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Contemporary Security Studies

Contemporary Security Studies (6th edn)

Alan Collins
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date: 11 December 2023

p. 907. Critical Security Studies: A Schismatic Historylocked

p. 907. Critical Security Studies: A Schismatic Historylocked

  • Mutimer David
  •  and Derek Verbakel


This chapter provides a partial history of a label. It is partial both in that it is not, and cannot be, complete, and in that I, David Mutimer, am both the author of, and participant in, the history. It is therefore partial in the way all other history is partial. The label is ‘Critical Security Studies’. The chapter tells a story of the origin of the label and the way it has developed and fragmented since the early 1990s. It sets out 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. Ultimately, the chapter suggests that Critical Security Studies needs to foster an ‘ethos of critique’ in either the study or refusal of security, and that the chapter is an instance of that ethos directed at Critical Security Studies itself.

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