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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.

Book

Cover Contemporary Security Studies

Edited by Alan Collins

Contemporary Security Studies provides an introduction to Security Studies. It features a wide breadth and depth of coverage of the different theoretical approaches to the study of security and the ever-evolving range of issues that dominate the security agenda in the twenty-first century. In addition to covering a large range of topical security issues, from terrorism and inter-state armed conflict to cyber-security, health, and transnational crime, the sixth edition features an examination of popular culture and its implications for security, as well as coverage of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout, readers are encouraged to question their own preconceptions and assumptions, and to use their own judgement to critically evaluate key approaches and ideas. To help them achieve this, each chapter is punctuated with helpful learning features including ‘key ideas’, ‘think points’ and case studies, demonstrating the real-world applications and implications of the theory.

Chapter

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.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Security Studies

9. Postcolonialism  

Mark Laffey and Suthaharan Nadarajah

This chapter introduces postcolonialism as a set of increasingly influential positions and perspectives within the wider discipline of International Relations and sketches its implications for security studies. It begins with postcolonialism’s genealogies, tracing its emergence in a set of transnational debates about the mutually constitutive relations between knowledge and imperialism. The chapter then lays out the standard account of world history as organized around Westphalian sovereignty which informs security studies and shows how postcolonialism puts it in question, forcing the international to be reconceived as the context within which security is defined, practised, and studied. Third, the chapter puts postcolonialism to work and discusses what it might mean to decolonize security studies. In a short conclusion, it returns to the question of the tense relations between security studies and postcolonialism itself.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Security Studies

1. Introduction: What is Security Studies?  

Alan Collins

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.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Security Studies

6. Social Constructivism  

Christine Agius

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.

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

1. Introduction  

Strategy in the Contemporary World

John Baylis, James J. Wirtz, and Jeannie L. Johnson

This book examines strategy in the contemporary world. Part I considers the enduring issues that animate the study of strategy and tackles topics ranging from the causes of war to questions about culture, morality, and war. Part II deals with issues that fuel strategic debates, with chapters on terrorism and irregular warfare, nuclear weapons, arms control, weapons of mass destruction, conventional military power, peacekeeping and humanitarian intervention, and cyberwar. Part III discusses critical and non-Western approaches to the study of strategy and security that have emerged in recent years, and concludes by reflecting on future prospects for strategic studies. This introduction provides an overview of strategic studies, criticisms that are made of strategic studies, and how strategic studies relates to security studies.

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 Foreign Policy

11. The primacy of national security  

Brian C. Schmidt

This chapter focuses on national security, a central concept in foreign policy analysis. A core objective of foreign policy is to achieve national security. However, there is a great deal of ambiguity about the meaning of the concept. Although the traditional meaning of national security is often associated with protecting the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and security of the nation state, this does not exhaust all of the possible meanings. The chapter examines some of the competing conceptions of national security, beginning with the three main assumptions of realism that together help to account for the primacy of national security: statism, survival, and self-help. It then considers the field of security studies before concluding with an assessment of the theoretical controversy about the meaning of national security and how it relates to three American grand strategies: neo-isolationism, liberal internationalism, and primacy.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Security Studies

5. Peace Studies  

Paul Rogers

This chapter examines the origins and development of the field of peace studies after the Second World War, initially in relation to the East–West confrontation and the nuclear arms race. It analyses how peace studies responded to the issues of socio-economic disparities and environmental constraints as they became apparent in the 1970s, and explores its development as an interdisciplinary and problem-oriented field of study, often in the midst of controversy. The chapter then assesses the state of peace studies now, before concluding by examining how it is especially relevant to the new security challenges facing the world.

Book

Cover Politics

Peter Ferdinand, Robert Garner, and Stephanie Lawson

Politics offers an introduction to political studies. It combines accessibility and an analytical approach, encouraging critical study and engaged debate. Alongside coverage of concepts, approaches, and ideologies, the text features chapters on all crucial elements of political studies, from institutions and states to security, political economy, civil society and the media, making it an ideal text for a broad range of modules. Current debates and key developments in contemporary politics are taken into account, with coverage of the rise of populism, Brexit, and the presidency of Donald Trump, as well as a broad range of international case studies and examples.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Terrorism Studies

3. Critical Terrorism Studies  

Harmonie Toros

This chapter focuses on critical terrorism studies (CTS), which is an investigation into whether terrorism exists at all. These sorts of studies look into the different actors who play a part in different practices and consequences. CTS considers how the construction of the terrorist threat serves specific political, economic, and social functions. Additionally, CTS hopes for a political project aimed at changing the world's policies and practices of security and terrorism. The chapter lists the theoretical foundations of CTS, which derive from post-structuralism and constructivism, and the Frankfurt School's ideas on critical theory. Finally, the chapter shows that terrorism is primarily seen as a political issue under the stance of CTS.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Security Studies

8. Critical Security Studies II —Narratives of Security: Other Stories, Other Actors  

J. Marshall Beier

Taking its main cues from Critical Security Studies, this chapter asks some unconventional questions about somewhat unconventional subjects for a field that has traditionally been more inclined to centre states in its investigations. In so doing, it brings to light the concealed political commitments that are a part of any attempt to theorize security and which fix arbitrary limits on whom and what gets foregrounded in the security stories told. Placing particular emphasis on recovering agency and political subjecthood, one can see the crucial part played by other actors in both the everyday practices of security and it has come to be defined. One can better appreciate both the problems and promise of one’s own roles in producing security—and insecurity—in the ways it is approached, as students and scholars.

Book

Cover Strategy in the Contemporary World

Edited by John Baylis, James J. Wirtz, and Jeannie L. Johnson

Strategy in the Contemporary World provides a critical overview of both enduring and contemporary issues that dominate strategy. This text explores key debates and alternative perspectives, considers ongoing controversies and presents opposing arguments, helping readers to build critical thinking skills by assessing the evidence and logic behind various positions. The new edition has been updated to incorporate the latest developments in the field of strategic studies. A new chapter on ‘Chinese Grand Strategy’ examines the evolution of Chinese grand strategy from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping, its drivers, and its implications. A fully revised chapter on ‘Strategic Culture’ explores the concept of strategic culture as a framework of analysis used by scholars and policymakers to explain the international behaviour of states. Other fully revised chapters on ‘Technology and Warfare’ and ‘Cyber Conflict in the Age of Great Power Competition’ focus on how digital and technological developments affect strategic decisions. Online resources now include a selection of materials from earlier editions.

Chapter

Cover Strategy in the Contemporary World

19. Strategic Studies  

The West and the Rest

Amitav Acharya and Jiajie He

This chapter examines the limitations and problems of strategic studies with respect to security challenges in the global South. It first considers the ethnocentrism that bedevils strategic studies and international relations before discussing mainstream strategic studies during the cold war. It then looks at whether strategic studies has kept up with the changing pattern of conflict, where the main theatre is the non-Western world, with particular emphasis on the decline in armed conflicts after the end of the cold war, along with the problem of human security and how it has been impacted by technology. The chapter also explores the issue of whether to take into account non-military threats in strategic studies and the debates over strategic culture and grand strategy in China and India. It concludes by proposing Global International Relations as a new approach to strategic studies that seeks to adapt to the strategic challenges and responses of non-Western countries.