The character and value of vernacular security: the case of South West Cameroon

Bruce Baker, Manu Lekunze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This article reports the findings of field research into the vernacular understanding of security in South West Cameroon. It was found that security significantly contested; it is both objective and subjective; it is communal, whilst at the same time requiring individual l responsibility of personal security; it favours certainty and stability; it draws on a multiplicity of providers, and it goes beyond traditional conceptualisations. The findings make it clear that there are wide divergences between the typical state and donor driven security reform programmes, and people’s perceived security needs. The definition of security is challenged by popular understandings. In addition, though not rejecting the need for state security, it is evident that many more actors are engaged in security provision and personal safety than state actors, and that these actors need to be accounted for in reform programmes. Conclusion draw out advantages of the vernacular approach in security reform programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-224
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Contemporary African Studies
Issue number2-3
Early online date17 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • vernacular security
  • contested security
  • security studies
  • international relations
  • security in Cameroon


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