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Contemporary Security Studies

Contemporary Security Studies (5th edn)

Alan Collins
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date: 05 December 2023

p. 917. Critical Security Studies: A Schismatic Historylocked

p. 917. Critical Security Studies: A Schismatic Historylocked

  • David Mutimer


This chapter provides a partial history of the label ‘Critical Security Studies’ and the way it has developed and fragmented since the early 1990s. It considers the primary claims of the major divisions that have emerged within the literatures to which the label has been applied: constructivism, critical theory, and poststructuralism. It looks at the 1994 conference held at York University in Toronto entitled Strategies in Conflict: Critical Approaches to Security Studies, which spawned a book called Critical Security Studies: Concepts and Cases (1997b), and Security: A New Framework for Analysis (1998), which was published to serve as a relatively comprehensive statement of ‘securitization studies’, or the Copenhagen School. The chapter argues that Critical Security Studies needs to foster an ‘ethos of critique’ in either the study or refusal of security. Finally, it examines Ken Booth’s views on poststructuralism as part of a broad Critical Security Studies.

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