351.3 Producing and organizing markets in private security. The commodification of surveillance and protection in Argentina

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 3:00 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Federico LORENC VALCARCE , Instituto de Investigaciones Gino Germani, CONICET-University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
This paper presents a systematic analysis of the private security market in Argentina. Specialized firms, companies and individual entrepreneurs offer protection, monitoring, escort, access control, and surveillance for sale. These services and devices are classified under the category of “private security” which serves to organize the operations of companies and give them an unified social visibility. These agents compete with each other and the exchange between them and their clients is organized as a market, introducing different structuring principles: price, loyalty, niches. In order to address these problems, I first analyze the ties and power relations that structure the private security industry, considering the diversity of agents, services and symbols involved in this field. I discuss then the rhetoric of prevention that accompanies the marketing of private security services, how they adapt to customer demands and the needs groups and organizations meet with the consumption of such products.