law in action, not just law in the books.
Most legal geographers, and some criminologists, conflate jurisdiction with spatial
scale. But even when a jurisdiction coincides with a particular geographic space, juris-
diction is analytically distinct in important ways (Dorsett and McVeigh, 2012; McVeigh,
2007). After all, a murder might take place in a city park, but city bylaw officers have no
jurisdiction over that event.
Even jurisdictions that are territorial rather than functional rarely feature a single
Hobbes-style sovereign. Territories are governed simultaneously by a host of authorities
wielding different jurisdictions, and not only in federal countries. In the urban setting, for
instance, an area in which I have conducted much empirical research, boards and com-
missions are particularly important in the management of everyday disorder, and often
play a more important role than the local authority. Bodies such as parks commissions,
school boards and public transit authorities, not to mention countless quangos and urban
development corporations, exercise jurisdiction over islands of territory within a munici-
pality, though with the island metaphor being inadequate in that these special purpose
bodies are never fully sovereign, and frequently overlap with several other special pur-
pose bodies as well as with political entities from the local authority to the nation state.
Subnational and special-purpose local authorities exist throughout the world, including
in states thought of as highly undemocratic and centralized, such as China. The upshot is
that the Hobbesian model of a single sovereign with a unified, complete jurisdiction has
never existed, even in dictatorships.
Criminologists tend to take jurisdiction for granted, to black box it perhaps because
the criminal law is the least contested of all the jurisdictions one generally finds in stable
democracies. But even though the jurisdiction of national criminal law has been natural-
ized since at least Blackstones day, there are many struggles that show that this jurisdic-
tion too is contested. Medical authorities, for example, are currently, in Canada, arguing
that physician assisted suicide should be removed from criminal jurisdiction and put
under their authority, and the long fight to decriminalize homosexual sex is another
example. While criminologists are quite aware of the struggles over the use of the crimi-
nal law to regulate morality, they rarely pay attention to other actual or potential chal-
lenges to the jurisdiction of the central state, ones that do not have much political traction.
It is taken for granted that municipalities might engage in experiments in enforcement;
but the criminal law itself is assumed to be wholly within state jurisdiction.
Despite the relative success of this black boxing of criminal law jurisdiction, the game
of jurisdiction is nevertheless more complex and unstable than it appears. The instabilities
become particularly visible in the international arena. When Blackwater private contractors
at Univ of Newcastle upon Tyne on August 25, 2014 Downloaded from
388 Criminology & Criminal Justice 14(4)
murdered Iraqi civilians in cold blood in 2007, for example, many were appalled to dis-
cover that the USA had previously passed a law removing their forces of occupation from
all Iraqi jurisdictions. They were even more shocked to discover that because the contrac-
tors were not soldiers they were not subject to the substitute colonial-style jurisdiction of
the Military Extraterritorial Justice statute that had been passed by Congress precisely to
allow the USA to punish soldiers for offences committed abroad. The Iraqi victims, in other
words, were not able to seize on any jurisdiction at all to claim justice. This was not due to
a lack of law in fact, there was an excess of law, with several statutes (e.g. the Alien Torts
Act) hovering in the air alongside Iraqi criminal law and the US statutes mentioned; what
was absent was jurisdiction. As Fleur Johns (2013) important work on the thicket of regu-
lation and law that in fact fills what are thought of as lawless spaces or legal black holes
shows us, studies of state misconduct that invoke Agambens (2005) state of exception
would do better to pay attention to the complex network of overlapping jurisdictions, laws
and regulations that exist even in places like Guantanamo.
Jurisdiction is not just the determination of the who of governance, the determina-
tion of the correct sovereign. Jurisdictional games also determine what spaces, persons
and/or issues are to be governed by any one authority. And perhaps most importantly, in
determining the who and the what of governance, the game of jurisdiction ends up qui-
etly determining the how of governance, the qualitative element. In Canada, if a dispute
about mining is settled in favour of the province, the logic then used to govern will be
that of natural resources, over which provinces have complete jurisdiction. If the dis-
pute is settled in favour of the federal government, then sovereignty will make an appear-
ance, whereas if aboriginal nations are given the legal right to exercise jurisdiction the
logic of conservation and sustainability will then rise to the fore.
