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

Bruce Baker, Manu Lekunze* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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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