Critical Approaches to International Security

Front Cover
Polity, 2007 - 235 pages
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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About the author (2007)

Karin Fierke, Professor of International Relations, University of St. Andrews

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