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Security Governance

Vak 2017-2018

Preliminary course description

In the post-Cold War era, the absence of a defining great power rivalry, globalization, the rise of non-state actors and technological changes, among other factors, are said to have transformed not only our conceptualization of security but have also given rise to new regimes of security. ‘Security governance’ points to such increasingly fragmented and complex regimes of security in world politics, which, contemporary IR scholarship argues, have dislocated the state as the primary referent and provider of security. Consequently, in contemporary IR, security governance has fast become one of the new conceptual buzzwords.

This course will examine some of the key dimensions of security governance in the contemporary world. Some basic questions such as, “Who are the ‘new’ providers of security?”, “Who are they securing?” and “How ‘new’ and ‘effective’ are these regimes?” will first need critical scrutiny. We will thus analyse the concepts and institutions that shape contemporary global security discourse. This will be followed by looking at both traditional as well as non-traditional actors and issues of security provision. In additional to dealing with states and collective security organs, such as the UN and NATO, we will survey some of the key debates around the securitization of new issues, such as migration, health and climate change. We will also look at how digitization and technology are being used by the neoliberal state to foster new modes of surveillance.

Our work in the course will involve reflecting on the conceptual manifestations of security governance, mapping practices that enable the securitization of issues, and developing a critical understanding of the emerging regimes of security.