Security and Insecurity in Contemporary Society Safety is a basic human need and a right both in the «social» and «civil» meanings (R. Castel). After taking care of the former through welfare and the latter through the rule of law, today the modern state is challenged by a growing feeling of insecurity among its citizens. They appear to be frightened by varying phenomena, such as crime, terrorism, market and labour flexibility, staggering social protection, etc. In order to understand those phenomena, a distinction can be made among: 1) dangers, that have no intentionality (like natural disasters); 2) threats, that have a great deal of intentionality (like crime and terrorism); and 3) risks that, like globalization, are unintended consequences of rational decisions. Currently, both the market and the public powers give inadequate responses (privatization; alarmism vs. elusion) to the citizens’ feelings of insecurity.