Difinition of ISS

Course No: 502
International Security
Mostakim Bin Motaher
Department of International Relations
Jahangirnagar University
Email: [email protected]
What is Security?
• Meanings:
Definition of Security:
Alex Bellamy: Freedom from war.
Walter Lipmann: Threats to core values.
Giacomo Luciani: Withstanding external
Mohammad Ayoob: Internal and external
vulnerabilities to states and regimes.
Ken Booth: Individual and group
Security Studies:
• Sub-discipline of International Relations.
• Concerned with the study of war and
peace, threats to state and human
Three theories on the origin of IR
• Theory I: The Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC)
• Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War
• IR originated with the study of war between Greek-city states
• “The strong do what they have to do, the weak accept what
they have to accept”.
• Theory II: The Thirty Years’ War (1610-1648)
• Kalevi Holsti: Peace and War
• IR originated with the emergence of nation-state system, the
concept of sovereignty, and the practice of diplomacy, and
balance of power.
• Theory III: Effects of First World War (1914-1919)
• Most scholars
• IR originated with an emphasis in the study of war: the
causes of war and the ways to prevent it.
Defining International Security
• There is no universally agreed definition of what ISS
It discuss about
-how to protect the state against external and internal
-what makes up the sub-field and where the boundary
zones between it and adjacent academic disciplines are
• As time goes by we get a different perspective on
what falls in and what does not.
Four questions that structure ISS
• The four questions are analytical lenses or tools
through which to read the evolution of ISS; they are
the deeper, substantial core that defines what
‘international security’ is about and what brings the
literature together.
• Viewing ISS through these questions makes it clear
that there are fundamental political and normative
decisions involved in defining security and that this
is what makes it one of the essentially contested
concepts of modern social science.
The first question is whether to privilege the
state as the referent object.
Object of security:
• The nation, the state, the individual, the ethnic
group, the environment or the planet.
Referent object of security (traditionalist view):
• The nation/state was the analytical and normative
referent object.
 ‘International security’ was not about replacing the
security of the state with the security of humanity, or
the individual or minorities within or across state
boundaries. Securing the state was seen
instrumentally as the best way of protecting other
referent objects.
The second question is whether to include
internal as well as external threats.
• Security is not only about state sovereignty, it is also
about considering threats in relation to territorial
• After the first world war (Domestic economic problemsinter-war American economic depression )
• During cold war period (External threats- for US, Soviet
Union is a threat )
• After cold war (Soviet Union disappeared from
American and Western security discourses)
• End of inside/outside distinction
The third question is whether to expand
security beyond the military sector and the
use of force.
• During Cold War:
Military power(national security) is most important.
It doesn’t mean Economic vigor, governmental
stability, energy supplies, science and technology,
food and natural resources are not considered but
for the military purpose.
• After 1980s: Peace researchers and many scholars
included societal, economic, environmental, health,
development and gender as security issues.
The fourth question is whether to see security
as inextricably tied to a dynamic of threats,
dangers and urgency.
• During the Cold War:
Threats- US and Soviet Union.
Nuclear weapon- Use as a deter.
• Herz’s (1950) Security dilemma: ‘Security’ had to do with
attacks, subjection, domination and – when pushed to the
extreme annihilation.
• Copenhagen School: Argued that the concept could be
expanded as long as referent objects.
• Critics: Security was itself linked to a particular Realist
view of the state and international politics.
Required Readings:
• Alan. Collins, 2010. Contemporary Security Studies.
pp. 1-11.
• Paul D. Williams, 2008. Security Studies: An
Introduction. pp. 1-12.
• Barry Buzan and Lene Hansen. The Evolution of
International Security Studies. pp. 8-10
Thank you
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