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Privatization of CSM


Admission requirements

  • Students must be enrolled in the CSM Master program;

  • At least 8 students must enroll for the course to take place;

  • A maximum of 30 students can participate, on a first come, first serve basis.


The provision of security is traditionally seen as a public monopoly. Nowadays however, private parties are increasingly engaged in the provision of security. Some speak therefore of the ‘nodalization of security’ in which the state is just one of the providers of security. Others pose that a 'security dispositive' includes both public and private actors, cooperating under the potential guidance of the state. From a governance perspective, new important questions and dilemmas can be discerned from the changing relationships between public and private security. How do these different actors interact with each other? Further, what are the implications for democratic accountability, the upholding of civil rights and other governance issues surrounding the emergence of hybrid forms of security provisions?

Students will get acquainted with the multitude of for profit private security actors, such as security guards, private intelligence, private military companies and security consultants. Additionally, actors that are traditionally not seen as belonging to the private security industry will be examined in relation to security issues. Finally, citizen participation is discussed as well.
By studying relevant theoretical insights and research papers students will get familiar with the theoretical debate concerning the privatization of security and main empirical findings.

Course objectives

At the end of the course:

  1. Students are able to define and analyze the concept of private security, are able to recount the history and development of the private security industry, and can explain this development from different perspectives (privatization, commodification and responsibilization).
  2. Students have advanced knowledge and understanding of the role and function of the security technological industry and emerging technologies as drivers for change in our way of thinking about private security and in developing concrete security practices.
  3. Students are able to identify the different parts of the private security industry (guarding, investigation/intelligence, military and security technological industry), explain their distinct features, and recount their development.
  4. Students are able to evaluate on the added value but also the pitfalls of public-private cooperation regarding security, and can point out specific examples of this kind of cooperation. They can explain public-private coordination in terms of a junior partner model, an economic market model, and a responsibilized network model
  5. Students are able to demonstrate human rights issues and accountability issues with the use of private forces regarding security issues, and students can analyze these issues accordingly, by relating these issues to current events.
  6. Students are able to write a policy letter on the issue of privatization of crisis and security management.


On the right-hand side of the programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Blackboard.

Mode of instruction

This course consists of seven seminars.

Participation in seminars, discussions and exercises is required in order to obtain a grade. One lecture may be missed.

Course Load

Total study load: 140 hours:

  • Lectures: 21 hours

  • Self-study: 119 hours

Self-study consists both of reading the material provided and writing the midterms and the policy paper.
The mandatory reading material consists of about 20 articles

Assessment method

  • Midterm assignment 1 (15% of final grade)

  • Midterm assignment 2 (15% of final grade)

  • Policy paper (70% of final grade)

The midterms are between 750 and 1.500 words
The policy paper is between 2.800 and 3.400 words

Compensation rule: Only assessments with the weight lower than 30% are compensable. This means that one does not have to pass an assessment if it weighs less than 30% in order to pass the course, if the average of all assessments combined is at least a 5.5. In addition, assignments with less than 30% are not re-sitable, meaning that if one failed an assessment of less than 30%, one is not allowed to redo it.

The resit takes the same form.


The corresponding Blackboard course will become available at least one week before the start of the classes. Blackboard will be used to put literature and PowerPoint presentations online.

Reading list

Literature will made available on Blackboard. No books need to be purchased, all material will be available either online or in the library.


Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.

Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted there.


Dr. Joery Matthys:
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP Den Haag
Room: 4.01
Phone number: +31 (0)71 527 6688