Emancipation and the reality of security: A reconstructive agenda

João Nunes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Introduction: contestation and critique The idea that security should be rendered problematic is one of the commitments of critical security studies (krause and Williams 1997; Peoples and VaughanWilliams 2010).1 Since its inception, this body of literature has questioned commonsensical meanings of ‘security’ and ‘threat’. Indeed, one of the assumptions of the critical literature is that the knowledge about security is the result of social and political processes. Securitization theory, one of the foremost critical approaches, took this insight further by arguing that the very reality of security should be placed under scrutiny (Wæver 1995). Securitization scholars refused to see security as an objective reality, arguing instead that ‘security’ should be approached as an intersubjective process between a securitizing actor and an audience that results in a specific modality for dealing with issues. This insight led many authors to investigate what the security modality does or entails, that is, the consequences of using a security perspective to frame and deal with issues. This proved to be a very popular line of enquiry; in some places, it has arguably become mainstream (Croft 2007, 508).2 It signalled the shift from a concern with security towards an analysis of securitization moves. By differentiating security (as a condition of absence of threats) and securitization (the processes through which issues emerge as threats), securitization theory has impacted upon critical security studies in profound ways.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContesting Security
Subtitle of host publicationStrategies and Logics
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781136162732
ISBN (Print)9780415643863
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2014

Publication series

NamePRIO New Security Studies

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 selection and editorial material, Thierry Balzacq.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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