Concept Paper - Societal Violence and Alternative Security Practices

Research Paper

22 Oct 2012

Summary: This program works to identify and establish dialogue with alternative urban-community practices of violence reduction, human-security promotion, and societal safety that have emerged in Egypt since the transformative events of 2011.  We aim to support communities as they articulate the novelty of the new practices and concepts. And we will build on these alternatives to shape new policy tools and public participatory mechanisms that will have national, even international, impact. Our target is to increase the democratic nature of reform in the areas of bodily safety, urban crime, policing norms, and socio-economic security. We will bring new research, artistic, and policy-making tools to support Egypt’s democratic spirit and energize the current collective demand to revolutionize the security sector “from below.”  

Moving from the community level to the media to the state, this initiative will identify, analyze, and establish routes toward public engagement and policy dialogue.

The types of local-level anti-violence and safety initiatives we engage include:

- Women’s societal security collectives,
- Youth protection organizations and militant sports clubs (Ultras, etc),
- Artistic movements aiming to critique and reimagine crime and insecurity (locally based street art, new media, street theater, etc),
- Parastatal coercive and racketeering organizations  (baltaga, rogue police militias, etc),
- Various types of ‘Popular Committees for Security’ (in wealthy areas as well as ‘slums’),
- Movements that critique identity politics, inventing more inclusive societal security and conflict resolution practices (in refugee areas, or sites of sectarian conflict),
- Movements to protect popular cultures, spaces and forms of embodiment and popular religiosity from moralistic attacks (new Sufi movements, public sexualities, etc), and
- Other gender or class-inflected creative movements that are working to secure public bodies and streets or community spaces against harassment or displacement.  

In particular, we aim to help social groups in communities recognized as conflict resolvers or security innovators, or those targeted as dangerous, racialized, immoral, or crime-generating. We assert that their voices and innovations should be the center of the security-reform process. Our researchers and facilitators focus on certain local community case studies, in depth. This local focus on certain innovative spaces allows our team to develop contextualized perspectives, to gather qualitative and quantitative data, and build relationships of trust. To  coninute reading the concept paper click here.