Another example: cities in Canada have been arguing that they need to have a say in
immigration policy. If they were successful (highly doubtful), I am sure cities would
govern immigration very differently, using a human-resource model rather than worry-
ing about terrorism.
Thus, who is thought of as the proper authority for space X or problem Y the ques-
tion of jurisdiction ends up settling the often unasked question of how something or
some space is to be governed. And the how of governance is not independent from
questions of space and time. Restorative justice, for example, redefines some crimes as
matters for family-like or community-style governance; and it is not coincidental that
neither the conventional space of criminal justice (the courtroom) nor the conventional
temporalization of criminal punishment (serving time) appear as appropriate.
Techniques of Security
In a complete analysis of a security project one has to pay close attention to the array of
techniques used to implement the project in question. By techniques I do not mean only
technologies such as video surveillance, but also what Actor Network Theory calls tech-
niques of inscription (e.g. writing qualitative reports versus generating a set of num-
bers), as well as what governmentality studies regard as everyday techniques of
governance which includes everything from architectural details characteristic of cer-
tain security institutions to bodily habits.
at Univ of Newcastle upon Tyne on August 25, 2014 Downloaded from
Valverde 389
Current journalistic discourse is fixated on communication technologies; we
constantly hear that the Arab Spring would not have happened without social media,
for example. Such technological determinism, however, is not only ahistorical but
also neglects information practices and governing techniques that are not embedded
in or facilitated by machines of one sort of another. Long ago, Ian Hacking (1982)
drew attention to the great importance of the 19th-centurys invention of ava-
lanches of printed numbers as an information format with great effects, and many
studies since have shown the importance of formats that may or may not be con-
nected to hardware.
Thus, when analysing the techniques used to carry out certain security projects we
need to include much more than the equipment. Law itself, I have argued elsewhere
(Valverde, 2009), contains important technicalities that do a great deal of governing
work, even though they are usually neglected not just by criminologists but also by legal
scholars focused on high law and grand legal principles.
Governmentality studies of policing and crime control have explored the effects of
techniques of security in many contexts, paying attention to information formats and
other types of techniques. However, in my view it is dangerous to focus only on tech-
niques. The logic, the spatiotemporal scale and the jurisdiction of the particular security
project being furthered cannot be read off from the techniques. They require separate
In my view, the crucial challenge facing theorists today is to finally get over our long-
standing habit of equating theorizing with constructing models. Models of modernity
are particularly problematic from a postcolonial perspective; but assuming that theoriz-
ing equals modelling is problematic more generally. A major problem is that the models
claim to explain or at least describe change but the models are themselves static. The
laws of motion of society, of capitalism, or of neoliberalism, are not themselves
dynamic. This is not surprising. As Nietzsche said long ago, it is not possible for human
thought to be as nimble and mobile as the realities which thought attempts to capture; but
we can at least try for more dynamic approaches in which thought itself, not just history,
is constantly on the move.
Governance projects are, I suggest, more complex than is usually thought. And they
are certainly more complex than their designers realize, since many of the complications
arise from interactions between different dimensions of governance that are often spe-
cific to the situation and cannot be predicted in advance. In some instances jurisdiction
flows from spatial scale; in other cases the game of jurisdiction breaks up space; in some
cases the logic of a project is smoothly promoted by the techniques used, whereas in
other places the techniques end up acquiring a life of their own and undermining the
governing logic. The four sets of questions I have presented here about logic, scale,
jurisdiction and techniques constitute my own attempt to give us tools to do the impos-
sible, that is, to capture in thought, and especially in writing, something of the constantly
shifting reality that is before us.
at Univ of Newcastle upon Tyne on August 25, 2014 Downloaded from
390 Criminology & Criminal Justice 14(4)
1. This is a lightly edited version of a Public Lecture given at the University of Leeds and it
retains the spoken-word character of the occasion to a large extent.
