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Cover Contemporary Security Studies

4. Historical Materialism  

Eric Herring

This chapter begins with an overview of the social scientific, philosophical, and political dimensions of historical materialism (HM). This overview is followed by an elaboration of what HM involves, including its diversity, value, and potential but avoidable pitfalls. Key HM concepts are set out and used to show how capitalism generally and in its recent neoliberal form aims to generate insecurity for labour and security for capital. Rather than being a narrow approach to security that focuses on economics, at its best, HM is a holistic approach that provides a way of putting into perspective and relating the many components of security. It goes on to explore the relationships between HM and approaches to security in wider contexts (realism, liberalism, social constructivism, and gender) and then to various perspectives on security (securitization and the sectoral approach, peace studies, Critical Security Studies, and human security). Accompanying the text are Think Point 4.1 on using HM to understand arms production and the arms trade, and Think Point 4.2 on using HM to understand the connections between development and security. The conclusion provides an overall assessment of the contribution of HM to the scholarship and politics of security and insecurity.


Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

19. Is Terrorism Effective?  

Diego Muro

This chapter examines the effectiveness of terrorism in delivering tactical returns. It shows how terrorism is largely ineffective in realising strategic goals. Political goals vary and include secession, overthrowing capitalism, and expelling an occupying force. Additionally, the tactical use of terrorism brings cohesion to a group's organization, ideology, goals, and constituencies. There is no consensus among scholars with regards to the political returns of terrorism. This is due to the methodological problems inherent in the controversy. The chapter then explores the advantages and disadvantages of using coercive intimidation to pursue political conclusions. It includes future studies that may be more inclusive, methodical, and productive.


Cover Contemporary Security Studies

10. Human Security  

Randolph B. Persaud

This chapter examines the concept of human security. It does so in descriptive, analytical, and empirical terms, drawing on both the scholarly and policy-relevant literatures. The chapter describes the development of human security, with references to the academic literature where necessary. Accordingly, the emergence, contribution, and impact of the most important drivers of human security, especially in institutional terms, are examined. These include the 1994 UNDP Human Development Report (HDR), the Commission for Human Security, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, the Millennium Development Goals, and the International Criminal Court. The chapter takes up a recurring question about the newness of human security by looking at its intellectual and institutional genealogy. The chapter provides a detailed overview of the most trenchant critiques of human security. These critiques are placed into the following categories—too broad to be useful; national interest and co-optation; reformist tool of global capitalism; and neo-colonialism.


Cover Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches

10. Major Issues in IPE: Economic versus Political Power, Development, Globalization, How to Study the Real World  

This chapter examines four major issues in International Political Economy (IPE). The first concerns power and the relationship between politics and economics, and more specifically whether politics is in charge of economics or whether it is the other way around. The second issue deals with development and underdevelopment in developing countries. The third is about the nature and extent of economic globalization, and currently takes places in a context of increasing inequality between and inside countries. The fourth and final issue concerns how to study the real world from an IPE perspective and it pits the hard science American School against the more qualitative and normative British School.