Sebastian Larsson recently published the article 'The Civil Paradox' in the International Journal of Migration and Border StudiesThe article critically analyses the role of so-called civil security for arms companies, from both a technological and socio-political point of view. It discusses how arms firms like Saab from Sweden increasingly absorb some of their most sophisticated innovations from the development of civil, rather than military, security technologies. Their civil security products are then sold and put to work in a range of practical areas, moving through a logic of ‘scalability’ from various sites of surveillance like the refugee detention centre, to the policing operation, the EU border, and even the battlefield. Drawing on recent examples of Swedish arms export, the article also shows how civil security serves as a political façade with which exporting companies can obscure highly controversial arms trade negotiations in human rights-infringing countries, and instead draw attention to seemingly ‘neutral’ notions like innovation and development.

‘The Civil Paradox’ is part of a special issue in the International Journal of Migration and Border Studies dealing with the many paradoxes emerging from the relations between freedom, technology, and surveillance. The special issue also includes articles by critical security scholars like Didier Bigo, Emma Mc Cluskey, Médéric Martin-Mazé, and Leonie Ansems de Vries.