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SOURCE Conference "Responding to societal needs through security policy"

By Caroline Schuster
Wednesday, November 28 2018
08:30 to 19:00








SOURCE Societal Security Conference 

Responding to societal needs through security policy

28 November, Centre for European Policy Studies, Brussels


Programme main features

  • Keynote lectures
  • Multi-stakeholder panel discussions confronting scientific insights with policy realities surrounding 4 thematic areas:
    • Managing the freedom-technology-surveillance paradox
    • Integrating the heterodox political groups into security policy
    • Governing the Internet of Things
    • Assuring ethical conduct when countering violent extremism
  • Wide ranging debates on how best respond to societal security needs through security policy
  • Over 20 speakers, actors and experts in the field, including Sir Julian King (European Commissioner for the Security Union), Eva Joly (European Parliament) and Erroll Southers (University of Southern California)
  • Presentation of the main outcomes of SOURCE and the laureates of the SOURCE Film competition
  • Networking


SOURCE Travel support conference

(For PhD students applying for travel support, please fill in relevant question in registration form)


The conclusion of the 5-year EU Network of Excellence and its evolution to a new and independent entity will be marked by an international conference.


The conversation about what makes European society what it is—and what potentially threatens it—involves many voices and many perspectives. SOURCE is an EU Network of Excellence whose aim is to provide a framework, tools and basic data, to facilitate this conversation.

It brings together policy makers, industry representatives, technology specialists, academics, civil society and end-users, and tries to resolve and harmonise crisscrossing and sometimes conflicting understandings about what societal security is and should be.

Through documentation, information, debate, and dissemination, SOURCE attempts to connect dots between the differing stakeholders concerned with societal security in Europe.

Societal security

Societal security is a response to a perception that society is under threat. Where traditional security is concerned with the security of the state and state sovereignty, societal security is concerned with threat to society itself.

To say that society is under threat is to say that the properties that make Europe what it is—the every-changing ‘we’ of the European project—are under threat. 

Beyond the formal, administrative definitions like passports or identity cards, there are a set of convictions about who we are and what holds us together. These include values like human rights, democracy, rule of law, secularity, rationality, humanism, etc. 

These values are under constant debate and reformulation. But it is this conversation about what they are, which is at the core of keeping them secure. Society is secure when these values - and their legitimate contestation - are secure.

4 societal security concepts

The conference will be structured around 4 concept-based panels, based on existing SOURCE thematic working groups, framed by keynote interventions and a conclusion.

1/ Managing the Freedom-Technology-Surveillance Paradox

2/ Integrating the heterodox political groups into security policy

3/ Governing the Internet of Things

4/ Assuring ethical conduct when countering violent extremism

These concepts will anchor panels based on sharp, well-chaired discussions between researchers and practitioners, half from SOURCE, half from beyond SOURCE.

Panel 1/ Managing the Freedom-Technology-Surveillance Paradox

This panel explores the way in which the dynamics at work between freedom, security and fear of global threats has evolved into a vision of 'solutions' to insecurity based on technological tools and a different economy of surveillance, restructuring the idea of criminal justice and presumption of innocence towards a preventive, pro-active, predictive understanding of 'security'. this paradigmatic change, and its effects, will be explored through a trans-disciplinary approach connecting international politics, sociology of technology, socio-legal analysis, sociology of surveillance and anthropological research on borders.

Panel 2/ Integrating the heterodox political groups into security policy

This panel will discuss how extremist and radicalised groups, organising around specific ideologies and belief systems are considered as a significant security challenge across Europe. Their radicalised activists justify all kinds of criminal acts and even terrorists attacks as legitimate means to pursue their ideologically motivated ends. The standard categories, used by law enforcement, public discourse and the research community distinguish between politically left-wing and right-wing extremism, nationalist-separatist and religiously motivated groups. In our thematic working group, we focus on recently emerging new type of extremism, developing new forms of protest, sometimes also spilling over into violent actions. The term heterodox is used as a label for groups showing a number of features cutting across the standard categories used to describe the field of extremist and radical movements.

Panel 3/ Governing the Internet of Things

This panel will discuss the new relationship between people and machines brought about by the Internet of Things, beyond the new potentially valuable services and the need for a better security, IoT implies a new relationship between people and machines. Machines are gaining a higher level of autonomy thanks to artificial intelligence and they are able to interact by themselves, without human intervention. Within this scenario people could be starting to lose some control on their own information and could be led into a state of full dependency on machines. At the same time, according to the European Commission, the market value of the IoT in the EU is expected to exceed one trillion euros in 2020. At the same time, the pervasive connectivity brings about new security and safety challenges.

Panel 4/ Assuring ethical conduct when countering violent extremism

This panel will explore the justification and effects of ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ (CVE) CVE from an ethical perspective. On the one hand, there is strong support in European countries for fighting extremist ideology that justifies political violence. On the other hand, these efforts have entailed a broadening of counter-terrorism into ever new realms of social and cultural life that were previously separated from security politics in liberal democratic countries. Yet, experts on radicalisation and extremism present us with quite a different picture of the connections between values, violence and extremism. When explaining radicalisation, they emphasise a range of other values, like social recognition, self-esteem, belonging and justice. Mental problems, social marginalisation and political exclusion are highlighted as causes of extremism rather than the belief in extremist values as such.


Detailed programme 


Welcoming Guests and Participants


Conference opening

Welcome: Sergio Carreras, Centre for European Policy Studies

Opening remarks: J. Peter Burgess, SOURCE Scientific Coordinator


Panel 1/ Managing the Freedom-Technology-Surveillance Paradox

Chair: Didier Bigo (KCL)

Speakers: Eva Joly (European Parliament), Christian Olsson (ULB), Federica Infantino (ULB), Reinhard Kreissl (VICESSE)


Panel 2/ Integrating the heterodox political groups into security policy

Chair: Reinhard Kreissl (VICESSE)

Speakers: Erroll G. Southers (University of Southern California), Judith Faessler (Bavarian Intelligence Services),  Kristoffer Lidén (PRIO) 


Coffee break


Panel 3/ Governing the Internet of Things

Chair: Javier Herrera (TECNALIA)

Speakers: Hui Song (SINTEF), Karsten Dehler (IT-Forum), Georgios Kolliarakis (German Council on Foreign Relations)


Lunch break


Keynote Address – Sir Julian King (European Commissioner for the Security Union) : 'Implementing the Security Union: Priority Areas & Future Challenges'


Panel 4/ Assuring ethical conduct when countering violent extremism

Chair: Kristoffer Lidén (PRIO)

Speakers: Sara Gambino (Ministry of Justice in Italy, Triveneto Directorate), Ervjola Selenica (University of Sussex), Alessandra Russo (Sciences PO Bordeaux), Ben Hayes (PRIO), Francesco Ragazzi (University of Leiden) & Sarah Perret (ENS)


Conference closing

Conclusion: J. Peter Burgess, SOURCE Scientific Coordinator

The way forward: Reinhard Kreissl, Director SOURCE Virtual Centre of Excellence


Roundtable discussion: 'The Societal Challenges of Asylum and Migration in the 21st Century'

Followed by the screening of films awarded by SOURCE Film competition: 'Societal challenges of Humanitarian Refugee Crisis'





CEPS - Centre for European Policy Studies
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