From entitlements to power structures: Improving analysis for community security programming
December 2016
From entitlements to power structures: Improving analysis for community security programming
Synthesis report
Megan Price & Erwin van Veen


Security is experienced at the personal level, but it is often determined at the political level. That is, security arrangements tend to be functions of existing power structures that are organized to maintain power and privilege. This is why community security programmes must account for, and be responsive to, the structures of power and political forces that influence local security. Available evidence suggests that the principle of security as an entitlement should be better reconciled with the empirical reality that security is often organised as a means of enforcement.

The present report substantiates why needs analysis alone is inadequate for generating a good understanding of security in a particular community. It proposes a complementary approach to analysing community security that is more power-oriented. The report also examines how a number of international non-governmental organisations undertake analysis for designing and implementing their community security programmes, and offers suggestions to strengthen these processes.

About the authors

Megan Price is a Senior Research Fellow for the Conflict Research Unit of Clingendael. As a CRU fellow, Megan contributes research on international strategies for supporting security reform in challenging settings. Her current research focuses on security provision as a negotiated political process, and the role of informal and non-conventional actors in statebuilding.

Erwin van Veen is a Senior Research Fellow with Clingendael’s Conflict Research Unit. A political scientist by training, Erwin applies this lens to research about the power dynamics and organization of security and justice in conflict-prone environments. On top of this, extensive travel in the Middle East after secondary school engendered a lasting interest in the region’s conflicts.

Cover photo

Afghan boys look at canal project in Gorgai Village
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