Centre for the study of Global Security and Development

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Rethinking Security for the 21st Century

It is clear that security is a highly contested concept, and that the ways in which security is defined help to shape the sorts of actions that are carried out in its name. For that reason, we also need to develop more inclusive and critical understandings of security and human security. In addition to developing new intellectual paradigms for understanding security, there is a need for academics and policy-makers alike to pay attention to such understandings of security as are marginalised or silenced by dominant security discourses. There is further a need to document the practices by which individuals in different contexts are seeking to safeguard their own lives, and that of others: such practices provide a range of experiences we might learn from and try to emulate. There are important lessons for academic theory in the way that such practices often centre upon an ethic of care rather than risk-management, for example. Developing these insights will thus involve an approach to the study of security that emphasises capacity building and care rather than surveillance and control. Specifically, such work will consider the risks to individual human livelihoods presented by too uncritical a focus on what are often presented as universal security risks. This encompasses work on informal responses to state security by subject individuals and groups or the impact upon migrants of new security policies, for example.

Staff in this area

Fleming, Hanlon, Harney, Mabee, Mandarini, Reid-Henry

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