2. Evident in Wilson and Kellings (1982) original thesis and subsequent debates about its rel-
evance and implications (Sampson and Raudenbush, 1999).
3. Michel Foucaults 1981 lectures on justice, truth-seeking and law, given at the University
of Louvains criminology institute (Foucault, 2014), contain a fascinating reflection on the
origins of the knowledge project Foucault calls the inquiry, a reflection that has the potential
to make a huge contribution to criminological thought. Greek tragedy, and Oedipus Rex in
particular, is presented as the origin of a way of searching for and then certifying knowledge
of who did what that would later develop into legal procedures associated with interrogating
witnesses and using juries (the jury being a modern version of the Greek chorus) to certify
both the truth and the justice of the wrong committed. The inquiry went into decline for
hundreds of years, Foucault claims, but re-emerged in the late middle ages in legal contexts.
Legal or quasi-legal practices of inquiry, Foucault argues, as developed first by the Inquisition
and then by secular justice systems, paved the way for scientific and philosophical inquiries.
Agamben G (2005) State of Exception. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Bakhtin MM (1990) Forms of time and of the chronotope in the novel: Notes toward a historical
poetics. In: Bakhtin MM The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Ed. Holquist M. Trans.
Emerson C and Holquist M. Austin,TX: University of Texas Press, 84258.
Dillon M (1996) The Politics of Security: Toward a Political Philosophy of Continental Thought.
London: Routledge.
Dorsett S and McVeigh S (eds) (2012) Jurisdiction. London: Routledge.
Foucault M (2014) Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling: The Function of the Avowal in Justice. Ed. Brion
F and Harcourt B. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Hacking I (1982) Biopower and the avalanche of printed numbers. Humanities in Society 5:
Hobbes T (1968 [1651]) Leviathan. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
James W (1994 [1936]) The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature. New
York: Random House.
Johns F (2013) Non-Legality in International Law: Unruly Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Latour B (2010) The Making of Law. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
McVeigh S (ed.) (2007) The Jurisprudence of Jurisdiction. Abingdon: Routledge-Cavendish.
Neocleous M (2008) Critique of Security. Montreal: McGill-Queens Press.
Rose N and Miller P (1992) Political power beyond the state: Problematics of government. British
Journal of Sociology 43(2): 173205.
Rose N, OMalley P and Valverde M (2006) Governmentality. Annual Review of Law and Social
Science 1: 6579.
Sampson R and Raudenbush S (1999) Systematic social observation of public spaces: A new look
at disorder in urban neighborhoods. American Journal of Sociology 105(3): 603651.
Simon J (2007) Governing through Crime. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Valverde M (2003) Laws Dream of a Common Knowledge. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University
Valverde M (2009) Jurisdiction and scale: Taking legal technicalities seriously. Social and Legal
Studies 18(2): 139158.
at Univ of Newcastle upon Tyne on August 25, 2014 Downloaded from
Valverde 391
Valverde M (2010a) Questions of security. Theoretical Criminology 15(1): 323.
Valverde M (2010b) Spectres of Foucault in sociolegal research. Annual Review of Law and Social
Science 4: 4559.
Valverde M (2011) The question of scale in urban criminology. In: Crawford A (ed.) International
and Comparative Criminal Justice and Urban Governance. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 567586.
Wilson JQ and Kelling G (1982) Broken windows: The police and neighbourhood safety. The
Atlantic Monthly March: 2937.
Wood J and Shearing C (2007) Imagining Security. Collumpton: Willan.
Zedner L (2009) Security. London: Routledge.
Author biography
Mariana Valverde teaches social and legal theory at the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal
Studies at the University of Toronto and does research on urban and municipal law and governance.
at Univ of Newcastle upon Tyne on August 25, 2014 Downloaded from