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What Is International Security and How Do We Study It?

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Todd Robinson UIUC

on 9 December 2013

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Transcript of What Is International Security and How Do We Study It?

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli
What Is International Security and How Do We Study It?
Defining Security and Insecurity
Traditional definition is "protection of things that are valued" and conversely, "threats to things that are valued"
Well, it depends...
Traditional emphasis by scholars of International Relations was the physical security of the state

Realists and "High Politics"
Machiavelli - The preeminence of the state
Thomas Hobbes - Anarchy
Hans Morgenthau - the "National Interest"

The Move Away From the State
Barry Buzan (1983) Introduced us to different kinds of security
Military Security
Economic Security
Political Security
Societal Security
Environmental Security
Other Forms of Security
Human Security (with a major focus on Women's security, increasingly includes LGBT issues)
Global Security

The Perception of Security & Securitization
What does it mean to securitize something?
Why would it be beneficial to securitize something?
The perception of security (securitization)
The subjective vs. objective debate

Whose Job is it to Provide or Ensure Security
What, then, is International Security?
Approaches to the Study of Security
International Relations
Comparative Politics
As a stand-alone discipline (Security Studies)

More on Levels of Analysis
Waltz's Images
The State
The Individual
The System
Lots of Levels of Analysis
How Do We Use Levels of Analysis?

Economic Security
Deals with a state's access to the resources, finance and markets necessary to sustain acceptable levels of welfare and state power.
Political Security
Focused on the organizational stability of states, systems of government and the ideologies that give them their legitimacy.
Societal Security
Centered on the sustainability and evolution of traditional patterns of language, culture, and religions, as well as national identity and custom.
Environmental Security
Concerned with maintenance of the local and planetary biosphere as the essential support system on which all other human enterprises depend.
Military Security
Concerned with the interplay between the armed offensive and defensive capabilities of states and states' perspectives of each other's intentions.
IR & Security
Neoliberalism (Institutionalism)
Peace Science
Comparative Politics
Looks at security from sub-state levels of analysis
Groups (Ethnic, Religious, etc.)
Compares how these compare across states and regions
Security Studies
Argues that IR and comparative politics do not provide the theories or tools needed to study contemporary security issues. This will be one of the big questions of this class, should we consider security studies to be a separate field? For example, can IR or comparative really tell us everything we need to know about nuclear proliferation?
Biggest Fears in the World (%)
Crime - 27%
Terrorism - 15%
Health - 13%
Accidents/Natural Disasters - 12%
War - 8%
Biggest Fears for Africans (%)
Economic Insecurity - 37%
Disease - 21%
Corruption - 7%
Illiteracy - 6%
War - 6%
Political Conflict - 5%
Environmental Destruction - 3%
Biggest Fears for EU Citizens
Crime - 76%
Economic - 52%
Terrorism - 33%
Environment - 12%
Natural Disaster - 11%
Accidents - 10%
War - 7%
Human Rights Abuses - 6%
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