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.
29. After the Return to Theory: The Past, Present, and Future of Security Studies
Ole Wæver and Barry Buzan
20. Strategic Studies and its Critics
This chapter examines key themes in the criticism levelled at strategic studies. It begins with a discussion of the relationship between strategic studies and its critics in the ‘golden age’, a period that saw the rise to prominence of a new breed of strategic thinker, the ‘civilian strategist’. These civilian strategists favoured the incorporation of game theory and systems analysis into the study of nuclear strategy and deterrence. After reviewing prominent critical appraisals of deterrence theory in the 1960s, the chapter explains how these critiques were subsequently addressed by strategic theorists. It then considers the emergence of a ‘third wave’ of strategists that engaged in a reconstructive critique of strategy, before concluding with an analysis of recent critical approaches to strategic studies that have focused on its role in constructing a particular Western-centric vision of world order, the relationship between strategic theory and policymaking, and the language of strategic studies.
3. Cooperation and Conflict in the Global Political Economy
Vinod K. Aggarwal and Cédric Dupont
This chapter discusses the problems of collaboration and coordination in the global political economy. It first identifies situations that might require states to work with each other to achieve a desired outcome. It then turns to a focus on basic game theory as an analytical tool to tackle the nature of collaboration and coordination efforts. International cooperation can help to address three typical problems associated with the process of global economic integration: a temptation to free ride, an inhibiting fear, and a need to find meeting points in situations where collaboration will produce differing costs and benefits to governments. Different types of problems associated with the process of global integration call for different solutions to address these three typical problems, ranging from the provision of binding rules to facilitating mechanisms. A country's need for international cooperation depends on its sociopolitical structure as well as on the structure and flexibility of its economy. Finally, the chapter considers how institutions might play a role in enhancing the prospects for cooperative behaviour.