This chapter provides an introduction to Security Studies, the sub-discipline of International Relations that deals with the study of security. War and the threat to use force are part of the security equation, but the prevalence of threats is far-reaching for Security Studies. They encompass dangers ranging from pandemic and environmental degradation to terrorism and inter-state armed conflict. The latter is actually a sub-field of Security Studies and is known as Strategic Studies. This edition examines differing approaches to the study of security, such as realism, liberalism, social constructivism, and postcolonialism. It also investigates the deepening and broadening of security to include military security, regime security, societal security, environmental security, and economic security. Finally, it discusses a range of traditional and non-traditional issues that have emerged on the security agenda, including weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, energy security, and health.
1. Introduction: What is Security Studies?
20. Prisons and camps
This chapter explores prisons and camps, and their inherent security logics and security practices from the global to the intimate. It begins by illustrating how the growth of prisons and camps is connected to state building and national and global dimensions of security. The chapter then considers how order and security are institutionally produced—that is, how these are intrinsically designed into spaces of incarceration. By exposing the visceral realities of encampment and incarceration, from the micro-practices to the macro-issues on a global scale, we can question security for whom and at whose expense. By asking these questions, we gain better insights into how a generated need for national and international security has led to unprecedented numbers of people who are incarcerated or displaced.
24. Energy Security
Sam Raphael and Doug Stokes
This chapter examines growing concerns over global energy security, as continuing demand for fossil fuels by industrialized economies is matched by increasing uncertainties over future energy reserves. With a particular focus on the politics of oil (which remains the key global energy source), it will assess the ways in which increasing energy insecurity amongst the world’s major powers will impact upon international security more broadly, and will discuss different understandings of the likelihood of future ‘resource wars’ and a new era of geo-political rivalry. The chapter will also examine the impact that the search for energy security by states in the Global North has upon the human security of communities in the oil-rich Global South. Finally, the chapter will examine the central role played by the USA in underpinning global energy security in the post-war era, and the impact that this has had for oil-rich regions.
J. Ann Tickner and Laura Sjoberg
This chapter examines feminist perspectives on international relations. It first provides a historical background on the development of feminist IR, paying attention to different kinds of feminist analyses of gender. It then considers feminist perspectives on international security and global politics, along with developments in feminist reanalyses and reformulations of security theory. It illustrates feminist security theory by analysing the case of the United Nations Security Council sanctions on Iraq following the First Gulf War. The chapter concludes by assessing the contributions that feminist IR can make to the practice of world politics in general and to the discipline of IR in particular.
From international politics to world politics
Patricia Owens, John Baylis, and Steve Smith
This text offers a comprehensive analysis of world politics in a global era. It examines the main theories of world politics—realism, liberalism, Marxism, social constructivism, poststructuralism, post-colonialism, and feminism. It reviews the main structures and processes that shape contemporary world politics, such as global political economy, international security, war, gender, and race. Furthermore, it addresses some of the main policy issues in the globalized world, including poverty, human rights, and the environment. This introduction offers some arguments both for and against seeing globalization as an important new development in world politics. It also explains the various terms used to describe world politics and the academic field, particularly the use of ‘world politics’ rather than ‘international politics’ or ‘international relations’. Finally, it summarizes the main assumptions underlying realism, liberalism, Marxism, social constructivism, post-structuralism, post-colonialism, and feminism.
7. War and socio-political orders
Victoria M. Basham
This chapter evaluates the relationship between war and society. The tendency to define war as fighting has led humanity to collectively condemn and attempt to curtail war horrors through international laws and regulatory practices. It is therefore easy to see why states around the world see preparing for war and waging it as vital to their security. The chapter focuses on three key questions: where is war? How is war possible? What (or who) does war secure? Asking these questions enables a deeper understanding of the choices that societies make about why, when, and where to fight and prepare for war; how the choices of actors and their actions make war possible; and the benefits and costs to people's security that wars can bring about. Indeed, such questions can help us to evaluate whether we should continue to prepare and wage war, and for what purposes.
14. Military Security
This chapter examines the continuing importance of military security. It notes that International Relations has historically seen security almost entirely in terms of the military dimension, before going on to review the impact of the broadening of the concept of security on approaches to the study of its military dimension. It then analyses the key aspects of the traditional approach to military security and some of the most common ways in which states have sought to acquire it historically, such as war, alliances, and, more recently, nuclear deterrence. The chapter then reflects on some of the difficulties in acquiring military security, and ways in which its pursuit can sometimes reduce, rather than increase, security, before concluding with a reminder of the continuing centrality of military security, even within a significantly broadened understanding of security as a multifaceted concept.
