Historical Social Research

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Cornel Zwierlein & Rüdiger Graf,  The Production of Human Security in Premodern and Contemporary History [Abstract]

Since the end of the Cold War, Human Security has become an important approach in international politics, law, and political science. In contrast to the so-called ‘Westphalian System’ that knows only states as subjects and objects of security, human security aims at the security of individual human beings if failed or failing states do not protect them nor provide for their basic needs. Thereby, such heterogeneous forms of security as security from war, food security, energy security or security from crime and traffic accidents become common problems of international politics. Developing this new concept of security, UN documents as well as some experts suggest that the extended concept of security is a recurrence of the premodern concept of security that prevailed before the clear-cut distinction between domestic and international politics and the evolution of the system of states. This introduction discusses contributions on the premodern and contemporary history of (human) security and tries to assess the heuristic potential of the concept for historical research.