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Critical Security Studies and World Politics

Ken Booth, editor
Critical Security Studies and World Politics
ISBN: 978-1-55587-825-2
ISBN: 978-1-55587-826-9
ISBN: 978-1-62637-057-9
2005/336 pages/LC: 2004014979
Critical Security Studies

"Highlights the strengths and weaknesses of current attempts to bring critical international relations scholarship to bear on the realist bastion of security studies."—Keith Krause, Political Studies Review

"This is a book for those who wish to take a more consciously critical approach in their research."—Choice

"An extraordinarily important contribution to the field of critical security studies, as well as international relations and social theory.... Critical Security Studies and World Politics should be read widely among students of politics ... regardless of specialization."—Franke Wilmer, Perspectives on Politics

"A spirited, passionate, and conceptually sophisticated expression of the critical studies school. The authors point to new ways of conceptualizing the world and understanding the factors and forces that are recasting the international landscape.... will be welcomed by scholars and students alike." —Fen Osler Hampson, Carleton University


Realist assumptions of security studies increasingly have been challenged by an approach that places the human being, rather than the state, at the center of security concerns. This text is an indispensable statement of the ideas of this critical security project, written by some of its leading exponents.

The book is structured around three concepts—security, community, and emancipation—that arguably are central to the future shape of world politics. Each of its three parts begins with a survey of key theoretical issues, followed by an investigation of current case material. The authors emphasize that critical security is about the problems of real people in real places, and about linking theory and practice. Throughout, they address the fundamental questions at the heart of critical thinking about security.


Ken Booth is E.H. Carr Professor and head of the Department of International Politics, University of Wales, Aberystwyth. His numerous publications include Strategy and Ethnocentrism, International Theory: Positivism and Beyond, and Worlds in Collision: Terror and the Future of Global Order.


  • Critical Explorations—K. Booth.
  • Introduction—K. Booth.
  • The Contested Concept of Security—S. Smith.
  • Military Forces and In/security—G. Cheeseman.
  • Militarized Masculinities and the Politics of Peacekeeping—S. Whitworth.
  • Introduction—K. Booth.
  • Political Community and Human Security—A. Linklater.
  • The Missing Link: Security, International Political Economy, and Community—R. Tooze.
  • Questions of Identity: Australia and Asia—J.J. Pettman.
  • Introduction—K. Booth.
  • Emancipation in the Critical Security Studies Project—H. Alker.
  • On Emancipation: Necessity, Capacity, and Concrete Utopias—R. Wyn Jones.
  • Communal Conflict and Emancipation: The Case of Northern Ireland—J. Ruane and J. Todd.
  • Beyond Critical Security Studies—K. Booth.
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