6. Social Constructivism
This chapter examines the impact of social constructivism on Security Studies, and how it calls into question the assumed orthodoxy of rationalist approaches to security and the international system by asking how security and security threats are ‘socially constructed’. It focuses on the importance of social relations and why identity, norms, and culture matter. Whereas rationalist approaches focus on material forces to understand and theorize security, social constructivism argues that ideational as well as material factors construct the world around us and the meanings we give to it. Therefore, its significance for Security Studies is crucial in terms not only of conceptualizing security but of providing alternative readings of security. However, constructivism is not a uniform approach. As this chapter demonstrates, it is broadly divided into two camps, which differ on questions of methodology and particular aspects of how knowledge and identity are interrogated. Throughout this chapter case studies of constructivist approaches to security questions will be discussed, and the chapter concludes with a consideration of critiques of constructivism.
8. The EU as a Global Actor
The EU’s ambitions to be a global power are a surprising by-product of European integration. Students of European foreign policy mostly focus on EU trade, aid, and the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). But the national foreign policy activities of its member states cannot be neglected. On most economic issues, the EU is able to speak with a single voice. It has more difficulty showing solidarity on aid policy but is powerful when it does. The Union’s external policy aspirations now extend to traditional foreign and security policy. But distinct national policies persist, and the EU suffers from fragmented leadership. The chapter begins by considering the development of EU foreign policy and then considers how a national system of foreign policies exists alongside EU policies in the area of trade and international development. It then examines the EU’s CFSP and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
29. After the Return to Theory: The Past, Present, and Future of Security Studies
Ole Wæver and Barry Buzan
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.
9. Natural resources, security, and conflicts
This chapter discusses the relationship between the environment and security. The concept of ‘environmental security’ is omnipresent, but is nonetheless ambiguous and contested. What exactly needs to be secured, and what are the security threats? Is environmental security about state security, faced with the loss of natural resources? Or is it about protecting individuals and communities from environmental degradation and reduced access to key environmental resources? A first step in clarifying these questions is to disentangle two related but distinct causal arguments. In the relationship between environment and security, environmental degradation can be analysed either as a cause or as a consequence of security issues. A second step needed to clarify these debates is to adopt clear definitions. In the context of international relations, security has traditionally been understood in relation to the survival of the state, and the main threats to state security are armed conflicts. For the purpose of this chapter, conflicts are defined as any type of disagreement. The chapter also examines the impact of conflicts on the environment.
1. Introduction: from international politics to world politics
John Baylis, Steve Smith, and Patricia Owens
This chapter introduces the text which offers a comprehensive analysis of world politics in a global era. The text examines the main theories of world politics— realism, liberalism, Marxism, social constructivism, poststructuralism, post-colonialism, and feminism. It reviews the main structures and processes that shape contemporary world politics, such as global political economy, international security, war, gender, and race. Furthermore, it addresses some of the main policy issues in the globalized world, including poverty, human rights, health (with particular emphasis on the recent global pandemic), and the environment. This introduction offers some arguments both for and against seeing globalization as an important new development in world politics. It also explains the various terms used to describe world politics and the academic field, particularly the use of ‘world politics’ rather than ‘international politics’ or ‘international relations’. Finally, it summarizes the main assumptions underlying realism, liberalism, Marxism, social constructivism, post-structuralism, post-colonialism, and feminism.
6. Security and Insecurity
This chapter assesses the general concept of security and the way in which issues come to be ‘securitized’. The security of the sovereign state, in a system of states, and existing under conditions of anarchy, has been the traditional focus of studies in global or international politics. Security in this context has therefore been concerned largely with the threats that states pose to each other. Over the last few decades, however, the agenda for security in global politics has expanded, and so too has its conceptualization. The chapter looks at traditional approaches to security and insecurity, revisiting the Hobbesian state of nature and tracing security thinking in global politics through to the end of the Cold War. This is followed by a discussion of ideas about collective security as embodied in the UN, paying particular attention to the role of the Security Council and the issue of intervention in the post-Cold War period. This period has also seen the broadening of the security agenda to encompass concerns such as gender security, environmental security, cyber security, and the diffuse concept of ‘human security’. Finally, the chapter provides an overview of the ‘war on terror’, raising further questions concerning how best to deal with non-conventional security threats.
