Understanding Its Process in the field of International Relations

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2009

13 Pages, Grade: A+



Historical and Philosophical Bases of Security Studies

The Copenhagen School on securitization framework: Conceptualization of the theory

The Singaporean School on securitization framework: Defining an Asian perspective

Conclusion: A critique both on the Copenhagen and Singapore securitization frameworks


From the previous session of the class (3 December 2008), the students have had a better understanding on the central points of debate over the issues of international security i.e. how it is being redefined from the traditional to non-traditional security and as against to the amorphous orientation of human security, and its effects brought over to the development of security in the field of International Relations. Now, we will discuss how security had been conceptualized and what methodology or approaches had contributed to the expansion of its conception.

I asked Prof. Kraft whether time, in terms of periodization of events, affects the evolution on contextualizing and conceptualizing security. He latently answered that in to some extent it does by referencing events like the saliencies of the Cold War era to the 1994 Rwanda’s humanitarian crisis, etc. My impression to the reading materials provided in the syllabus are constructively relevant in terms of periodization of historical events in consonance to the areas of concerns that are unfolding in today’s human world. Thus security matters triggered an important effort for scholars to empirically study its dynamics and magnitude for the benefit of, mainly, policy-making procedures. I may be wrong about this premise, but this is how I surmised the intricacy devolving in international security particularly its separatist elements to other disciplines such as international political economy or even getting away to the ambit of politics.

Consequently, the paper will focused on how and why do issues become security issues? How issues securitized? Why do they occur? Is such an issue sufficient enough to be measured as a security matter? Which areas of concerns have contributed to the expansion of the conception of security? Some of the posited queries are inscripted in the syllabus as the main focal point of the paper while others were formulated in response to questions raised from the previous class session. The paper will begin with the fundamental philosophical descriptions about security, its historical antecedents of conceptualizing the securitization theory to the presented paradigm and methodology used by the Copenhagen School (CS), and of course its subsequent criticisms made by the Singaporean School (SS) under the IDSS-Ford research project on Non-Traditional Security (NTS) in Asia. The seminar is delimited to the theses presented in the reading materials under the reference section and will only provide a general framework and guidelines for the succeeding seminar presentations for their (my colleagues in Intl Stud 267) chosen specific and significant security issues.

Historical and Philosophical Bases of Security Studies

In its broadest and academic term, “security” has been defined contemporarily by Buzan and Wæver (1998) as being that special type of politics in which specified developments are socially constructed threats, having an existential quality to cover values and/or assets of human collectivities and leading to a call for emergency measures. However, surveying the old traditional perceptions of security dating back from Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, to Rousseau, Kant, Kautilya, to Hobbes, Machiavelli and to Morgenthau, I found out a linkage of a security study in answering human’s physiological needs that is interpreted in varied disciplines from Philosophy, Political Science to International Relations. Their arguments were presented in the study done by Solidum et al (1991, p. 13-16), to Plato such path leading to security was presented in his ideal republic. The total security, both spiritual and material, was brought about the creation of a new society and all its institutions based on the right principles of social existence. Plato related these principles to the idea of the universal Good as governing nature.

For Aristotle the quest for security was connected with his idea of fullness of being and ideal nature. This took the form of instinctive striving after perfection as embodied in the species. In the area of man’s social or political life, security arrangements manifested themselves in certain types of social systems said to be harmony with nature or in conformity with man’s striving after full development of himself or the Good’s life. For Confucius security was associated with commitments to certain universal principles of conduct. The ultimate aim was to bring about a condition of universal social harmony and stability. Goodness of human nature was often assumed which, if damaged, could be restored mainly by proper education.

For Rousseau, the quest for security look from the man’s attempt to return to his natural condition, which Rousseau portrayed as the natural goodness of man, and man’s quest for political legitimacy. To Kant, security meant the recognition of the rational possibility of a universal peace. However, to an Indian thinker, Kautilya, contends that holding the opinion that universal egoism made permanent security impossible. He developed a system of security where this was treated as so many strategies by which, given the egoist nature of man, social living or security, could be made manageable, and so, relative security might be attained.

Hobbes’ argument of an organized society where security prevails takes place in the shadow of the Leviathan-ruler, ever prepared to use his sword to enforce the conditions of the social contract, which was the original choice of anarchic men. Buzan and Wæver (p. 4) opined that his premise were individualistic (not organicist or romantic like the German ancestors of realism). His starting point is that the individual has a right to self defense, but that individual pursuit of self-preservation is vulnerable. The basic Hobbesian argument that a social contract constructing a commonwealth was necessary or at least preferable for security and thereby liberty, they found it necessary to tame and constrain the state. On the other hand, Machiavelli argues that the possibility of relative security could exist only if a society or a statesman behave as a disciplined and responsible citizen, or alternatively, if a regime is run in an authoritarian manner, with force being used generously to repress anarchic tendencies in man.

In my understanding, security occurs due to the fact that man is responsible in protecting himself from the threats that he thinks is existing with a purpose of building a securitized environment, and for him to live by sufficing and enjoying his satisfactions. In this prism, we’ll going to discuss the differing security theories from the perspective of International Relations and how time impacted its evolution of being conceptualized. Theoretical interest in security from the perspective of realism acquired importance in the 16th and 17th centuries with mercantilist ideas of national protectionism. While an important phase in recent thought on security has been the era of the “Cold War,” where the search for national and world-wide security has tended to crystallize itself in terms of two competing camps, one associated with the Soviet Union and the other with the United States. In contemporary, one view of security is that which defines as the protection of values previously acquired or as high value expectancy in the sense of continued unmolested enjoyment of one’s possessions as Solidum et al (p. 16) described. Here, security, when viewed as a topic of international politics, is generally perceived as the ability of a state to protect its way of life, its “core values,” meaning its territorial integrity and political independence.


Excerpt out of 13 pages


Understanding Its Process in the field of International Relations
International Studies
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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397 KB
outstanding piece of work
International Security, Copenhagen Securitization Framework, Singaporean Securitization Framework
Quote paper
Nassef M. Adiong (Author), 2009, Securitization, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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