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Contemporary Security Studies

Contemporary Security Studies (6th edn)

Alan Collins
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date: 13 August 2022

p. 43729. After the Return to Theory: The Past, Present, and Future of Security Studieslocked

p. 43729. After the Return to Theory: The Past, Present, and Future of Security Studieslocked

  • Ole Wæver
  •  and Barry Buzan

Abstract

This chapter presents an interpretation of the past and present of security studies with an emphasis on the changing periods of theory production and practical problem solving. The field started out as a distinct US specialty much shaped by the new conditions of the 1940s set by nuclear weapons and a long-term mobilization against the Soviet Union, two factors that created a need for a new kind of civilian expert in defence and strategy. From an American, think-tank-based, interdisciplinary field, security studies became institutionalized as a part of one discipline, International Relations (IR), increasingly international and with theory anchored in the universities. Since the 1990s, the field has been in a new period of high theory productivity, but largely in two separate clusters with the USA and Europe as centres of each. This analysis is used as a basis for raising some central questions and predictions about the future of the field.

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