3. Engaging the World
The European Union and the Processes of International Relations
This chapter examines the ways in which the European Union enters into international relations and engages with key processes in the world arena. It first provides a historical background on the interaction of an evolving EU with the rest of the world before discussing the main patterns of relationships and interactions in the areas in which Europe has been active. It then considers two centres of enduring tensions in the EU's external engagement: EU's engagement with processes of international cooperation and conflict, and with processes of global governance. It also looks at tensions that arise between the collective ‘European’ and national positions. They are between: Europeanization and national foreign policy; rhetoric and achievement; big and small member states; old and new Europe; and the concept of civilian power Europe and the EU as an international security actor with access to military forces.
5. Compliance and enforcement in international law
This chapter assesses why international legal obligations are (or are not) complied with, and how they are (or are not) enforced. It begins by drawing a distinction between laws and norms. The chapter then examines the main explanations for international law compliance put forward by both international law and international relations scholars. These may be broadly grouped into two categories: instrumentalist explanations and normative explanations. The chapter also discusses the concept of state responsibility—that is, the body of rules governing when and how states may be held liable for violations of international law. International law-enforcement is indelibly shaped by the condition of international anarchy. According to the concept of self-help, an injured state may, under certain circumstances, unilaterally take countermeasures against the guilty party. Such measures may include sanctions, though these may also be ordered by the UN Security Council as a collective security measure. The international legal system also increasingly makes use of judicial procedures that approximate those found within states. In this connection, the chapter considers the role of courts and tribunals in adjudicating disputes and promoting compliance with international law.
25. Common Foreign and Security Policy
This chapter examines the European Union’s (EU’s) Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). It tells the story of increasing co-operation between member states on foreign policy matters, first with European Political Co-operation (EPC) and, since the 1990s, with CFSP and a Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The chapter highlights the internal dynamics and external events that drove the member states towards such co-operation and considers the most recent example of such efforts: the 2017 attempt to create a system of permanent structured co-operation (PESCO). However, it is noted that the EU remains far from having a truly supranational foreign policy and there remains a reluctance from member states to push much further integration, given states’ keen desire to remain sovereign in this area. Finally, the chapter considers the EU’s status as a ‘power’ in international relations, noting that it has diminished in important respects since 2003, but remains an important economic power.
3. Liberalism and Liberal Internationalism
Patrick Morgan and Alan Collins
This chapter presents the liberalism approach to the theory and practice of international politics. As one of the two classic conceptions, along with realism, of international politics, its chief characteristics are identified and the major liberalist schools of thought are described and briefly examined, particularly with reference to how they overlap with, yet depart in significant ways from, the realist perspective. The concluding sections explore how contemporary liberal internationalism has lost significant power and appeal because the major Western states of the world system are experiencing serious international and domestic difficulties. It closes by indicating that the Western liberal internationalist order will likely lose a sizeable portion of its long-standing international dominance, resulting in a more widely spread global security management arrangement among a larger number of major states.
15. International and global security
This chapter examines whether international relations, especially in an era of increasing globalization, are likely to be as violent in the future as they have been in the past. It asks whether globalization increases or decreases international security, which international relations theories best help to provide an understanding of global security and insecurity, and what are the most important contemporary threats to international security. The chapter first considers existing disagreements about the causes of war and whether violence is always likely to remain with us. It then discusses traditional/classical realist and more contemporary neorealist and neoliberal perspectives on international security, along with a range of alternative approaches. It also explores recent debates about globalization and geopolitics. Case studies in this chapter explore insecurity in the post-cold war world and tension in the South and East China Seas.
21. The United Nations
Devon E. A. Curtis and Paul Taylor
This chapter examines the development of the United Nations and the changes and challenges that it has faced since it was founded in 1945. It opens with three framing questions: Does the UN succeed in reconciling traditions of great power politics and traditions of universalism? Why has the UN become more involved in matters within states and what are the limits to this involvement? What are the UN's biggest successes and challenges in its efforts to prevent and resolve conflict and to promote sustainable development? The chapter proceeds by providing a brief history of the UN and its principal organs. It also considers the UN's role in the maintenance of international peace and security, and how the UN addresses issues relating to economic and social development. Two case studies are presented: the first is about the role of the UN in dealing with conflict in Syria and the second is about UN peacekeeping in the Congo.
15. International and global security
This chapter examines whether international relations, especially in an era of increasing globalization, are likely to be as violent in the future as they have been in the past. It asks whether globalization increases or decreases international security, which International Relations theories best help to provide an understanding of global security and insecurity, and what are the most important contemporary threats to international security. The chapter first considers existing disagreements about the causes of war and whether violence is always likely to remain with us. It then discusses traditional/classical realist and more contemporary neorealist and neoliberal perspectives on international security, along with a range of alternative approaches. It also explores recent debates about globalization and geopolitics and presents two case studies, one on the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the other on growing tensions in the South and East China Seas.