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Cover Contemporary Security Studies

16. Societal Security  

Paul Roe

This chapter explores the concept of societal security. It starts by looking at how society came to be conceived as a referent object of security in its own right. It then goes on to discuss the so-called Copenhagen School’s understanding of both society and societal identity, showing how societal security is tied most of all to the maintenance of ethno-national identities. In looking at threats to societal security, through examples, such as the former Yugoslavia and Northern Ireland, the chapter discusses a number of those means that can prevent or hinder the reproduction of collective identity, and, in turn, how societies may react to such perceived threats. The chapter concludes by considering some of the main critiques of the concept as an analytical tool.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Security Studies

7. Critical Security Studies: A Schismatic History  

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.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Security Studies

12. Securitization Theory  

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.