Historical Social Research

35.4 - Human Security

HSR Vol. 35 (2010) No. 4: Special Issue: The Production of Human Security

Cornel Zwierlein, Rüdiger Graf & Magnus Ressel (Eds.): The Production of Human Security in Premodern and Contemporary History

The Production of Human Security in Premodern and Contemporary History Since the 1990s the concept of "human security" has been used increasingly in the debates on social and political theory as well as in practical international politics by the UN institutions. Part of its appeal is due to the unusually wide extension of the term covering such diverse objects as classical international security politics, security problems arising from natural hazards and even threats of traffic accidents. The concept is designed to replace the perspective of state security, the so-called ‘Westphalian System’ in which sovereign state actors conduct international politics. Advocates of the human security concept rely on a historical narrative in which the current widening of the notion of security is nothing new. Rather it is conceived of as the revival of older, pre-modern and pre-Westphalian concepts of security. In this scheme, the era of the modern nation-state with its clear distinctions between domestic and foreign, private and state security appears as a historical exception. The contributions of this special issue of Historical Social Research concentrate on the juxtaposition of mainly early modern and of late modern security regimes testing the prehistory of ‘human security’ and ‘human security’ as a heuristical device of intertemporal comparison. [Order this issue]

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