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POLSCI 2I03 (101)
Andrew Lui (26)
Lecture 6

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Political Science
Andrew Lui

Lecture 6 The Problem of War and International Security Security studies is the pinnacle sub-field of IR, not necessarily the only one but largely one of the most important ones. IR Theory and the Problem of War:  Classical Realism: States are always at war, or constantly preparing for war. We try to mitigate the frequency at which we go to war.  Structural Realism: much more way of discounting norms and morals of IR. Anarchy is the key variable which makes war possible. The other factor within IR is the balance of power. Therefore, look at the security studies as a balance of power.  Neoliberal Institutionalism: looking at institutions as means of mitigating conflicts.  Constructivism: look at actors‟ predisposition to war at a function of activity. Certain actors are less likely to go to war with each other. Security institutions, or regional organizations, constructivist would argue that identities and the collective ideas which are foundation of that state, will explain why the state would or when it‟ll go on war.  Neo-Marxism: capitalism is inherently self-defeating, on a broader scale would add to the security study debate, and look at the capital, mode of productions, technology. The various influences that change balance of power and the relationships between them. Ultimately changing class structures in states and between states.  Postmodernism: invested in language, the effect of which has a structural property in the reality that we know. The words that we use, symbols etc all come and expressed through language, and they form the social reality. Different ways in which we talk about war, frame war, and normalize war in language. Each one of the theories has different ways of dealing with IR and the problems that exist within it. Security as a Contested Concept: Q1: What is the security referent? i.e. what is the object of security? Security for whom? And security for which values? A basic framing question in which we can approach this contested concept of security. Security is an essentially contested concept, that comes out of our mouth and we know what it is. The notion of national security is so ambiguous. States and national politicians use security and all of a sudden it is supposed to mean something. Q2: How do you achieve security? What is your guide for pursuing security? By what means will you achieve these goals? Cutting with each question a little bit deeper this notion of security. Should have a basis for discussing security. Q3: what is your metric of security? What measurements, thresholds or markers do you use to frame whether or not the object is “secure” or security is achieved? How much security is enough? How much protection is needed from something as allusive as security threats to do with terrorism. What is acceptable in terms of our reaction to these types of security threats? Help us frame and address and approach whatever security issue we are looking at. Q4: security at what cost? The pursuit of security always involves the sacrifice of other goals that could have been pursued had they not been devoted to security. So, how can one decide when or how much of a given policy issue should be sacrificed to a given security concern? What is a reasonable trade-off? This is the nature of real world politics that we cannot prioritize everything and we have to do a reasonable trade-off to have an order. Are we investing enough or too much? Are there such things as diminishing returns when we look at security problems at peaks? Q5: In what time period should specified security goals be pursued? What is the time horizon? Is there any possibility of extension or room for flexibility? How much reasonable time should be elapsed in which normal procedure will take place and you cannot hold the person in captivity. Q6: From a disciplinary standpoint, how far can the definition of security stray beyond military and state affairs? For instance, is the notion of human security too broad? This gets us back to the first question; we have to put limits around security studies at some point. Is it too far, to say that human security advocates that security referent should not be the states but the human, is that something that should be securitize. Should all states adopt this? Not only security is an essentially contested concept in theory, but also in practice. That securitization is inherently political. There is nothing automatic about securitization, in the sense that we cannot automatically securitize against some threats. It is not to say that the Soviet Union threatened individuals or all states yet there were certain policies, that USA and Canada implemented to approach it. The process of Securitization: Barry Buzan: “issues become securitized when leaders begin to talk about them- and to gain the ear of the public and the state- in terms of existential threats against some valued referent object. The securitizing formula is that such threats require exceptional measures and/or emergency action to deal with them. Securitization classically legi
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