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The Insecurity StateVulnerable Autonomy and the Right to Security in the Criminal Law$
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Peter Ramsay

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199581061

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199581061.001.0001

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The Insecurity State

The Insecurity State

(p.212) 10 The Insecurity State
The Insecurity State

Peter Ramsay

Oxford University Press

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

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