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Security has become a defining feature of contemporary public discourse, permeating the so-called 'war on terror', problems of everyday crime and disorder, the reconstruction of 'weak' or 'failed' states and the dramatic renaissance of the private security industry. But what does it mean for individuals to be secure, and what is the relationship between security and the practices of the modern state? In this timely and important book, Ian Loader and Neil Walker outline and defend the view that security remains a valuable public good. They argue that the state is indispensable to the task of fostering and sustaining liveable political communities in the contemporary world and thus pivotal to the project of civilizing security. This is a major contribution by two leading scholars in the field and will be of interest to anyone wishing to deepen their understanding of one the most significant and pressing issues of our times.