This chapter examines the Copenhagen School and its securitization model. The Copenhagen School broadens the definition of security by encompassing five different sectors: military, political, societal, economic, and environmental security. It first provides an overview of the Copenhagen School’s securitization model before discussing its application to empirical research as well as the limitations of the securitization model. It then considers the role of the securitizing actor and the importance of the ‘speech act’ in convincing a specific audience of a threat’s existential nature. It argues that the Copenhagen School allows for non-military matters to be included in Security Studies while still offering a coherent understanding of the concept of security. It also describes the dangers and the negative connotations of securitizing an issue and concludes with some cases of securitization, including the securitization of undocumented migration, securitization of drug trafficking, and the failure of securitization in the Iraq War.
Catarina Thomson and Stephane Baele
This chapter introduces securitization theory, situating its intellectual roots and tracing its emergence and evolution as a framework for analysis, and spelling out its main concepts and dimensions. The chapter also presents four empirical cases in securitization research—migration, religion, the environment and climate change, and health (including how COVID-19 has been securitized). Finally, the chapter addresses the key criticisms and challenges that have been voiced against securitization theory. These are threefold—the theory has been said to lack coherence, the empirical methods used by securitization researchers have been claimed to lack rigor, and the normative and critical status of the framework has been debated.