Leadership Fellows

Professor Louise Amoore

Durham University

Securing Against Future Events (SAFE); Pre-emption, Protocols and Publics

Nine leading academics were appointed as Global Uncertainties Leadership Fellows under PaCCS in 2013. They provided leadership for the Partnership undertaking high quality research and knowledge exchange projects across themes of radicalisation, religion and beliefs, trust, ethics, and national security.

At the time of her appointment as a Fellow, Louise Amoore was Professor of Political Geography at Durham University. Her research focused upon the changing nature of contemporary security calculations, with particular interest in the technologies of risk-based, biometric, and data-led border controls. Her work at the time of her fellowship focused on examining the implications of derivative forms of data for security, ethics and democracy.

Louise’s book, The Politics of Possibility: Risk and Security Beyond Probability maps out the politics of possibility that has come to characterise contemporary life, tracing its genesis into the diverse worlds of risk consulting, computer science, commercial logistics, and data mining and visualisation.

Project Summary

Louise’s Global Uncertainties Leadership Fellowship was entitled Securing Against Future Events (SAFE); Pre-emption, Protocols and Publics and explored how inferred futures become the basis for new forms of security risk calculus.

In the decade following the events of September 11 2001, security against potential terrorist attack significantly changed in its form and emphasis. In many of the post-event analyses, the security problem is understood to be how to take action on the basis of uncertain, unforeseen and unanticipated events. This project sought to advance knowledge and understanding of these futures-oriented and pre-emptive security and was organised around three thematic streams:

  • inferred futures, or how future threats can be inferred in advance;
  • enacting decision, or how action can be taken even where information is partial or fragmentary; and
  • publics and proportionality, or how judgements can be reached on what is a proportionate pre-emptive security measure.

Within the project, research focused specifically on the deployment of digital data and analytics within border security programmes.

Related Information

Project Website

University Website


More or Less, The Mathematics of Terror – BBC Radio 4

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