Setting the Aperture Wider: A synthesis of research and policy advice on security pluralism in Tunis, Nairobi and Beirut

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In contexts of security pluralism, an array of actors assert claims on the use of force, operating simultaneously and with varying relationships to the state. In such contexts, security providers may acquire legitimacy by proving more effective and efficient, proximate and relevant to local populations, and are often cheaper than state alternatives. Yet, plural security actors are frequently associated with human rights violations, perverse interface with the state, difficulty in providing security equitably in contexts of diversity, and an almost ineluctable tendency toward net production of insecurity over time.

Donors have few policy or practical tools with which to engage meaningfully in contexts of plural security provision. Since directly engaging plural security providers would mean upsetting relationships with state partners, conferring legitimacy on groups with unpalatable goals or tactics, or tacitly endorsing violence as a path to political privilege, donors prefer to focus on official security agencies and state oversight.

Plural Security Insights and its partners have developed the research project outlined here to address that dearth of relevant policy and programming advice. Comparative research was conducted in three urban contexts: Beirut, Nairobi, and Tunis.

The individual publications of the case studies are:

Beirut, a safe refuge? Urban refugees accessing security in a context of plural provision

Hustling for Security: Managing plural security in Nairobi’s poor urban settlements

L’offre plurielle de sécurité dans le Grand Tunis: Quelles alternatives à l’État pour combler le « vide » sécuritaire?

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2016