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date: 06 March 2021

Security Practiceslocked

  • Thierry Balzacq, Thierry BalzacqDépartement de Sciences politiques, sociales et de la communication, Université de Namur
  • Tugba Basaran, Tugba BasaranSchool of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent
  • Didier Bigo, Didier BigoDepartment of War Studies, King's College London
  • Emmanuel-Pierre GuittetEmmanuel-Pierre GuittetCentre for Research on Conflict Liberty and Security
  •  and Christian OlssonChristian OlssonInstitute of European Studies, Université Libre de Bruxelles

Summary

Practices refer to collective and historic acts that shaped the evolution of the fundamental distinction used to define the field of security—that of internal vs. external security. In general, security practices relate to two kinds of tools through which professionals of (in)security think about a threat: regulatory tools, which seek to “normalize” the behavior of target individuals (for example, policy regulation, constitution), and capacity tools, specific modalities for imposing external discipline upon individuals and groups. The roots of the distinction between internal and external security are embedded in a historical process of competition over where to draw the line between the authority and limits of diverse agencies. Much of the international relations (IR) literature ignores the diversity of security practices, and reduces security to an IR problem detached from other bodies of knowledge. This is an error that needs to be corrected. Security and insecurity must be analyzed not only as a process but also as the same process of (in)securitization. The term “security” cannot be considered as a concept capable of capturing a coherent set of practices, but rather the result of a process of (in)securitization. Research on security practices opens a variety of promising paths, but at least three challenges need to be met before this potential can be realized: a sustained development of cross-disciplinary studies; address the “sacrifice” entailed in definitions of security; and more time to elucidating as clearly as possible processes of resistance from those who are the target of these practices.

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