In The Security Principle, French philosopher Frédéric Gros takes a historical approach to the concept of “security,” looking at its evolution from the Stoics to the social network. With lucidity and rigour, Gros’s approach is fourfold, looking at security as a mental state, as developed by the Greeks; as an objective situation and absence of all danger, as prevailed in the Middle Ages; as guaranteed by the nation state and its trio of judiciary, police and military; and finally “biosecurity,” control, regulation and protection in the flux of contemporary society. In this deeply thought-provoking account, Gros’s exploration of security shines a light both on its past meanings as well as its present uses, exposing the contemporary abuses of security and the pervasiveness of it in everyday life in the Global North.
“Frédéric Gros’s genealogy of security is an outstanding study in political thought. Security Principle covers a lot of ground, from Ancient Greece to contemporary biopolitics, illuminating key transformations in the meaning of the concept of security. Written in a lucid and accessible way, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in how we have come to be so insecure about security.”
“In this veritable tour de force, Gros offers an erudite and engaging journey in the history of Western philosophy. He shows how different meanings of security have been sedimented, layer by layer, across thinkers and traditions and the ways in which these meanings are reconfigured in our present. Ultimately, Gros alerts us to the silent siren of security that dangerously allures us while it muffles the promise of politics: the possibility and the hope of changing the world.”