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Cover Introduction to Politics

19. Security and Insecurity  

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter examines traditional concepts of security and insecurity in the realm of international politics. It first considers Thomas Hobbes’s account of the state of nature and the emergence of the power politics approach to security as worked out by Hans Morgenthau and his successors. It then discusses the evolution of security thinking through to the end of the Cold War, ideas about collective security as embodied in the United Nations and the nature of security cooperation in Europe through NATO. It also explores some pressing security challenges in the post-Cold War period and the broadening of the security agenda to encompass more recent concerns ranging from environmental security to energy security and the notions of ‘human security’ and ‘responsibility to protect’. Finally, it analyses the ‘global war on terror’ and especially how the 9/11 attacks affected the discourse on security and insecurity.