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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.