Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

People, States, and Fear, 2nd ed.: An Agenda for International Security in the Post-Cold War Era

Barry Buzan
ISBN: 978-1-55587-282-3
1991/393 pages/LC: 91-2097

"This remains the most comprehensive theoretical analysis of the concept [of security] in international relations literature to date, and since its publication the rest of us have been writing footnotes to it."—Ken Booth

This is an impressive and thought-provoking book which will surely dominate the debate in the years ahead... it is the best book of its kind, combining a firm location within the wider literature of international relations theory, with a detailed and sure grasp of the complexities of strategic studies.... a seminal contribution to the literature on security."—Steve Smith

From the reviews of the first edition:

"A rich, wise, and thought-provoking book."—American Political Science Review

"An excellent "background" book for a variety of programs in international relations, international business, journalism, world history, and other political and economic study areas, especially on the graduate level."—Choice


The second edition of this widely acclaimed book has been fully revised and updated to include:

  • emphasis on economic, societal, and environmental aspects of security
  • completely rewritten chapters on threat, the international political system, and economic security
  • a new chapter on regional security
  • developments in security concepts during the 1980s
  • expanded discussion of the theory of the state

    Focusing on the question of how states and societies pursue freedom from threat in the context of competitive relations across the political, economic, military, societal, and environmental landscapes, Buzan places attention throughout the book on the interplay of threats and vulnerabilities, the policy consequences of overemphasizing one or the other, and the existence of contradictions within and between ideas about security.

    Buzan argues that the concept of security is a versatile, penetrating, and useful way to approach the study of international relations, providing an analytical framework that stands between the extremes of power and peace, incorporates most of their insights, and adds more of its own.


Barry Buzan is professor of international studies at the University of Westminster and project director of the European Security Group at the Copenhagen Peace Research Institute. His books include An Introduction to Strategic Studies: Military Technology and International Relations and (coauthored with Morten Kelstrup et al) The Europe Security Order Recast: Scenarios for the Post-Cold War Era.


  • Introduction.
  • Individual Security and National Security.
  • National Security and the Nature of the State.
  • National Insecurity: Threats and Vulnerabilities.
  • Security and the International Political System.
  • Regional Security.
  • Economic Security.
  • The Defense Dilemma.
  • The Power-Security Dilemma.
  • National and International Security: The Policy Problem.
  • Conclusion.
North America Only