In some of its earliest usages in the English common law tradition, the term security referred to the incorporation of a collateral object—property, currency, or even persons—into a social pledge, court requirement, or financial obligation; in the phrasing of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), a security may refer to “property pledged (or, occasionally, a person held) to guarantee someone’s good conduct, appearance at court at a specified time, or fulfillment of some other obligation” (OED Online, “security,” n.d.). The fact that the noun security has for some five hundred years signaled the reservation of property, including in some cases enslaved or incarcerated human beings, as a type of backing for a contract or requirement of a legal authority suggests that security has a relationship to both the rise of the state and the types of economic contact, appropriation, circulation, and mobility embedded in capitalist systems of property and exchange. The process of securitization refers to transformations in a subject, system, or state that are conceived as reducing the risk of harm or danger emerging from some specific social or environmental context. Securitization may take place on many scales and for many types of entities, ranging from an individual human to...

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