At the Crux: Security, Development and Pettiness in the Global South

with Dr. Luis Eslava

Stockholm Center for International Law and Justice invites you to a seminar with:

Dr. Luis Eslava

on the topic

At the Crux: Security, Development and Pettiness in the Global South

From the Security Council’s high-level machinations right down to the street-corner debates taking place in the poorest and smartest of neighbourhoods, ‘security’ — propelled around the world via national defence ministries, police departments, private security companies, international and local NGOs and neighbourhoods watch groups  — has become the 21st century’s zeitgeist. Long debated in the academic literature, this security craze has now become entangled, in the Global South in particular, with the zeitgeist of the previous century: ‘development’. In this talk, which draws on the findings of an ongoing multi-year ethnographic collaboration, I engage with the promises and limits of the peculiar offspring of this encounter: ‘Security and Development’. Using the Colombian city of Cali as my main case study, I will explore how, rather than helping states move beyond insecurity, exclusion and material inequalities by strengthening social relations, official institutions and legal frameworks, the initiatives associated with ‘Security and Development’ have instead produced a very particular set of precarious institutional and human arrangements. I characterise this precarity as moving in the realm of ‘pettiness’: a term I use to suggest both the marginal kinds of solutions that have come ultimately to form the core of the ‘Security and Development’ narrative, and the flimsiness that marks those institutional and human arrangements that are its practical results. The outcome is a resilient liminality across the board and a perpetuation of the insecurity which this regime is ostensibly designed to address.

Luis Eslava is a Senior Lecturer in International Law and Co-Director of the Centre for Critical International Law at Kent Law School (KLS). He also holds visiting positions at Melbourne Law School and Universidad Externado de Colombia, and he is a faculty member at the Institute for Global Law and Policy, Harvard Law School. Using a socio-legal method, his research explores the multiple ways in which international norms and practices shape and become part of everyday life, particularly in the developing world. His work has been recognised by numerous awards, including the 2016 SLSA Hart Socio-Legal Book Prize and the 2016 SLSA Prize for Early Career Academics. International Governance Innovation and on the editorial board of the Journal of International Dispute Settlement.

Registration (voluntary):, by 7th of November 2018


This event has been made possible by support from the Edvard Cassel Foundation.