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Critical Approaches to International Security

ISBN: 978-0-7456-3293-3
288 pages
March 2007, Polity
Critical Approaches to International Security (0745632939) cover image
During the Cold War the concept of international security was traditionally understood in military terms as the threat or use of force by states. The end of East-West hostilities, however, brought new ‘critical’ perspectives to the fore as scholars sought to explain the emergence of new challenges to international stability, such as environmental degradation, immigration and terrorism.

'Critical Approaches to International Security' is the first book to offer a wide-ranging and comprehensive analysis of the field of critical security studies. It maps the evolution of debates about security from the end of the Cold War to the present day, arguing that the conceptual and methodological innovations of critical security studies are crucial for understanding many contemporary international developments. Organized around a range of core concepts that have defined various critical approaches, the book guides the reader through a wide range of literature and debates. Topics covered include: the relationship between security and change, identity, the production of danger, trauma, human insecurity and emancipation. The book explores the meaning and use of these concepts and their relevance to real-life situations ranging from NATO expansion, conflict in the Balkans, migration, suffering in war, failed states and state-building, the war on terror and Hurricane Katrina.

This book makes a significant and original contribution to the study of international relations and security studies and will be of great value to students and scholars of international relations and security studies.

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  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 Definitions and Redefinitions
  • Chapter 2 The Proliferation of Concepts
  • Chapter 3 Change
  • Chapter 4 Identity
  • Chapter 5 The Production of Danger
  • Chapter 6 Trauma
  • Chapter 7 Human Insecurity
  • Chapter 8 Emancipation
  • Chapter 9 Security
  • Bibliography
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    Karin Fierke, Professor of International Relations, University of St. Andrews
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  • The first textbook of its kind to provide a wide-ranging introduction to the emerging field of critical security studies
  • Written by an established senior scholar in the field
  • Covers a broad range of concepts, themes, questions and theoretical perspectives in critical security studies today
  • Draws on a good mix of examples and case studies from WWI trauma and the Cold War to the War on Terror and Hurricane Katrina
  • Includes further reading guides at the end of each chapter
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    "A must read."
    Journal of Peace Research

    "A thorough, accessible, distinct and refreshingly new account of how we should understand the field of critical security studies."
    International Studies Review

    "A very readable and brilliant introduction to international security in a narrow sense, and to ideational IR theories in a wider context."
    Political Studies Review

    "The book aims predominantly to function as a teaching resource in the International Relations undergraduate and early postgraduate market place but would also be useful to teachers and students within Sociology who are engaging with questions of war, security and terror. Indeed its strength lies in its aim to render accessible exactly to this market a realm of discourse that is currently geared towards the research community at large."
    British Journal of Sociology

    "A stimulating and refreshing examination of different dimensions of contemporary debates about security and security studies."
    Keith Krause, Graduate Institute of International Studies

    "A remarkable achievement, broader, yet more theoretically integrated than most of the leading works on critical security studies. The worked examples of the gendering of war, the War on Terrorism, the securitization of Hurricane Katrina, the end of the Cold War, the outbreak of war in Bosnia, and the trauma-induced reproduction of insecurities more generally will attract students and researchers on both sides of the Atlantic."
    Hayward R. Alker, University of Southern California and Brown University

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