The Open UniversitySkip to content

Forget Equality? Security and Liberty in the 'War on Terror'

Aradau, Claudia (2008). Forget Equality? Security and Liberty in the 'War on Terror'. Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 33(3) pp. 293–314.

Full text available as:
PDF (Not Set) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (154Kb)
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


The 'war on terror' has triggered intense debates about the role of security and liberty, the trade-off between security and liberty, the meaning of security and the power of civil liberties. Nonetheless, while security has been closely dissected either as a governmental or exceptional practice, liberty has been largely shrouded in silence. Rather than contesting practices of security, liberty appeared degraded, a fetish, justifying restrictions and regulating conduct. This article unpacks the conditions of possibility for the degradation of freedom in the 'war on terror,� and argues that freedom degenerates when its relation with equality is severed and it is instead tied up with security. Rather than the dichotomy liberty/security, I consider the triadic relationship with equality and the implications of the double demise of equality: On the one hand, the demise of equality from theories of security (starting with Hobbes); and on the other, the demise of equality in contemporary social and political thought.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2008, SAGE Publications
ISSN: 2163-3150
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetChallenge FP6 project
Keywords: liberty; security; equality; terror; political theory;
Academic Unit/Department: Social Sciences > Politics and International Studies
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG)
Item ID: 12383
Depositing User: Claudia Aradau
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2008 07:30
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2014 12:40
Share this page:


Scopus Citations

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340