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date: 13 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

If nation states over the last decades have characteristically reduced the scope of their activities and delegated tasks to other actors, as research has shown, the area of the national security state is one which deviates from that general trend. The chapter traces the structural, organizational, and technological changes that have contributed to the transformation of this state dimension—especially after the 9/11 terrorist attacks—and illustrates them with examples from several countries. Both from a theoretical perspective and from empirical evidence it is argued that the national security state has severely impacted on civil rights and the working of the democratic political systems, that its resource requirements have risen substantially, and that problems of controlling executive action in this area have become quite evident, not least by the recent revelations about comprehensive surveillance activities by security services such as the NSA.

Keywords: national security state, nation states, homeland security, Harold Lasswell, garrison state, police, secret service, civil rights, international cooperation, terrorism

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