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Security and emancipation*

  • Ken Booth


Our work Is our words, but our words do not work any more. They have not worked for some time. We can obviously start with the misleading label—‘International Politics’—which is given to our subject. As a result of this problem, I have wanted to use increasing numbers of inverted commas; but most have never seen the light of day because copy-editors have regarded them as an over-indulgence. Even so, the very temptation of these little scratches indicates that words at the heart of the subject are i n trouble:



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1 Jackson, R. H. and Rosenberg, C. G., ‘Why Africa's Weak States Persist: The Empirical and the Juridical in Statehood’, World Politics, 35 (1983), pp. 124.

2 As happened, for example, to ‘collective security’: see Claude, Inis J., Swords Into Ploughshares (London, 1966), p. 224.

3 Rosenau, James R., Turbulence In World Politics, A Theory of Change and Continuity (Hemel Hempstead, 1990).

4 Naisbitt, John and Aburdene, Patricia, Megatrends 2000. Ten New Directions for the 1990s (New York, 1990), p. 19.

5 Havel, Vaclav, Living in Truth (London, 1986), especially ch. 2, ‘The Power of the Powerless’.

6 Nadine Gordimer took this quotation as the starting point for a novel on black-white relations in South Africa: see her July's People (London, 1981). I took it as the starting point for thinking about the present era in international politics: see New Thinking About Strategy and International Security (London, 1991).

7 This is the theme of Ornsteain, Robert and Ehrlich, Paul, New World, New Mind (London, 1989).

8 New York Times, 7 September 1982, quoted in The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, February 1983, p. 3.

9 Quoted by William Safire, Safire's Political Dictionary (New York, 1978), p. 394.

10 The first self-consciously ‘post-modern’ book is Derian, James Der and Shapiro, Michael J. (eds.), InternationalITntertextual Relations, Postmodern Readings of World Politics (Lexington, 1990).

11 Fox, W. T. R., ‘Carr, E. H. and Political Realism: Vision and Revision’, Review of International Studies, 11 (1985), pp. 116.

12 See Common Security: A Programme For Disarmament. The Report of the Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues under the Chairmanship of Olof Palme (London, 1982); North-South: A Programme For Survival. The Report of the Commission on International Development Issues under the Chairmanship of Willy Brandt (London, 1980); Alagappa, Multhiah, ‘Comprehensive Security: Interpretations in ASEAN countries’, Research Papers and Policy Studies, 26 (University of California, Berkeley, n.d.); Gorbachev, Mikhail, Perestroika. New Thinking For Our Country And The World (London, 1987).

13 Luttwak, Edward, Strategy and History. Collected Essays, Volume Two (New Brunswick, 1985), p. xiii.

14 Naisbitt and Aburdene, Megatrends 200, p. 29.

15 Boulding, Kenneth, Stable Peace (Austin, 1979), passim.

16 The most thorough discussion is Buzan, Barry, People, States and Fear (Hemel Hempstead, 2nd edn 1991). For some definitions, see pp. 1618.

17 Bull, Hedley, The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics (London, 1977), p. 22.

18 See, for example, David Held, ‘Central Perspectives on the Modern State’, pp . 1–55 in Held, David et al. (eds.), States and Societies (Oxford, 1983).

19 As, for instance, in Schell, Jonathan, The Abolition (London, 1984).

20 See Eksteins, Modris, Rites of Spring. The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age (Boston, 1989), especially pp. xiiixvi.

21 See, by way of introduction, Hoffman, Mark, ‘Critical Theory and the Inter-Paradigm Debate’, Millenium, 16 (1987), pp. 231–49, and Linklater, Andrew, Beyond Realism and Marxism. Critical Theory and International Relations (London, 1990).

22 Sumberg, Theodore, Foreign Aid as Moral Obligation? The Washington Papers, no. 10 (Beverly Hills, 1973) discussed in Hoffmann, Stanley, Duties Beyond Borders (Syracuse, 1981), p. 153.

23 See, for example, Thomas, Caroline, ‘New Directions in Thinking about Security in the Third World’, pp. 267–89 in Booth, Ken (ed.), New Thinking About Strategy And International Security (London, 1991), and Thomas, Caroline and Saravanamuttu, Paikiasothy, eds., Conflict And Consensus In South/North Security (Cambridge, 1989).

24 RummelR, J. R, J., Understanding Conflict and War, vols. 1–5, (Beverley Hills, 197581).

25 Bull, The Anarchical Society, p. 87.

26 Mersheimer, John J., ‘Back to the Future: Instability in Europe after the Cold War’, International Security, 15 (1990), pp. 556.

27 Enloe, Cynthia, ‘The Gulf Crisis. Making Feminist Sense of It’, Pacific Research, 3 (1990), pp. 35.

28 See Nye, Joseph, ‘The Long-Term Future of Deterrence’, pp. 245–7, in Kolkowicz, Roman (ed.), The Logic of Nuclear Terror (Boston, 1987).

29 Boulding, Elise, Building a Global Civic Culture (Syracuse, 1988).

30 Bull, Hedley, ‘Order and Justice in International Relations’, Hagey Lectures (University of Waterloo, 1983), pp. 1112 and 14.

* This is an edited version of the Plenary Address given at the Annual Conference of BISA, Newcastle University, 17 December 1990.

Security and emancipation*

  • Ken Booth


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