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Chapter

Cover Contemporary Security Studies

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.

Chapter

Cover Strategy in the Contemporary World

20. Strategic Studies and its Critics  

Columba Peoples

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.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

6. The Social Science of Political Violence  

Stefan Malthaner, Donatella della Porta, and Lorenzo Bosi

This chapter examines the concept of political violence. Political violence is analysed through the process of radicalization, escalation, transformation, and disengagement resulting from interactions between multiple actors. The chapter explains how processual approaches offer a new way of trying to understand dynamic and continuously changing phenomena. Using processual approaches means taking on a critique of political violence explanations as an effect of socio-economic structural conditions, individual predispositions, or ideologies. The chapter also looks at the social movement theory, political opportunity structure approaches, and resource mobilization theory as alternative ways to study political violence. Appreciating continuity, interaction, context, and contingency are vital in understanding political violence.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Security Studies

11. Gender and Security  

Caroline Kennedy-Pipe and Sophia Dingli

This chapter examines issues of gender and security. It begins with an explanation of what we mean by gender and explains why issues of gender are central to understanding security. International Relations specialists have over the last three decades explored and interpreted the ways in which men and women have responded to the national and international policies which have governed conflict, terrorism, and war. The chapter demonstrates that through understanding and placing notions of gender at the centre of any debate on security one can unleash a series of interlocking understandings of the way men and women relate to insecurity, violence, and war.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Security Studies

18. Economic Security  

Gary M. Shiffman

This chapter provides an economic framework for analysing and countering organized violence. Looking closely at economics as a scientific approach to understanding human behaviour provides insight into the real-life of criminals, terrorists, and insurgents. Individuals make decisions under conditions of scarcity, and markets, firms, and entrepreneurs organize much of human behaviour. Understanding these dynamics can inform how policy-makers, analysts, and operators promote security.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Security Studies

7. Critical Security Studies: A Schismatic History  

Mutimer David and Derek Verbakel

This chapter provides a partial history of a label. It is partial both in that it is not, and cannot be, complete, and in that I, David Mutimer, am both the author of, and participant in, the history. It is therefore partial in the way all other history is partial. The label is ‘Critical Security Studies’. The chapter tells a story of the origin of the label and the way it has developed and fragmented since the early 1990s. It sets out the primary claims of the major divisions that have emerged within the literatures to which the label has been applied: constructivism, critical theory, and poststructuralism. Ultimately, the chapter suggests that Critical Security Studies needs to foster an ‘ethos of critique’ in either the study or refusal of security, and that the chapter is an instance of that ethos directed at Critical Security Studies itself.

Chapter

Cover Strategy in the Contemporary World

22. The Practice of Strategy  

Colin S. Gray and Jeannie L. Johnson

This chapter focuses on the requirements of what a good practice of strategy should be. It first provides an overview of the importance of strategic expertise and the reasons why good strategists are hard to find. It then highlights the qualities a good strategist needs to be effective, along with the obstacles to competent strategic performance and the flaws of contemporary strategic education, including insufficient attention to strategic classics and strategic history. The chapter also offers a remedy called the General Theory of Strategy, the core components of which are: understanding the nature and character of strategy, making strategies based on seven contexts (political, sociocultural, economic, technological, military, geographical, historical), and executing strategies. The chapter concludes by calling for a regular reassessment of strategic plans and engagements, driven by questions that examine the extent to which strategy has enabled, and will continue to enable, achievement of political objectives.

Chapter

Cover Strategy in the Contemporary World

4. Strategic Theory  

Thomas G. Mahnken

This chapter examines strategic theory and how it provides a conceptual understanding of the nature of war. It begins with a discussion of the logic of strategy and how it applies not only in wartime, but also in peace. It then considers some of the most valuable concepts in strategic theory as articulated by Carl von Clausewitz in On War and compares them with Sun Tzu’s ideas found in The Art of War as well as in the military writings of Mao Zedong and jihadist writers. Clausewitz’s views on war as a ‘paradoxical trinity’—composed of violence, hatred, and enmity—and his understanding of the nature of a war, limited versus unlimited warfare, the rational calculus of war, and friction are explored. The chapter concludes with a commentary on the debate over whether classical strategic theory is obsolete.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

21. Responding to Terrorism Nonviolently  

Sondre Lindahl and Richard Jackson

This chapter explores non-violent responses to terrorism. It notes the main failures and limitations of violent or force-based counterterrorism, before examining alternative non-violent approaches used to reduce the incidence of terrorism and transform violent conflict into political conflict. The most common alternative approach in an effort of conflict resolution and promoting a political settlement is the use of dialogue and negotiations. The chapter also discusses the literature on suggestions and guidance for further developing approaches to non-violent counterterrorism such as non-violent resistance, unarmed peacekeeping, non-warring communities, and social defence. Sondre Lindahl's critical theory of counterterrorism is based on principles such as needing to treat terrorism as a political phenomenon and aiming for more than the elimination of terrorists.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches

11. Major Issues in IR: Climate Change, Terrorism, Religion, Power and Hegemony  

This chapter examines four of the most important issues in international relations (IR): climate change, international terrorism, religion, and balance and hegemony in world history. It also considers the different ways in which these issues are analysed by the various theories presented in this book. The chapter begins with a discussion of what the issue is about in empirical terms, the problems raised and why they are claimed to be important, and the relative significance of the issue on the agenda of IR. It then explores the nature of the theoretical challenge that the issues present to IR and how classical and contemporary theories handle the analysis of these issues. The chapter addresses how climate change has become a first order challenge of international relations and IR theories, Samuel Huntington’s ‘clash of civilizations’ thesis, the influence of religion on politics, and how throughout history different state systems have come to equilibrate on either balance of power or hegemony.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches

2. IR as an Academic Subject  

This chapter examines how thinking about international relations (IR) has evolved since IR became an academic subject around the time of the First World War. The focus is on four established IR traditions: realism, liberalism, International Society, and International Political Economy (IPE). The chapter first considers three major debates that have arisen since IR became an academic subject at the end of the First World War: the first was between utopian liberalism and realism; the second between traditional approaches and behaviouralism; the third between neorealism/neoliberalism and neo-Marxism. There is an emerging fourth debate, that between established traditions and post-positivist alternatives. The chapter concludes with an analysis of alternative approaches that challenge the established traditions of IR, and with a discussion about criteria for good theory in IR.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches

7. Social Constructivism  

This chapter examines the social constructivist theory of IR. It first discusses the rise of social constructivism and why it has established itself as an important approach in IR. It then considers constructivism as social theory, and more specifically as both a meta-theory about the nature of the social world and as a set of substantial theories of IR. Several examples of constructivist IR theory are presented, followed by reflections on the strengths and weaknesses of the constructivist approach. The chapter proceeds by exploring constructivist theories of international relations, focusing on cultures of anarchy, norms of International Society, the power of international organizations, a constructivist approach to European cooperation, and domestic formation of identity and norms. The chapter concludes with an analysis of some of the major criticisms of constructivism and by emphasizing internal debates within constructivism.